Case of the Day: Chanel, Inc. v.

The case of the day is Chanel, Inc. v. (S.D. Fla. 2012). Chanel, the well-known perfumer, sued and unnamed defendants for tradmark infringement, false designation of origin, cyber-squatting, and unfair competition on account of knock-offs allegedly sold on various websites. Chanel obtained the WHOIS domain registration data for each of the websites at issue, and after following up, Chanel concluded that the physical addresses the defendants had given to the domain name registrars were “false, incomplete, or invalid for service of process,” and that the telephone numbers were similarly false. Chanel believed the unknown residents resided in China.

The court approved service by email under FRCP 4(f)(3). The decision was plainly within the court’s discretion. The addresses of the defendants were unknown, so the Hague Service Convention was imapplicable. Email seemed to be not just the preferred, but the only means of communicating with the allegedly infringing websites. Email service was reasonably calculated to give notice to the defendants. Easy case.

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