• Court of Appeal Affirms Re-determination - Individual Defendant is Still Jointly and Severally Liable for $64,000 in Damages and $250,000 in Punitive Damages for Selling Knock-off Chanel Products
  • April 17, 2017 | Authors: Jillian Brenner; Adrian J. Howard; Beverley Moore; Chantal Saunders
  • Law Firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Ottawa Office
  • Lam v. Chanel S. de R.L., 2017 FCA 38

    This was an appeal of the Federal Court's re-determination of a motion for summary trial (2016 FC 987, previously summarized here).

    In the original decision (2015 FC 1091, previously summarized here), the Federal Court awarded judgment against the Defendants 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 appeal, the 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
    At the re-determination, 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.

    In this appeal, the Appellant did not contest the findings of liability, confining her appeal to the awards of compensatory and punitive damages and costs. The appeal was dismissed on all grounds. On the issue of punitive damages, the Court of Appeal noted that the Judge's assessment of the amount of damages was largely focused on the Defendants' conduct and the conclusion that compensatory damages alone would not be a deterrent; this was consistent with the case law. As the appeal was without merit and no substantive ground or challenge to the judgment was advanced, the Court of Appeal awarded costs on a solicitor-client basis.