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Amazon could be blamed for fake Louboutin shoe ads EU

Amazon could be held responsible for advertising ‘fake’ red-soled shoes which potentially breach designer Christian Louboutin’s EU trademark.

Similar red-soled high heels are advertised on Amazon by third party vendors without Louboutin’s consent.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said Amazon may be accountable for any trademark infringement.

Louboutin said the platform’s selling model was “misleading the public”. Amazon says it will study the decision.

The preliminary ruling by the Luxembourg-based court clears the way for Amazon to potentially be held liable for adverts for any counterfeit products sold on its site.

There has been a long-running dispute between Amazon and shoemaker Louboutin, whose high heels typically sell for at least £600.

Louboutin brought two cases against the company, in courts in Belgium and Luxembourg, in 2019 – alleging Amazon regularly displayed adverts for red-soled shoes on its marketplace without Louboutin’s consent.

The two courts sought the guidance of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

In its ruling on Thursday, the CJEU said Amazon could potentially be considered responsible for alleged intellectual property breaches found in the advertisements of counterfeit shoes featuring the famous red sole.

Users of the platform may be under the impression that it is Amazon – and not the third-party seller – who markets the product “in its name and on its behalf”, the CJEU press office told the BBC.

The Court of Justice of the European Union said it was now up to two national courts, in Belgium and Luxembourg, to decide whether this was the case.

The platform also offers “additional services to these third-party sellers”, in particular “the storage and shipping of their products” the CJEU noted.

Louboutin maintains that Amazon has illegally used the trademarked red sole “for products identical” to its own, and “insists, in particular, on the fact that the disputed ads are an integral part of Amazon’s commercial communication”.

Thierry Van Innis, Louboutin’s lawyer, said the CJEU had followed the designer’s arguments “in every detail”.

“Amazon can be held accountable for the breaches as if the platform was itself the seller,” Mr Van Innis told news agency Reuters, after the court ruling.

“Amazon will be forced to change their model and stop misleading the public by mixing up their own and third-party offers.”

Mr Van Innis said Louboutin was not currently seeking financial compensation: “We’re not talking money at this stage. We want the breaches to stop,” he said.

The case feeds into part of the wider debate on trademark infringement on online marketplaces and the difficulty for users in identifying the true seller.

Intellectual property lawyer Fabian Klein, from law firm Pinsent Masons, told the BBC that platform providers should review the layout of their site to ensure that it was clearly identifiable to the public where the offers originated from.

Mr Klein said, “If a platform is just a market place, without its own offerings – like eBay – nothing will change.”

“But for platforms that mix own offerings and third-party offerings, they should consider – from a trade mark perspective – whether they want to create a different look and feel, or other clear differentiations.”

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LIFE & WORK

A recession might be coming. Here’s what it could look like

Slowcession? Richcession? Or just recession?

Whether in the supermarket aisle, or the corporate suite, a lot of people are expecting a recession – even if there’s no certainty there will be one at all.

Survey after survey shows fears of recession are high. It’s easy to see why.

The Federal Reserve is increasing interest rates in the most aggressive fashion since the early 1980s as it races to bring down inflation. And a recession is often the consequence when the central bank starts raising borrowing costs.

The prospect of recession is certainly scary. But even if the U.S. is headed for one, it’s worth keeping in mind that no two recessions are alike.

A recession could be blip-ish, like the short, pandemic-induced one in 2020, or more like the economic tsunami that followed the 2008 housing meltdown.

So, from recession with a small r to the so-called soft landing, here are some of the current predictions of what kind of economic slowdown the U.S. could be facing.

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LIFE & WORK

Brad Inman at Connect New York: 2023 is a year for metamorphosis

The suspect in the overnight fatal shooting that left three people dead in Yakima, Washington, has died after taking his own life, the Yakima Police Chief said Tuesday.

Police were pointed to the suspect’s location after getting a 911 call from a woman who had lent the suspect her phone near a Target store in Yakima, Police Chief Matt Murray said in a Tuesday evening news conference.

Officers responded immediately and, within minutes, arrived at the scene, according to the chief.

The suspect apparently shot and killed himself and that was prior to officers’ arrival. There were officers who heard the shots, but no one saw him actually do that,” Murray said.

