Louis Vuitton S.A., Burberry Limited and their Canadian subsidiaries have won their case against importers of counterfeit goods. In an unprecedented ruling, the Federal Court ordered defendants Singga Enterprises and Carnation Fashion Company of Vancouver and Altec Productions of Toronto to pay $2.48 million in damages and punitive damages for trade-mark and copyright infringement. The individuals behind the defendant companies were not spared and were held personally liable for their companies' wrongdoings. The Court pierced the corporate veil and sentenced them to several hundred thousand dollars in damages and punitive damages, as well as to solicitor and client costs, given their deliberate, continuous and blatant infringement of the plaintiffs' trade-mark rights and copyrights and their disregard for the judicial process.
This decision wraps up over two years of investigative work and infiltration of the large-scale import and sale network of counterfeit goods conducted by investigators hired by Louis Vuitton and Burberry. The evidence gathered during the investigation allowed the luxury brands to uncover a network of manufacturers and importers of counterfeit handbags and other fashion accessories originating in China and widely distributed in Canada without the intervention of border services. It is also of note that the proceedings were conducted pursuant to the new Federal Court rules on summary trial, which allowed for more flexible and expeditious proceedings.
With this decision, the Federal Court has positioned itself strongly in favour of severe sanctions and sends the clear message to counterfeiters that their actions will not go unpunished in Canada.
Click here to access the link to the decision.