By Geetha Kandiah
Chanel, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci are names which are guaranteed to excite fashionistas everywhere. However, the case of Chanel v. Melwani2 International Sdn Bhd, Lachmandas Ishwarlal Melwani & Ang Chong Leng (heard together with 3 other matters), clearly shows that if you mess with these big guns, you will pay dearly (literally), and trying to hide under the veil of a limited liability company might be a futile exercise!
The above-mentioned 4 parties (“Plaintiffs”) are proprietors of registered trademarks for various goods and services in Classes 3, 9, 14, 18, 24, 25 and 35. The 1st Defendant is a company which is not an authorized distributor or retailer of any of the Plaintiffs, but which sold products bearing the Plaintiffs’ trademarks (“Infringing Products”). The 2nd Defendant is an Indian national who is a director of the 1st Defendant, owning 78% of its shares, and the 3rd Defendant is also a director of the 1st Defendant who owns 17% of its shares.