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06/18/2020

Unlikely duo: Amazon teams up with luxury designer brand in lawsuit

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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In a first of its kind lawsuit for both parties, Amazon and Valentino filed a joint lawsuit against a New York-based counterfeiter.

The online giant and the Italian luxury brand filed the lawsuit against  Buffalo, New York-based Kaitlyn Pan Group, LLC and New York resident Hao Pan for counterfeiting Valentino’s iconic Valentino Garavani Rockstud shoes, and offering the infringing products for sale onkaitlynpanshoes.com  and Amazon.com, in violation of Amazon’s policies and Valentino’s intellectual property rights. The lawsuit is Amazon’s first joint litigation with a luxury fashion brand and Valentino’s first joint litigation with an online retailer.  

Amazon said it shut down Kaitlyn Pan’s seller account in September 2019. Kaitlyn Pan continues to import, distribute, sell, and offer infringing products on KaitlynPanShoes.com and attempted to apply for a U.S. trademark for its infringing Valentino Garavani Rockstud shoes, flagrantly and willfully disregarding Valentino’s intellectual property, Amazon and Valentino said in their joint statement.

Amazon said the joint lawsuit builds on its history of collaborating with brands to hold counterfeiters accountable. In line with Amazon’s past joint litigation, Valentino will receive any proceeds from the suit.

“The vast majority of sellers in our store are honest entrepreneurs but we do not hesitate to take aggressive action to protect customers, brands, and our store from counterfeiters,” said Dharmesh Mehta, VP, customer trust and partner support, Amazon. “Amazon and Valentino are holding this company accountable in a court of law and we appreciate Valentino’s collaboration throughout this investigation.” 

Amazon said that in 2019 alone, it invested more than $500 million and had more than 8,000 employees protecting its store from fraud and abuse, including counterfeiting and IP infringing products. As a result of its efforts, 99.9% of all products viewed by customers on Amazon have not received a valid counterfeit complaint. Amazon also works closely with law enforcement agencies and reports all confirmed counterfeiters to US and European authorities to help them build stronger criminal cases.

Valentino implemented a customs surveillance system and enforced its intellectual property rights specifically in the U.S. With the ongoing cooperation with U.S. custom authorities, Valentino – in the past three years – seized more than 2,000 counterfeit products.

“The brand [Valentino] represents in the global market, one of the Italian excellences in the execution of the industrial process in Italy and of the artisanal and handmade workmanship that are entirely produced in the historic Atelier of Piazza Mignanelli in Rome,” Valentino said in a statement. “We consider Made in Italy to be a fundamental value to be fully endorsed, respected and at the forefront of our business and creations. ... We feel this connection with Amazon will highlight the importance also in fashion for greater awareness, knowledge and understanding by shielding the brand online and its resources.”