I t was discovered that a clothing outlet owner surnamed Lee was selling fake Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior clothes and bags. After the companies filed civil suits against Lee, the Taipei District Court ordered her to pay the companies NT$13.4 million and place half-page ads of the entire court verdict on the front page of four newspapers in Taiwan to allow the brands to recover their reputation.
According to legal analysts, the ruling in the Lee case was made according to the Trademark Act. She was sentenced to five months in prison or given the choice of paying NT$1,000 per day instead of serving jail time, which would have amounted to around NT$150,000. The actual ruling in the civil suits, which included compensation for losses and fees for placing ads in newspapers, ended up being more than NT$15 million.
The verdict says that the 33-year-old Lee had rented out a space in March last year on the basement floor of the Wellcome department store building located on Zhongxiao East Road in Taipei, where she sold fake famous brand-name clothes purchased on China’s online shopping and auction Web site Taobao. She sold the merchandise at her shop for eight months, until it was eventually discovered in November last year that she was selling fake goods.
The police found fake Louis Vuitton products, which included clothes, pants, high heels, suitcases, lighters, bags and accessories. Lee admitted that she paid between NT$500 and NT$2,000 for each item, and that she sold each piece of merchandise for between NT$1,000 and NT$7,000. She was sentenced to five months in prison in July.
Taiwan’s LV dealer calculated its losses according to the Trademark Act, so since Lee was selling each item at an average of NT$4,000 per item, that figure was supposed to be multiplied by 1,500 to get the final amount of NT$36 million, which was to be paid as compensation for the company’s losses. The judge, however, felt that was too much and decided to reduce it by two-thirds. In the end, Lee was asked to pay NT$12 million and another NT$500,000 for goodwill impairment, totaling NT$12.5 million.
1. civil suit n. phr.
民事訴訟 (min2 shi4 su4 song4)
例: The burden of proof is usually lower in civil suits than in criminal suits.
2. merchandise n.
貨品 (huo4 pin3)
例: The stolen merchandise was never located.
3. accessories n.
配件 (pei4 jian4)
例: No accessories were included with the gaming system. They had to be bought separately.
At the scene, authorities also found 23 fake Christian Dior apparel items and 13 Hermes apparel items. The two companies asked for 600 and 300 times the worth of the goods to be paid as compensation for their losses. The judge ruled in the companies’ favor, meaning Lee must pay the companies NT$600,000 and NT$300,000 respectively, or serve time in jail. She must also pay to run ads of the entire court verdict in newspapers. The cases can be appealed.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)