Tag Archives: counterfeit goods

The Real Impact of Counterfeiting

Counterfeit StampA group of luxury brand makers including Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves St. Laurent, and other brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA, recently sued on-line retail giant Alibaba, claiming that the company had knowingly made it possible for counterfeiters to sell their wares throughout the world.  Why should we care about counterfeit goods?  Those luxury brand companies have so much money, they’re not really hurting.  If you can score genuine looking merchandise for a cheaper price, you’re just a savvy shopper, you’re not really hurting anyone, right?  WRONG.

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Counterfeit Goods: Significant Statutory and Punitive Damages

We have been following the line of cases dealing with counterfeit goods and the resulting damage awards, and note the most recent case from the Federal Court makes clear that a tougher approach to trademark  and copyright infringement can now be expected in Canada.  In Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Singga Enterprises (Canada) Inc., the Court awarded significant damage awards as well as punitive damages against the three defendant companies and their principals.

The Plaintiffs, Louis Vuitton and Burberry, hired a number of investigators to attend the stores and warehouses of the defendants Singga Enterprises Canada, Altec Productions and Guo (doing business as Carnation Fashion Company), as well as purchase items from their websites. While in attendance at the stores and warehouses, the investigators were shown and purchased a number of counterfeit items including handbags, sunglasses and jewellery, all of which contained unauthorized productions of the Louis Vuitton and Burberry trade-marks. The Plaintiffs were successful in showing that the defendants’ activities of manufacturing, importing, distributing, offering for sale and actual sale of bulk quantities of counterfeit and/or infringing items had been ongoing and, in the case of one of the defendants, had continued after the commencement of the proceeding and the motion for summary trial brought by the Plaintiffs.

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