CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge denied Sears Roebuck’s request for a new trial in a trademark infringement case and ordered Sears to pay more than $21 million in damages to RRK Holding Co.
RRK claimed Sears misappropriated its trade secret by disclosing RRK’s next-generation power tool. A jury found Sears guilty on Nov. 19, 2007.
The $21 million award, which included $8 million in punitive damages, was entered on Nov. 27. Sears filed for judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative a new trial, on the awarded damages that it claimed were excessive.
Sears claimed RRK offered insufficient evidence that Sears’ alleged trade secret misappropriation caused its damages; that RRK’s expert failed to limit the period for calculating damages to any “head start” period; that RRK’s expert’s opinions were the product of unreliable methodology and unreasonable assumptions; that RRK failed to apportion profits to just those associated with Sears’ alleged unlawful conduct; and that RRK’s lost profits damages were cut off as a matter of law in July 2002 when Dremel entered the market with a competing rotary cutting tool/plunge base product.
But Judge David H. Coar disagreed and wrote, “Evidence that Defendant sold the
combination tool shortly after the design was shared confidentially under a non-disclosure agreement to Defendant’s employees is sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that there was misappropriation. Taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, there is a legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find that the Plaintiff’s lost profit was the result of the misappropriation of the combination concept, and not simply based on a lower price.”