Officials tried to save his life but he was later pronounced dead, according to Murray, who had earlier Tuesday indicated that the suspect had been taken into custody.

The chief said officials will need to go through the formal process of identifying the suspect, “but I can say with pretty good confidence that we believe that this is the person who was involved.”

The police department had earlier identified the “presumed homicide suspect” as Jarid Haddock, 21, a Yakima County resident, according to a Facebook post.

Police earlier had a house surrounded where they thought the suspect was when they learned he was in the area of a Target store in Yakima, the chief said.

There, the suspect asked a woman to borrow her phone and called his mom and “made several incriminating statements including ‘I killed those people,’” Police Chief Matt Murray said.

The woman heard the man say he was going to kill himself and called 911, according to Murray.

“I listened to that call. It’s pretty harrowing, and I have to really thank her again because she was very courageous in getting us there,” the chief said.

Murray said responding officers founding the man near a marijuana retailer, but did not provide information on whether he was inside or outside the business where he allegedly shot himself.

The suspect had “a large amount of ammunition” and a firearm when officers found him, the chief said.

Murray told Tuesday that the suspect pulled into the ARCO/ampm gas station and “tried to get into the lobby,” but found the doors were locked.

“He then walked across the street to the Circle K,” Murray said. “As he’s walking into the store he pulls out his gun and there are two people getting food and he shoots them.” Both people died, Murray said.

The suspect then walked out of the store and shot another person, who also died.

Murray said the suspect went back across the street to the ARCO/ampm gas station and shot into a car and drove off.

“We later learned it was his car and that he shot the window of that car in order to get inside because he had locked his keys in the car,” Murray said.

The motive behind the shooting remains under investigation but Murray said the attack appeared “very much random.”

“There was no interaction between him and people,” the chief said. “They were just sitting there getting food and got surprised by this person who came in and … literally as he was opening the door, he started shooting these people.”

Justin Bumbalogh, who was working at Elite Towing and Recovery, next door to the Circle K, said he was half asleep when he heard gunshots. Police said the shooting occurred around 3:30 a.m. local time.

 

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LIFE & WORK

COVID 2023: Do We Know Where We’re Going?—Virtual Lecture, Feb. 7

Michael Osterholm, author of the New York Times Best-Selling “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs”, on the challenges of the mutating virus.

University of Minnesota Professor Michael T. Osterholm will deliver “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Do We Know Where We Are Going?”—the first Spring 2023 Bentson Dean’s Lecture—on Tues., Feb. 7, at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Osterholm, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, will discuss what the ever-mutating COVID virus will mean for the future of the pandemic: When will it end? Will it end? Will there be a return to “normal”? The talk will focus on current mutations and data as of February 2023.

Osterholm, appointed to then-President-elect Joe Biden’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board in November 2020, is the author of the New York Times best-selling 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, which details the most pressing infectious disease threats of our day and lays out a nine-point strategy on how to address them.

Osterholm served for 24 years (1975-1999) in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, including the last 15 as state epidemiologist. He has led numerous investigations of outbreaks of international importance, including foodborne diseases, the association of tampons and toxic shock syndrome, and hepatitis B and HIV in healthcare settings. Osterholm was also the principal investigator and director of the National Institutes of Health-supported Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (2007-2014) and chair of the Executive Committee of the Centers of Excellence Influenza Research and Surveillance network.

An RSVP is required by visiting the event page. Zoom coordinates will be sent to attendees the day of the event. For more information, email cas.events@nyu.edu or call 212.998.8100.

Free and open to the public, the Bentson Lectures have, for nearly 10 years, showcased current and visiting faculty and other guests. Funded by the Bentson Family Foundation, recent Bentson Lecturers have included NYU Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah, the New York Times “Ethicist” columnist, on “The Ethics of Work”; NYU Anthropology Professor Rayna Rapp on “The Implications of the Growing role of Genetic Testing”; Karen Adolph, professor of psychology and neuroscience at NYU, on early childhood development in her lecture “Learning to Move and Moving to Learn”; and Brooke Kroeger, an NYU journalism professor emeritus, on “What We Can Learn about Allyship Today from ‘Suffragents’.”

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