Wolff's Flea Market Blog: MERCHANDISE INSPECTION-PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED!
Please be advised that orders being delivered to areas in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina & North Carolina that are impacted by winter storm. Peering into a closed shop, the police see a rack of fake Louis Vuitton bags and hats. The real stuff isn't sold out of a swap meet stall. To enter. Wolff's Flea Market is vigilant about inspecting merchandise at every booth . $1, from the official, authorized Louis Vuitton store or website.
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Lawyers for both sides told U. District Judge William Zloch the terms of the agreement are confidential. The luxury brand filed a civil lawsuit against the Swap Shop and its owners last year. Nobody suggested the Henns sold counterfeits, but Louis Vuitton alleged the couple contributed to the violation of its trademarks by failing to stop vendors from selling hundreds of designer fakes on the couple's property.
Louis Vuitton's trial lawyers, Schafer and Elizabeth Honkonen, and the Henns' attorneys, Bruce Rogow and Steven Osber, all declined to comment on details of the settlement.
The Henns also refused to comment.
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They told jurors they would not have recommended a specific amount of damages but would have left it in the jury's hands to decide the appropriate damages. Will Henn's decision to settle with Coach and then Louis Vuitton mean that other luxury brands would now line up to sue the Swap Shop?
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Rogow said "No" but said he couldn't explain why. Just like all gardens, bugs and weeds —or counterfeiters and violators — pop up from time to time, the defense said. The defense wants jurors to find that the Henns did everything they reasonably could to try to weed out counterfeiters. Though Preston Henn has a "quirky and petulant" personality that sometimes rubbed Louis Vuitton the wrong way, Rogow said the Henns gained nothing when they tried and failed to eliminate the counterfeiting problem at the flea market.
Rogow urged jurors to find that there were just a few counterfeiters selling a relatively small number of counterfeits among the thousands of honest vendors and millions of products sold there every day.
The Henns say they have cooperated with law enforcement, taken special training to try to learn how to discern between genuine products and fakes, and put warnings on signs and admission tickets warning vendors not to sell counterfeits.
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Though vendors could legally sell used, secondhand genuine Louis Vuittons, Preston Henn eventually banned the sale of any item that even looked like a Louis Vuitton because of the unwanted hassle, the defense said.
Rogow suggested that Louis Vuitton might want to do more than just "preying upon Mr. Henn," inviting jurors to consider why the company didn't sue the vendors themselves or the people who made the fakes.
District Judge William Zloch in court. Schafer argues that Henn and his wife deliberately turned a blind eye to the sale of fake designer goods at the flea market.
Their motive, Schafer says, was to make more money. Several law enforcement raids, many arrests and repeated notifications from Louis Vuitton and other designer brands mean the Henns have long been aware their flea market is well known as "the place to go if one is looking to purchase counterfeit items," according to the Louis Vuitton lawsuit.
Henn's empire includes flea markets and drive-in movie theaters in Lauderhill, Lake Worth and Tampa. The Henns work long hours at the Swap Shop, monitor the acre property via security cameras and patrol it by golf cart.
The lawsuit concerns Louis Vuitton fakes sold only at the Lauderhill property, which has more than 1, spaces for traders, a screen drive-in, food court, amusement rides, paid parking and Henn's impressive race car collection.
Louis Vuitton estimated in court records that the Lauderhill property alone "is a multi-million dollar business that is worth an eight- or nine-figure fortune" to the Henns.
Henn's defense lawyers, Bruce Rogow and Steven Osber, will argue that most reasonable people who buy "Louis Vuitton" at the Swap Shop don't believe they are purchasing the real thing.
And the designer's reputation is not suffering any damage or brand confusion because of a few such alleged sales, the defense argues. The designer items are legally sold — new — only at Louis Vuitton stores, the company's online store and some upscale department stores.