Facebook, Gucci Pursue California Lawsuit Based on Alleged Online Counterfeiting

Tech giants and luxury designers might not seem like an obvious pairing. However, Facebook and Gucci have joined forces in a lawsuit in a federal court in California. They are suing an unnamed individual who allegedly promoted the sale of fake Gucci products through Facebook and Instagram accounts. Facebook noted that its efforts to fight online counterfeiting will benefit from working with brands whose rights have been infringed. It recognizes that working with brands when these problems arise will show that Facebook and Instagram are safe platforms to sell high-end products.

The tech giant also stated that it has implemented a notice-and-takedown program for counterfeiting incidents, as well as a policy for repeat violators. Facebook responded to thousands of reports of counterfeited goods during the first half of 2020 alone. These reports resulted in the removal of over one million items of content from Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook and Gucci are bringing multiple causes of action in the same lawsuit. First, the cause of action related to Facebook involves a breach of contract claim. The tech company is asserting that the alleged counterfeiter violated its terms of service. Meanwhile, the cause of action related to Gucci involves intellectual property infringement. The designer brand is asserting that the alleged counterfeiter used its trademarks without authorization.

The lawsuit echoes litigation brought by Amazon and Salvatore Ferragamo in a federal district court in Washington. That case alleged parallel theories of liability. Like Facebook, Amazon argued that the alleged counterfeiters had violated its terms of service by offering the fake products. Like Gucci, Ferragamo argued that the defendants had engaged in intellectual property infringement, based on their unauthorized use of its trademarks. Amazon and Valentino have joined forces in a similar lawsuit as well.

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