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Federal Judiciary: Eastern District of Texas Federal Court Practice
Post-trial Motions Resolved in Mass v. Ergotron
By Michael C. Smith
Mass Engineered Design, Inc. v. Ergotron, Inc., 2:06cv00272 (E.D. Tex. April 17, 2009)
Judge: Leonard Davis
Holding: Request for a Permanent Injunction or Ongoing Royalties DENIED; JMOL & motion for new trial DENIED; Motion for post-trial relief granted and requests for enhanced damages and fees DENIED.
Here's a opinion you can really latch on to. (Yeah, it hurt me to write it too). This case was tried to a Marshall jury last November, resulting in a jury verdict of three million against the five defendants, plus a setoff of 120k in favor of defendant Dell. Readers will recall that Judge Davis recently entered and order denying Dell's motion for a permanent injunction and also rejected the notion of an annual flat-rate royalty, and expressing his displeasure with the parties' proposal re: future royalty rates, instead "preliminarily" setting an ongoing royalty of $4 per infringing unit and ordering the parties to meet and confer. This morning he issued an exhaustive (47 pages) order resolving the many post-trial motions.
I particularly like post-trial orders like this because they give a reader a way to, well, latch on to the various issues that come up in a patent case by discussing them in the context of a trial and the standards by which a jury's determinations are viewed. What the order technically does is deny Dell?s Motion for Permanent Injunction or Reasonable Royalty, Dell?s Motion for Enhanced Damages and Attorneys? Fees, and the Defendants? Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (?JMOL?) or New Trial, and grants in part Plaintiffs? Motion for Post-Trial Relief (by granting JMOL on its implied license defense with respect to Dell's claim, but denying it as to a new trial on damages and enhanced damages, if I'm getting this all right). This opinion also included the Court?s findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding Defendants? affirmative defenses of inequitable conduct, laches, and equitable estoppel and Plaintiffs? affirmative defense of equitable estoppel. Judge Davis also grants the plaintiff's request for an injunction, but orders the parties to confer on the language of a proposed injunction. There are not a lot of issues that come up in frequently patent cases that aren't addressed here, so it may be useful reading to see Judge Davis discuss the what's, why's and "how come's" of the case.
This case was more complicated than some because one of the defendants, Dell, asserted patent claims against the plaintiff, so if the names of the motions don't seem consistent with who the parties are, that may be why.
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