On Friday August 28th, 2009 a jury in the Northern District of California found ISP/web hosts Akanoc Solutions, Inc., Managed Solutions Group, Inc. and Steven Chen liable for contributory trademark counterfeiting and awarded Plaintiff Louis Vuitton Malletier $32 Million.
This story is not only the first you will likely read on this case, but its author was the primary investigator and a witness for the Plaintiff.
I first observed this group a few years ago doing business as Managed Solutions Group (MSG) when they were popping up as a US-based web host for China-based sellers of counterfeit goods.
A couple of my luxury brand clients asked me to look into this entity and I did. I asked a colleague who is a higher-up at a major anti-spamming organization if he had ever heard of them. His immediate response was, “Yeah. They are spammers.” He later clarified stating that they had positioned themselves as bulletproof hosts for spammers for some time. He told me they had straightened their act in that industry after the CAN-SPAM Act was passed and made it a criminal act to facilitate such activity.
Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc. et al was a bold case and a years-long battle fueled by the passion of Vuitton's in-house legal wizard Nikolay Livadkin and outside counsel Andy Coombs and Annie Wang of J. Andrew Coombs a P.C. A brilliant case was laid out that illustrated Akanoc, MSG & Chen's non-compliance despite diligent efforts by Vuitton.
Laughably, Akanoc admitted that they complied with the requests of big companies like eBay and Microsoft but not with smaller companies such as my client. I don't know which part of that statement is more moronic: The Defendant sneezing at a 100 year-old company that made $24 Billion last year (triple eBay but less than Microsoft); or that they looked a federal judge in the eye and sneezed at the rights of all companies they did not perceive to be ‘big'.
The verdict is below and many interesting stories will arise. There are many things to learn from this. A few of which are:
- Web hosts must not ignore the violation of anyone's rights on their watch.
- Don't mess with Louis Vuitton.
- Evidence produced by my office is far better than our competition and can help you win cases like this one.
For more information please contact me by phone at (972) 422-2100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, I’m going to finish my coffee.