For years Western governments and companies alike have lambasted China for its lack of protection of -mainly Western- brand names, resulting in rampant piracy. If you've ever set one foot on Shanghai's Nanjing Road or Beijing's Wangfujing Avenue, you know how ubiquitous and easy to obtain fake goods are in China, from $10 Rolex watches to $5 Louis Vuitton bags and Hermès scarves.
Even with new brand protection laws in place (a condition for China's much-desired WTO membership) suing sellers of fake goods is nigh impossible, as most of these are fly-by-night operations and the Chinese judicial system isn't the most efficient in the world either.
So it's good to see that finally luxury brand maker Louis Vuitton has succeeded in getting a favourable verdict against a seller of fake LV branded handbags, getting awarded Y300,000 (US$40,000) in damages from ... French supermarket chain Carrefour.
Turns out, roadside sellers of gazillions of fake watches, handbags and scarves are untouchable in China. But a global retail chain with 37 fake LV bags on the shelves of its Shanghai hypermarket is an easy target.
As the old Chinese saying goes: life ain't always fair for a sitting duck.