Local shop owner pays TWD5.2 damages to Gucci and LV
E161204Y2 | Jan. 2017（E206）
Five luxury brand proprietors, Guccio Gucci S.P.A., Louis Vuitton Malletier, Hermes International, Christian Dior Couture, and Bottega Veneta SA sued a local leather shop owner, surnamed Liu, in Keelung, Taiwan over Liu’s sale of counterfeit branded leather bags, leather belts, and wallets bearing those proprietors’ registered marks, such as, Gucci and LV at the prices ranging from TWD3,000 to TWD20,000, and claimed damages in huge amount. The Taiwan IP Court agreed with Keelung District Court’s holding that Liu violates the Taiwan Trademark Act and should be sentenced to three months in jail and in addition thereto pay damages in an amount of TWD5.2.
The fact is that Liu had been selling counterfeit leather bags, leather belts, and wallets in his leather goods shop from May 2014 through October 7, 2014 when he was busted by the police, by which act Liu seriously prejudiced the five proprietors’ rights. Therefore, these proprietors filed a lawsuit against Liu and also claimed damages against him in an amount of TWD32.20 million.
The Keelung District Court first sentenced Liu to 3-month imprisonment for his violation of Trademark Act and then Liu unsuccessfully appealed this case to the IP Court. According to the Trademark Act, Keelung District Court decided that Liu should pay damages in the amount of TWD1.2 million to Guccio Gucci S.P.A., TWD2.3 million to Louis Vuitton Malletier, TWD840 thousand to Bottega Veneta SA, TWD160 thousand to Christian Dior Couture, and also TWD700 thousand to Hermes International, respectively. Liu was dissatisfied with Keelung District Court’s decision and thus filed an appeal against the district court judgment to the IP Court.
According to the IP Court’s holding, the five proprietors had been demanding in the district court and appellate proceedings that the claimable damages should be calculated by the average retail unit price of the infringing products, instead of the aggregate amount of the unit prices of the seized infringing products, and the calculation selected by the proprietors was more favorable to Liu. Therefore, the IP Court determined that the damages should be calculated by taking the average amount of the aggregate amount of the unit prices of the seized infringing products to be multiplied by a multiplier between 20 to 250 and thus dismissed Liu’s appeal, and also set the claimable damages at TWD5.2 million. This case is still appealable. (December 2016)