Luxury brands in jurisdiction battle

United States
Published:  03 December, 2015

A US$12 million payment claim from Kering’s luxury brands, which include Gucci, YSL and Bottega Venetta, over the sale of counterfeit goods has led to a jurisdiction battle between a U.S court and the Bank of China.

Kering’s subsidiaries, which sued Chinese entities for selling counterfeit goods in 2010, have requested a U.S judge to order the Bank of China to pay the US$12 million the brands say they have lost due to the counterfeiters, or to pay a daily fine until it hands over the records requested.

The U.S judge based in Manhattan, who had already ordered the Bank of China to provide the records in August 2011, has held the bank in contempt for refusing to hand over the account information of Chinese suspects accused of selling counterfeit luxury goods and has ruled that the bank must pay a fine for withholding its customers' records.

Although Bank of China itself is not a party to the lawsuit, the companies involved had subpoenaed the bank for records of the alleged counterfeit sellers' accounts. The bank has insisted that it is unable to hand over the records without violating Chinese privacy law and said that the New York court had no jurisdiction over it.

Using records provided by JPMorganChase, Gucci traced U$530,000 in transfers from U.S. based counterfeiters to Bank of China accounts in China. According to Chinese court records, the Bank of China has secretly frozen over US$890,000 of the accused counterfeiters' money to cover its own legal costs in the fight with Gucci.

Xu Chen, CEO, Bank of China U.S has stated yesterday (December 2) that the case has wide-ranging implications, which could discourage Chinese investment in the U.S. The Bank of China is appealing a decision by a New York court to fine it $50,000 a day for withholding information about the counterfeiters' bank accounts in China.

Source: International Business Times, US News

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