FASHION LAW: COACH VS. FLEA MARKETS – CASE OF GOODFELLOW AND HENN
Coach, Inc. is an American luxury leather goods company that manufactures small leather goods (largely handbags) and has received quite a following, so it isn’t surprising to catch 3rd Street Flea Market owner, Frederick Goodfellow, selling counterfeit products in pure deception of the Coach brand. And even more so for Coach to serve the dealer a lawsuit. In the US Court of Appeals document, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals note that Frederick Goodfellow, owner of the Southwest Flea Market in Memphis, Tennessee, knew or should have known that vendors were selling mock-up Coach handbags at the flea market, but did not implement the training or licensing for the booth renters. Battling since 2010, Coach wins the trial on May 2013.
This is a major victory for Coach, who has had a history of aggressively protecting its intellectual property. The win confirmed the liability against Goodfellow for contributory trademark infringement. The 6th Circuit relied on the Inwood Laboratories vs. Ives Laboratories case, a 1982 Supreme Court case, when making its decision. The case states that “when a party knows or should know that someone is infringing a trademark and continues to supply its product to him, the part can be held liable for the infringement as well.” According to the suit, during its final raid on June 2011 by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, officials seize approximately 4,600 counterfeit Coach products and shut down the flea market permanently.
The district court grants summary judgment on liability to Coach after Goodfellow failed to respond to Coach’s motion for summary judgment.
Shortly after, Coach goes after another flea market, Swap Shop, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The case is promptly settled after just three days at trial in the Southern District of Florida settled by Swap Shop owners, Preston Henn and his wife Betty Henn, by agreeing to pay Coach a fine of $5.5 million. Coach was represented by George G. Mahfood and David B. Rosemberg of Broad & Cassel. Swap Shop was represented by Bruce S. Rogow PA and Steven Harris Osber of Kelley Kronenberg. The case is Coach Inc. et al. v. Swap Shop Inc. et al., case number 0:12-cv-60400, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.