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Friday, 27 February 2004

HALLMARK TAKES A BOW

Findlaw reports that US District Judge Dean Whipple has spared Hallmark Cards Inc the need to cough up $8.9 million damages by invalidating the patents of a British company, