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CONTRIBUTORY TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES: CONTRASTING AKANOC SOLUTIONS WITH eBAY

Posted April 20th, 2010


By James L. Bikoff, David K. Heasley and Phillip V. Marano.

Two recent decisions in the United States – LVM v. Akanoc Solutions from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and Tiffany v. eBay from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – highlight a stark contrast of Internet Service Provider conduct and help to solidify our jurisprudence on contributory trademark infringement.

The LVM v. Akanoc Solutions case involved three separate defendants – Akanoc Solutions, a company that provided web hosting services to online storefronts selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton merchandise; Managed Solutions Group, the company that owned the computer equipment used by Akanoc; and Steven Chen, the general manager and sole owner of Akanoc. Louis Vuitton filed its complaint alleging contributory trademark infringement, among other causes of action, after the Defendants essentially ignored Louis Vuitton’s letters requesting removal of offending websites from the Defendants’ servers. After trial late last year, a jury awarded Louis Vuitton statutory damages for contributory trademark infringement in the amount of $10.5 million per Defendant.

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