Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Infringement by Defaulting Company Controlled by Former Employee Justifies Award of Enhanced Damages

The court granted plaintiff's motion for enhanced damages against a defaulting defendant because defendant's motivation for harm, lack of a good faith defense, lack of remedial action, duration of misconduct, and lack of closeness of the case favored treble damages. "⁠[P]rior to joining [defendant], [defendant's chairman] was employed at [company related to plaintiff], where he gained familiarity with [plaintiff's] intellectual property rights. . . and, prior to initiating this action, [plaintiff] sent [defendant] a letter notifying it of the [patent-in-suit] and [defendant's] infringing actions. Those facts, taken together with the fact that [the parties] are direct competitors, support an inference that [defendant] deliberately infringed the [patent], with the purpose of harming [plaintiff's] business. . . . [T]here is no evidence in the record to support a finding that [defendant] investigated the scope of the [patent] and formed a good-faith belief that it was invalid or that it was not infringed. . . . [T]he record is devoid of any evidence that [defendant] took remedial actions. . . . [Defendant] sold its infringing product [for almost a year]. Finally, because default judgment has already been entered as to [defendant's] liability for infringement, the closeness factor supports enhanced damages."

Sabinsa Corporation v. Olive Lifesciences Pvt. Ltd., 3-16-cv-03321 (NJD June 1, 2018, Order) (Wolfson, USDJ)

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