The district court previously granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Red Carpet Studio (“Red Carpet”), finding that Defendants Midwest Trading Group Inc. (“MTG”), Walgreen Company and CVS Pharmacy Inc. infringed the patent-in-suit. The parties agreed that two issues remained: (1) determining the relevant “article of manufacture,” and (2) calculating the “total profit” on that article of manufacture. Red Carpet argued that the district court should decide the second issue without a jury because it seeks disgorgement of profits, which Red Carpet maintained is an equitable remedy with no right to a jury trial.
As the district court explained, determining a damages award under 35 U.S.C. § 289 “involves two steps. First, identify the ‘article of manufacture’ to which the infringed design has been applied. Second, calculate the infringer’s total profit made on that article of manufacture.” Samsung Elecs. Co. v. Apple Inc., 137 S.Ct. 429, 434, 196 L.Ed. 2d 363 (2016). The district court acknowledged that “neither the Court nor the parties were able to find authority which directly resolves the question of whether a jury or a judge must make this determination,” but concluded that “there [is] sample support for the conclusion that a claim for damages under § 289 is one for equitable relief.” Continue reading