Luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton is accusing the owner of a Shau Kei Wan hair salon of trademark infringement after he was found to have chairs covered in what appeared to be the French label’s trademarked check pattern, Apple Daily reported on Tuesday.
The salon’s owner, a man surnamed Chan, said LVMH sent him a “deed of undertaking” initially demanding HK$25,000 in compensation and a published apology.
The company eventually agreed to reduce the amount by half to HK$12,500, but still required Chan to publish the apology on or before next Thursday.
The company said they found an adjustable stool and reclining shampoo chair in Chan’s salon covered in a fabric that closely resembled the brand’s iconic check pattern. Chan has since removed the chequered covers but claims he cannot afford to pay.
"In the case of Apple Daily, we follow a cooperative approach to encourage the infringer to sign an undertaking, publish an acknowledgement of our trademark rights and bear a portion of the [infringement] costs," said a statement issued by Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific's spokesperson on Thursday.
"In majority of cases, we reach an agreement with the infringer that is reasonable to both parties yet ensuring the application of the law."
Chan, 33, said he sourced the furniture in Shenzhen for a total of HK$1,200 after opening his salon last year and was not aware the pattern was LV’s intellectual property.
“I can’t go against such a big corporation…Right now I’m just hoping they will be generous and make me compensate a smaller amount,” Chan told the newspaper. “Worse case scenario, I could just close down.”
Last year, Louis Vuitton claimed to have been responsible for more than 11,000 raids and 30,000 anti-counterfeiting lawsuits worldwide.