Local famous auction group ordered to pay TWD9.08 million to Louis Vuitton Malletier for economic right and trademark right infringement
E210115Y2．E210115Y3 | Feb. 2021（E255）
The trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Louis Vuitton Malletier against the local well-known auction group, Bang Master Group (hereinafter referred to as “Bang Master”) has been finalized with the appeal being dismissed by the Taiwan Supreme Court. Louis Vuitton Malletier filed a lawsuit with the IP Court to claim damages against Bang Master by the reason that Bang Master took a free ride on Louis Vuitton Malletier’s business reputation by, without Louis Vuitton Malletier’s prior consent and authorization, using Louis Vuitton Malletier’s photographic works and LV mark in the books, posters, and teaching materials published by Bang Master. The IP Court sustained Bang Master’s infringement upon Louis Vuitton Malletier’s trademark right and economic right in the first and second instance proceedings and thus awarded damages of TWD9,080,000 to Louis Vuitton Malletier payable by Bang Master and its responsible person. According to the judgment, Bang Master should also publish the gist of the judgment in local newspapers.
Louis Vuitton Malletier asserted that Bang Master, without the Louis Vuitton Malletier’s prior consent and authorization, used Louis Vuitton Malletier’s photographic works, audio and video works, and LV mark in Bang Master’s books, promotional posters for auction, teaching materials for its luxury goods authentication sessions, and also on the door of its store located in Taoyuan, for which Louis Vuitton Malletier filed an infringement lawsuit for seeking damages against three companies, association, and responsible person of Bang Master’s group in an accumulated amount of TWD30 million or more calculated by TWD500,000 per infringing picture and a multiplier of 1500 for the retailing price of Bang Master’s books.
Bang Master’s responsible person argued that it is impossible for him, as a responsible person, to personally take care of every single matter of his company nor instruct any employee to use the pictures of LV products. He also maintained that anyone can take pictures of the arrangement and decoration of LV stores and bags, and he did not commit unauthorized use of Louis Vuitton Malletier’s copyrighted works. In addition, the books he published are to show people how to identify counterfeit LV products, which only brings benefits to LV products, not infringement.
The IP Court affirmed in the first instance proceedings that Bang Master infringed upon Louis Vuitton Malletier’s economic rights by using, without due authorization, Louis Vuitton Malletier’s photographic works in Bang Master’s books, posters, teaching materials and also by presenting a colored drawing of LV bags on the door of its store, and that Bang Master also infringed upon Louis Vuitton Malletier’s trademark rights by using the LV mark without due authorization in books and advertising cards, and therefore, for the foregoing wrongdoing, Bang Master should be held liable for damages to Louis Vuitton Malletier in an amount of TWD9,080,000 and should publish the gist of the IP Court judgment in local newspapers. Two appeals against the IP Court judgment to the IP Court in the second instance and to the Supreme Court were unsuccessful and the IP Court judgment is upheld at last. The IP Court judgment establishing Bang Master’s infringement becomes final accordingly. (Released 2021.01.15)