WBIP, LLC v. Kohler Co., C.A. No. 11-10374-NMG, 2014 U.S. Dist. WL 585854 (D. Mass. Feb. 12, 2014) (Gorton, D.J.) [Remedies/Damages].
In May 2013, a jury found that certain patents owned by plaintiff WBIP, LLC (“WBIP”) were valid and willfully infringed by defendant Kohler Co. (“Kohler”). In this memorandum and order, the Court decided several postverdict motions pertaining to remedies and damages.
Kohler’s motion for a new trial on damages or remittitur was allowed in part and denied in part. The Court found that the royalty base used by the jury was not supported by substantial evidence and reduced the royalty base to a figure that had been used by both parties’ experts during trial. The Court left the royalty rate used by the jury intact, finding that it was supported by substantial evidence. WBIP is now faced with the option of accepting the modified damages amount or proceeding with a new trial on damages.
WBIP’s motion for an accounting and pre- and postjudgment interest was allowed in part and denied in part. The Court adjusted the damages amount to include royalties on sales up to the entry of the trial judgment and awarded pre- and post-judgment interest. The Court declined, however, to use the 15% statutory rate for the pre-judgment interest. Instead, the Court applied the prime rate as “an appropriate compromise between the Massachusetts statutory rate, which is excessive, and the miniscule Treasury Bill rate, which will not adequately compensate WBIP for the pre-judgment period of infringement.”
WBIP’s motion for enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees was allowed. The Court applied the Federal Circuit’s Seagate test and found that Kohler was objectively reckless by acting in reliance on defenses of non-infringement and obviousness. The Court then applied the Federal Circuit’s Read factors to determine the appropriate amount of enhancement. Finding that four of the nine factors weighed against enhancement and that five of the nine factors weighed in favor of enhancement, the Court imposed a 50% increase. The court also found that Kohler’s willful infringement rendered the case exceptional and justified the award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
Finally, the Court denied WBIP’s motion to reconsider the refusal to grant a permanent injunction, and granted WBIP’s motion for an ongoing royalty, using the 13.5% royalty rate selected by the jury.