Chanel S. de R.L. v. Lam Chan Kee Company Ltd., 2016 FC 987

The Federal Court has completed its re-determination of a motion for summary trial as presented by the plaintiffs, with the same end result.

In September 2015 the Federal Court in 2015 FC 1091 (previously summarized here) awarded judgment against the defendants A. Lam and LCK Company and 2133694 Inc., for the infringement of several Chanel trademarks. The defendants were selling knock-off Chanel merchandise out of their condominium unit and in a strip mall. The defendants were ordered to pay, jointly and severally, $64,000 in damages, plus $250,000 as punitive and exemplary damages, plus $66,000 in costs.

On April 11, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal in 2016 FCA 111 set aside the trial judge’s decision as it related to the personal defendant and remitted the summary trial motion for re-determination. The Court of Appeal wanted the Judge to resolve the ambiguity in the decision related to whether the individual defendant was liable for three or four acts of infringement. This affected the quantum of damages and costs awarded and this defendant’s joint and several liabilities.

The end result following the re-determination is the same because the Federal Court confirmed the original judgment, including the compensatory damages award, the punitive damages award and the costs award. The Federal Court expressly confirmed that the individual defendant was personally liable for all four infringements.

Of interest in this decision is the fact that the Court cited the awards in two unreported judgments to justify the damages award. The first, Guccio Gucci SPA and Gucci America Inc v Bobby Bhatia et al (Unreported) Federal Court File No T-1556-14, awarded $696,000 to the plaintiff as punitive damages, being $29,000 (minimal compensatory damages for wholesaler) for each of the 24 occasion of infringements, in addition a $1,392,000 as compensatory damages. The second, Louis Vuitton Malletier SA and Louis Vuitton Canada Inc v Bobby Bhatia et al (Unreported) Federal Court File No. T-1536-14, awarded the plaintiffs $609,000 in punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages of $2,436,000 for trademark infringement and passing off, and additional damages of copyright infringement.