(CN) – Luxury handbag maker Chloé can sue an employee of a Beverly Hills-based company in New York for allegedly selling counterfeit Chloé bags, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Chloé is a Paris-based women’s clothing and accessory company with a division in New York. In 2005 its leather handbags sold for about $1,600 in Chloé boutiques. Chloé claimed that a California company called Queen Bee of Beverly Hills was selling counterfeit Chloé bags online for about $1,200, plus $40 shipping and handling.
Queen Bee employee Simone Ubaldelli was allegedly responsible for getting the phony bags from a man named Guido. Ubaldelli placed orders with Guido, received the bags at his office in Beverly Hills, and shipped them to Rebecca Rushing, a Queen Bee worker in Alabama, or to customers as Rushing directed.
In December 2005 an administrative assistant for Chloé’s law firm, Kalow & Springut, placed an order online with Queen Bee and had the purported Chloé bag shipped to her in the Bronx. The bag was later discovered to be counterfeit.
Chloé sued Queen Bee, Ubaldelli and others, claiming the company sold at least 52 counterfeit products in New York.
Ubaldelli, who lives in California, convinced the federal judge to dismiss the claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction.
But the federal appeals court in Manhattan reversed, saying New York’s long-arm statute
“Ubaldelli’s single act of shipping an item into New York, combined with the affiliated business’s substantial activity involving New York, gives rise to personal jurisdiction over Ubaldelli,” Judge Peter Hall wrote, reinstating the trademark infringement claims against Ubaldelli.
Queen Bee and Rushing had the claims against them stayed after declaring bankruptcy.
Chloé has settled its claims against Sun-Eye Productions and Jennifer Suns, and has obtained a default judgment against Mohamad Alexander Zarafshan.