Canadian courts have, traditionally, not been inclined to award punitive damages in IP cases but this may be about to change. Marek Nitoslawski and David Turgeon investigate.
Punitive damages traditionally serve a dual purpose. They deter undesirable conduct while serving as a supplementary penalty to the defendant should compensatory damages be considered inadequate. In US patent infringement cases, the award of ‘triple damages’ is often granted specifically as a sanction against wilful infringement. Canadian courts, however, have traditionally been less inclined to award punitive damages in IP cases.
This now appears to be changing. Eurocopter v Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited, a recent patent infringement case decided in the Federal Court of Canada, is the most recent case in a series confirming that Canadian courts are increasingly alive to the need for punitive damages to deter wilful and intentional infringement of IP rights.
Recent Canadian IP cases
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punitive damages, Eurocopter