Koon Chun Soy and Sauce v. Star Mark

Koon Chun Hing Kee Soy & Sauce Factory, Ltd. v. Star Mark Management, Inc. (2010 WL 4910129) Decided Dec 3, 2

Facts: Plaintiff, Koon Chun, by September 2003, discovered that counterfeit products bearing their label were being sold in the United States. After a plaintiff-hired investigator bought two cans of counterfeit sauce from defendants, they obtained and executed an Order of Seizure on 103 cases of sauce from defendants. In addition, 680 cases of counterfeit sauce were turned over to plaintiff the following month.

Issue: Appeal taken on: standard to determine types of damages to be awarded on possession and distribution of counterfeit product bearing trademark

Holding: treble damages and attorney’s fees – affirmed

Analysis: Imposition of treble damages and attorney’s fees is mandated for the intentional and knowing use of a counterfeit mark.

Critique: The problem of counterfeits is a problem, and one that will grow with globalization. The concept of counterfeits supports trademark law, as a source identifier for consumers. However, this case could foreshadow future case law that sees an increase in dilution, especially where, as in this case, a company unknowingly markets a trademarked product of inferior quality to the original.

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