Louis Vuitton Awarded $32.4 Million Against Web Host For Contributory Trademark Infringement

louis-vuitton-v-akanoc-trademark-contributory-infringement-copyright.jpgSan Jose, CA – A jury awarded Louis Vuitton $32.4 million in its contributory trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit against web hosting companies, Akanoc Solutions and Manged Solutions, and their individual owner. A copy of the jury’s verdict is available here. Defendants hosted third party websites that were accused of selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton products. A copy of the complaint is available here. Louis Vuitton sent notice to the Defendants demanding that the accused websites be taken down by the hosting companies. The Ninth Circuit has previously extended contributory infringement liability to flea market or swap-meet operators that knew vendors were selling counterfeit goods. Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc., 76 F.3d 259 (9th Cir.1996). This verdict seems to be an extension of that liability standard to the internet in that the jury found that Defendants knew that websites they hosted were selling counterfeit goods. The jury rejected the Defendants’ “safe harbor” defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). The case is Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A., v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc., et al., CV07-03952 JW (N.D. Cal. 2007).