By  on October 20, 2008

A federal judge in Manhattan awarded Louis Vuitton Malletier SA more than $3.5 million in damages and court fees this month in a trademark-counterfeiting suit Vuitton filed against several New York City businesses and their principals.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered defendants LY USA Inc., Coco USA Inc. and Marco Leather Goods Ltd. and their principals, Joyce Chan and Chong Lam, to pay $3 million in statutory damages relating to their sale of handbags that counterfeited and infringed upon Louis Vuitton’s trademarks.

Hellerstein said in his judgment dated Oct. 3 that his goal of deterring similar conduct by the defendants and other enterprises played a part in the size of the award. He took the defendants to task for not producing requested information such as sales and inventory figures during the trial’s discovery phase.

“Defendants have shown by their willfulness in obstructing this litigation and violating plaintiffs’ trademark rights that a slight damage award is unlikely to deter them from continuing their illegal business,” he wrote.

The French design house filed the suit in November 2006, accusing the defendants of manufacturing and selling items with logos either identical or almost identical to its own. The complaint called the interrelated businesses “notorious counterfeiters” that had imported or distributed tens of thousands of fake luxury brand items. Louis Vuitton took special umbrage with the defendants then-recent registering of a stylized “LY” logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office that looked similar to its own “LV” logo. The defendants’ move, the suit argued, was an attempt to legitimize their business.

The defendants were ordered to pay attorneys’ fees and expenses of $556,034 and enjoined from further violating Louis Vuitton trademarks.

Michael Dowd, attorney for defendant Chong Lam said his client and all other defendants would appeal. Attorneys for the other defendants did not return calls seeking comment.

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