National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) personnel on Wednesday raided several textile stores in Divisoria, Manila, over a complaint by French luxury brand Louis Vuitton (LV).
The NBI Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Division entered the establishments after it was discovered that they were selling fabrics printed with the famous LV monogram and logo.
The fabrics are said to be sold for P150 per kilo to the seamstresses, who, in turn, make LV-like face masks.
Saleswoman Marichu Guinoo was still wearing a face mask with the LV logo when the NBI came. She admitted to selling the mask for P20 per piece.
“Mabenta siya nu’ng umpisa. Siyempre gusto rin namin kumita, ginaya namin,” she said.
(The sales were really good at first. So we imitated them because we also want to earn.)
Fake masks are widespread even among vendors.
According to the NBI, Louis Vuitton clarified that they do not sell face masks in the Philippines.
Textile stores in Divisoria raided over Louis Vuitton complaint
“Gusto nilang hindi gamitin ang logo nila dahil pinangangalagaan nila ito… Kung hindi naman kayo awtorisado magtinda huwag na kayo magbenta,” said Ricarte.
(They don’t want their logo to be used because they are protecting it. If you are not authorized to sell, don’t sell.)
Thirteen stalls were found selling fake Louis Vuitton fabric, which was confiscated by the NBI.
Owners the raided stores would face trademark infringement charges, where they can be jailed for 2 to 5 years, in addition to a fine.
“Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use in commerce of a registered trademark or a copy or colorable imitation thereof, which results in the likelihood of confusion among the consuming public. The elements of trademark infringement are: (1) a registered trademark in the Philippines, (2) plaintiff’s ownership of said mark, and (3) use of the trademark or imitation thereof by a third person, which results in likelihood of confusion,” said Federis Law.
Republic Act 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code, provides the legal framework for intellectual property protection in the Philippines. It came into effect on January 1, 1998.