By Wailin Wong |
High-end leather handbag maker Coach has sued the city of Chicago over
the sale of knock-off goods at the Maxwell Street Market. The company
filed its lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, saying
it has suffered “substantial damages” as a result of the activity.
According to the lawsuit, a Coach investigator visited Maxwell Street
in August 2009 and observed about 300 vendors selling “counterfeit
Coach products in plain view.”
Later that month, representatives of the
city’s police department returned to the market with the investigator,
who bought an $18 fake Coach bag at one booth and a $24 fake Chanel bag
at another booth. The two vendors were arrested.
Coach said that it sent a cease and desist notice to the city in late December, asking the city to curb the activity at the market. The city did not respond, the lawsuit alleges.
A Coach investigator again canvassed the market earlier this year and observed that the same practices were taking place, the company said.
Melissa Stratton, acting director of public information for the city’s department of law, said “we have not yet been served with the lawsuit, but we understand such a lawsuit has been filed.”
The city is beginning its investigation into Coach’s claims, Stratton said.
Coach’s annual worldwide sales are more than $3 billion, the company said in its lawsuit. It named the two vendors from the August 2009 canvass, along with 100 “John Does,” as defendants in the suit alongside the city.