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Fashion houses suing Gi Gi Shoes for copying

Hong Kong shoemaker Ng Chung-fu of Gi Gi Shoes & Handbags is being sued by international fashion houses Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta over alleged copyright infringement.

Unspecified damages are being sought by the two brands as well as court injunctions to restrain Ng from infringing their original artistic works. They are also seeking court orders for the delivery or destruction of all infringing products.

Ng’s son Desmond, meanwhile, told the South China Morning Post he feels “helpless” because they have already removed the relevant products from shelves upon receiving complaints of infringement, which he said they had been unaware of in the first place.

He denies they made the products and had no intention to make products that infringe others’ trademarks. His father, who founded the company 43 years ago, has not commented because of poor health.

Ng faces two separate legal actions, from Balenciaga and Balenciaga Asia Pacific, and from Bottega Veneta and Bottega Veneta Hong Kong. The products central to the case include Balenciaga’s Classic Metallic Edge Money, and Bottega Veneta’s signature Stretch Knot Clutch, Veneta Bag and Fiandra Slipper.

Ng junior says it is hard to keep tabs on all products from so many brands. “What we can do is to remove the problematic products from shelves and investigate the matter upon receiving complaints.”

Guangzhou-born Ng arrived in Hong Kong in 1949 and worked as a shoemaker in Central before starting his own business in Happy Valley’s “Shoe Street”. The family’s current store in Causeway Bay will close before Lunar New Year next month.

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