In a design patent infringement case, the court reversed the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial on the issue of damages and affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion for JMOL as to validity and its Rule 59(e) motion to amend the judgment with respect to infringement by one version of the accused products. 

As to the damages issue, the jury awarded $46,825 in damages and indicated that the defendant’s profits on the accused products was $0.  Because a design patent plaintiff may recover the greater of a reasonable royalty or lost profits under § 284 or the total profits from the infringer’s sales of the article of manufacture bearing the patented design under § 289 and because the evidence demonstrated that the defendant had in fact profited from sales of the entire dock leveler that bore the patented design, the court held that the jury’s finding of $0 profit was against the manifest weight of the evidence, thereby warranting a new trial. 

As to defendants’ cross-appeal, the court held that the defendant had failed to renew its motion for JMOL in a post-trial, because it was insufficient to inform the court that was renewing “whatever was said before” and “only to the extent necessary,” as that is not specific enough under Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(b)(1) requiring that motions state with particularity the grounds for seeking the order.  Regardless, even if properly preserved, the court held that there was substantial evidence from which the jury could have concluded that the design was not functional and therefore not invalid.

Nordock, Inc. v. Systems Inc., Case Nos. 2014-1762, -1795 (September 29, 2015); Opinion by: O’Malley, joined by Reyna and Chen; Appealed From: District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Randa, J. Read the full opinion here.

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