Franck Muller Seeks $60 Million in Gray-Market Lawsuit

Franck Muller USA, the American branch of the Swiss luxury-watch brand, is seeking $60 million in damages, penalties, and other costs from seven companies it claims are gray-market vendors of its luxury watches.

Muller filed suit June 1 in New York federal court against the seven New York City companies—six jewelers and a wholesaler—for allegedly selling gray-market Franck Muller watches. Most are located on 47th Street. The companies couldn’t be reached for comment at press time.

Gray-market goods are genuine branded merchandise usually intended for other markets than the United States. They’re imported by an unauthorized importer and sold by unauthorized dealers with the brand’s quality control, service, or warranty programs.

The suit charges those named with unlawfully selling goods in violation of federal law, trademark infringement, and unfair competition. Franck Muller USA is seeking $25 million in damages, $25 million of the defendants’ profits, $10 million in punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs, and wants an injunction prohibiting future gray-market sales by the companies.

“Franck Muller is committed to fighting gray-market imports,” said Hratch N. Kaprielian, president of Franck Muller USA, “and that includes preserving its reputation for importing and distributing genuine Franck Muller watches through authorized dealers who are able to ensure that consumers receive the benefit of its extensive service and warranty policies.”