Lexion Medical, LLC v. Northgate Techs., Inc., No. 04 C 5705, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 29, 2007).*
Judge Rosenbaum (a visiting judge, who is the Chief Judge for the District of Minnesota) granted in part plaintiff’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) and 60(a) motion to alter or amend the judgment, altering the judgment to include all post-verdict sales of infringing product. The court held a trial in October 2006 resulting in a jury verdict that defendants’ insufflator (a device that blows a powder, gas or vapor into a body cavity) infringed plaintiff’s patent, but that the infringement was not willful. The Court entered judgment in February 2007. Shortly after the judgment, defendant Northgate Technologies (“Northgate”) informed plaintiff that after the verdict, but before the judgment was entered, Northgate sold its remaining inventory. Plaintiff sought damages for the post-verdict sales and argued that the Court should find the post-verdict sales willful and declare the case exceptional. The Court held that the post-verdict sales infringed the patent, but that they were not willful because Northgate received an oral opinion of counsel prior to shipping any post-verdict product. The oral opinion was based upon three factors: 1) a belief that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable; 2) the fact that the Court had not yet entered a permanent injunction; and 3) Northgate’s post-trial arguments that were pending before the Court. The Court noted that the second factor could not support Northgate’s decision. But the remaining justifications were not “so flawed as to alert Northgate to reject [the oral opinion] as ‘obviously bad legal advice.”
But because Northgate’s decision to sell infringing product post-verdict “needlessly multiplied” the case, the Court held that the post-verdict sales were exception and awarded plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs incurred by the post-verdict sales motion. Additionally, the Court entered a permanent injunction.
*You can read the opinion here.