Slashed Damages Lead to New Trial in Patent Case

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The winner of a patent infringement case should get a new trial on damages, because the district court slashed his award from $1.3 million to $55,000, the Court of Federal Claims ruled.




     The trial court ruled that Polaris Industries had infringed on Floyd Minks’ patent for an electronic governor system for internal combustion engines. The system teaches an all-terrain vehicle to slow down when it goes in reverse.
     The trial court awarded Minks $1.3 million, but the district court cut that amount to $27,904 before doubling the total to reflect the willful nature of Polaris’ conduct.
     Judge Gajarsa wrote that Minks deserved a new trial under the Reexamination Clause of the Seventh Amendment.
     “The Supreme Court has long interpreted the Seventh Amendment as requiring that the exercise of a district court’s discretion to set aside an excessive jury award be accompanied by an offer of a new trial,” Gajarsa wrote.

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