February 9, 2024

Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Zach Briers Quoted in Vogue Business and The Business of Fashion Discussing Chanel’s Victory in its Trademark Infringement Lawsuit against WGACA

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Zach Briers was quoted in Vogue Business’ recent article titled “Chanel wins case against What Goes Around Comes Around” and The Business of Fashion’s recent article, “Chanel Wins Trademark Case Against What Goes Around Comes Around.” The articles discuss Chanel’s trial victory in a closely watched trademark infringement case and how it could affect how resellers use a brand’s name when promoting secondhand products.

After a month-long jury trial, Chanel won its trademark infringement case against secondhand retailer What Goes Around Comes Around (WGACA). Chanel alleged WGACA had sold counterfeit products and implied affiliation with the luxury house when it used the Chanel mark extensively in marketing and social media campaigns, which also inaccurately suggested that Chanel endorsed or authorized WGACA’s activities. The jury unanimously voted in favor of Chanel on all four of its claims against WGACA, including its trademark infringement, false association, unfair competition and false advertising claims.

Commenting in Vogue Business, Mr. Briers said the verdict is expected to have implications on secondhand retailers’ product vetting and authentication processes, ultimately making it more costly for those retailers to operate.

“To avoid the same results as WGACA, secondhand platforms will need to increase their authentication and verification efforts, and more carefully review their use of third-party trademarks in their advertising materials and social campaigns,” he said. “Even then, there is inherent risk that a secondhand reseller will unknowingly sell unauthorised goods.”

Adding further insights, Mr. Briers told The Business of Fashion that the verdict will not be a “death sentence” for the secondary market.

“You can invest more in authentication and internal compliance to make sure you’re not crossing the line when it comes to marketing materials,” he said.

Read the Vogue Business article.

Read The Business of Fashion article. (Subscription may be required)