Canal Street Market in lower Manhattan describes itself as a “carefully curated retail market, food hall and community space” on its website.
It will need to take more care over that curation after a Second Circuit judge upheld a ruling in favor of Omega that the market’s owner, 375 Canal LLC, turned a blind eye to the sale of counterfeit watches from its property.
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected 375 Canal LLC’s argument that it wasn’t liable because Omega didn’t identify a specific infringer leasing its property.
A similar legal argument had been lost by eBay when Tiffany & Co. took it to court for allowing knock-offs of its goods to be sold.
In the case of Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc. in 2010, the same court ruled that a defendant may be liable for contributory trademark infringement if it was willfully blind as to the identity of potential infringers.
Omega successfully sued 375 Canal, LLC in June last year, and was awarded $1.1 million in statutory damages for Canal’s infringement of Omega’s trademarks, arising from sales of counterfeit Omega watches at its Manhattan property.
The jury in that original cases concluded that Canal knew about the sale of counterfeits for years.
Omega was not required to identify a particular vendor within the market that was selling fakes, it merely has to place the burden of preventing counterfeit watch sales on Canal as the owner.