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ROMAG FASTENERS v. MITZI INT'L HANDBAG & ACCESSORIES

United States District Court, S.D. New York


January 12, 2005.

ROMAG FASTENERS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MITZI INTERNATIONAL HANDBAG AND ACCESSORIES, LTD., Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEWIS KAPLAN, District Judge

ORDER

The jury in this case found on December 2, 2004 that the defendant willfully infringed plaintiff's `126 patent and awarded damages of $4.5 million. On December 16, plaintiff filed a post-trial memorandum in support of its application for enhanced damages, attorneys fees, prejudgment interest and injunctive relief. Apart from a somewhat tendentious letter noting that plaintiff had not filed a motion, as distinct from its post-trial memorandum, and implying that this somehow excused defendant from responding to the application unless and until such a motion was filed, defendant has not responded. As the post-trial memorandum "state[s] with particularity the grounds therefore, and . . . set[s] forth the relief . . . sought," see Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(b)(1), it is a motion. While it does not conform to the usual form in this District, which employs notices of motion, it is identical in substance. Hence, the Court does not regard the lack of a notice of motion or motion separate from the post-trial memorandum as significant.

Turning to the merits, plaintiff's memorandum correctly notes that a finding of willful infringement alone supports an enhanced damage award and correctly identifies the other relevant factors. Pl. Mem. 3. Here, the relevant factors cut both ways. In plaintiff's favor are the fact that defendant deliberately copied the design, that its litigation behavior was somewhat obstructive, and that some efforts were made to conceal the infringement. Moreover, its invalidity defense bordered on the frivolous On the other hand, this was not even remotely a clear case of infringement. While the Court probably would not have set aside the verdict as against the weight of the evidence had defendant sought such relief, it remains convinced that the defendant had much the better of that argument. While the ultimate call was for the jury, the Court certainly is entitled to take this view into account in determining whether and to what extent damages should be enhanced. In all the circumstances, the Court finds enhancement by one third appropriate and fixes damages at $6.0 million. Plaintiff next seeks attorneys' fee and expenses on the theory that this is an exceptional case. Given the findings of willful infringement and litigation misconduct, the Court so finds. As the plaintiff's claim for $389,758 in fees and $39,162.23 in expenses is both modest for this sort of case and undisputed, it awards attorneys' fees and expenses in the total amount of $428,920.23.

  Third, plaintiff is entitled to prejudgment interest under 31 U.S.C. § 284 absent some justification for different result. The Court finds no such justification and awards prejudgment interest at the appropriate rate on the sums listed from the dates indicated below:

From Amount
April 30, 2000 $1,269,938 April 30, 2001 $1,490,798 April 30, 2002 $1,159,509 October 31, 2002 $ 579,755
  The rates applicable from time to time shall be determined in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1961.

  Finally, plaintiff is entitled to an injunction under 35 U.S.C. § 283. There has been no objection to the form of injunction attached as Exhibit F to the joint pretrial order.

  Accordingly, plaintiff's application is granted to the following extent:

  1. Plaintiff shall recover of defendant damages in the amount of $6.0 million together with attorneys' fees and expenses of $428,920.23 and prejudgment interest in an amount to be computed by the Clerk in accordance with this order.

  2. Plaintiff shall have an injunction in the form attached as Exhibit F to the joint pretrial order.

  The Clerk shall prepare and enter final judgment accordingly.

  SO ORDERED.

20050112

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