Los Angeles – Former Coach Inc. employee Gina Kim knows the price of a real handbag. To earn extra money, Kim planned to auction several of her Coach handbags that she had purchased with her employee discount. Soon after Kim advertised the bags for sale on eBay, she received a cease and desist letter from Coach accusing her of trademark infringement and selling counterfeit goods.
According to Kim’s Seattle attorney Jay Carlson, the cease and desist letter threatened her with a $2 million trademark infringement suit. Attorneys representing Coach also demanded that Kim relinquish all of her Coach merchandise, admit to guilt, agree to never sell its merchandise again and send a check for $300.
The threat of a lawsuit from Coach has seemed to only empower Kim, who has since filed her own lawsuit against the handbag conglomerate. According to her attorneys, she has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Seattle accusing Coach of violating the Consumer Protection Act, defamation of character, interfering with her business and other claims. Soon after filing the complaint, Kim was notified by eBay that her seller’s account had been reactivated.
Counterfeiting is a huge obstacle for retailers trying to protect their intellectual property. However, retailers walk a fine line because at the same time they know that consumers have the right to sell their secondhand items as long as they are legitimate.
Meanwhile, Kim and her attorneys aren’t done. They are seeking out other online sellers who have also received a threatening letter from Coach in an effort to make this a class-action lawsuit. Kim believes Coach was wrong to falsely accuse her of counterfeiting and defame her character without properly investigating the case.