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When Can You Recover Treble Damages in a Trademark Infringement Claim?

TrademarkLit

As defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), trademark infringement is the unauthorized commercial use of another party’s valid trademark or service mark in a manner that is likely to cause confusion in the mind of a reasonable consumer. You can hold a violator legally liable through a trademark infringement claim.

In the most egregious cases of trademark infringement, a plaintiff may be eligible to recover treble damages. Also known as “triple damages”, treble damages are essentially a form of penalty compensation. Here, our Boca Raton trademark & copyright infringement lawyers explain when you can recover treble damages in a trademark violation case.   

What are Treble Damages and How are they Calculated?  

In the United States, some state and federal statutes authorize courts to award treble damages as a punitive measure in certain civil claims. With a treble damage award, the actual amount of compensatory damages will be “tripled” and then awarded to the plaintiff. Treble damages are available in some egregious trademark infringement claims.

As an example, imagine that the federal court in Florida determined that a company suffered $50,000 in actual damages as a result of unlawful trademark infringement. If the court decides that a treble damage award is appropriate, the compensation would be tripled to $150,000. There can be some questions about what exactly counts as an “actual loss” in a trademark infringement case. 

Trademark Infringement and Treble Damages: Understanding the Standard  

It should be emphasized that treble damages are not awarded in every trademark infringement claim; far from it.  Treble damages are a relatively limited award. Instead, treble damages are reserved for a somewhat narrow set of cases in which the infringement was deemed to be especially extreme. Specifically, treble damages may be granted if the mark was intentionally used in the sale of counterfeit products or services (15 U.S.C. § 1117).

Put simply, a court can award treble damages in a counterfeit-related trademark infringement case if the violating party did so in a willful or grossly negligent manner. Although treble damages are typically awarded in cases involving an intentional violation, these damages can also be granted if the seller offered counterfeit goods/services with “willful blindness”—meaning ignorance is not a surefire defense against being hit with treble damages. If a trademark infringement occurred in “good faith”, a court may award actual damages and lost profits, not treble damages or any other type of punitive damages. 

Contact Our Boca Raton, FL Trademark Infringement Attorneys for Immediate Help

At Perkins Pershes, PLLC, our Florida trademark infringement lawyers have the skills, knowledge, and expertise to protect your brand. If you have questions or concerns about treble damages and trademark infringement, we are here to get you answers. To arrange a confidential, no obligation consultation, please contact us right away. From our office in Boca Raton, we serve communities throughout the region, including in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

Resource:

uspto.gov/page/about-trademark-infringement#:~:text=Trademark%20infringement%20is%20the%20unauthorized,the%20goods%20and%2For%20services.

https://www.perkinspershes.com/three-things-to-know-about-the-fair-use-doctrine/

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