tips news that a California jury has found two web hosting companies liable for "contributing to trademark and copyright infringement"
after hosting web sites that sold counterfeit Louis Vuitton items. Both companies are owned by the same man, Steven Chen, and are being ordered to pay $32 million in fines. A similar judgment for $61 million went against eBay last year
for facilitating the sale of counterfeit Louis Vuitton merchandise.
"The US District Court for the Northern District of California is expected to issue a permanent injunction banning the internet service providers from hosting Web sites that selling fake Louis Vuitton goods in the future, the company said. Attorneys for the luxury goods maker said in a statement that the case is the first successful application on the internet of the theory of contributory liability for trademark infringement. Under this theory, companies that know, or should know, that they are enabling illegal activities have an obligation to remedy the situation. Entities that fail to do so, as Louis Vuitton alleged in this case, can be held legally responsible for contributing to the illegal activities."