On August 28, a federal court jury awarded Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. $32.4 million in a suit against two Internet Service Providers and their owner. The suit alleged trademark and copyright infringement.
Louis Vuitton Wins at Trial
The jury concluded that:
- The ISPs knew, or should have known, that their customers were selling, online, counterfeit goods that infringed LV trademarks and copyrights.
- The ISPs willful contributed to sales of the counterfeit goods.
- The ISPs were not entitled to the “safe harbor” protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (see How Websites Can Avoid Liability for User-provided Content).
The moral: The DMCA will protect ISPs that play by the rules, but it will not protect ISPs that intentionally violate the intellectual property rights of third parties.
The jury’s verdict is a pretty interesting document because it lays out, step by step, each of the elements of infringement and asks the jury to vote “Yes” or “No” for each element.
Judgment Upheld On Appeal but Damages Reduced
Update: On September 9, 2011 the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court decision as concerns defendants’ liability, but remanded the case to the trial court to reduce the amount of damages $32.4 million to $10.8 million, because only one set of statutory damages may be awarded (rather than multiplying statutory damages by the number of defendants) (Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Akanoc Solutions).
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510 547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
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