Lous Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc. et al., 2011 U.S.App. LEXIS 18815 (9th Cir. 2011)
Malletier sued the server hosts of websites that sold counterfeit goods in the US. At jury trial, all defendants were found guilty of contributory copyright and trademark infringement.* The jury awarded the maximum statutory damages against each defendant without making a finding of joint and several liability. The two defendants were the web host and the manager of the web host (not clear if this was alter ego liability or just a separate count). In any event, the infringement claims were single acts of infringement, for which each defendant was liable, not separate acts of infringement by separate defendants brought together in one case.
The court first confirmed that contributory infringers are subject to statutory damage awards for trademark and copyright infringement.
As for the cap on statutory damages, it can not be multiplied per defendant where the defendants are jointly and severally liable. ”Statutory damages reach a maximum based on the number of protected works, not the number of defendants.”
* The trial court did let one defendant off the hook, finding the jury verdict couldn’t be supported based on the facts presented because the defendant only leased server equipment and did not actually offer hosting services.