Treble Damages

Treble damages refers to the three times the amount of provable, actual damages. The Trademark Act authorizes courts to award up to three times the amount of actual damages for any violations of the Trademark Act.

Additional Sources


Damages awarded in an amount that is three times the amount for which the trier of fact finds the wrongdoer liable. Dictionary

n. tripling damages allowed by state statute in certain types of cases, such as not making good on a bad check or intentionally refusing to pay rent. Federal antitrust violations also carry treble damage penalties.

Lect Law Library

TREBLE DAMAGES - In actions arising ex contractu some statutes give treble damages; and these statutes have been liberally construed to mean actually treble damages; for example, if the jury give twenty dollars damages for a forcible entry the court will award forty dollars more, so as to make the total amount of damages sixty dollars.


Treble damages, in law, is a term that indicates that a statute permits a court to triple the amount of the actual/compensatory damages to be awarded to a prevailing plaintiff, generally in order to punish the losing party for willful conduct. Treble damages are a multiple of, and not an addition to, actual damages. Thus, where a person received an award of $100 for an injury, a court applying treble damages would raise the award to $300. The ability to award treble damages is a typical feature in legislation that recognizes the potentially willful nature of the prohibited acts. For example, such damages may be awarded by a court in the United States for willful violation of the antitrust laws, for willful patent infringement, for trademark counterfeiting, and under the RICO statute. The idea behind the creation of such damages, also called exemplary damages, is that they will encourage citizens to sue for violations that are harmful to society in general.

The United States Supreme Court determined in Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Co. that, unlike merely compensatory damages, which are exempt from federal income tax, such taxes must be paid on the excess amount (the amount that exceeds the actual damages) of treble damages. Furthermore, some[weasel words] foreign governments will assist U.S. citizens in collecting damages, but not treble damage awards, which are considered penal.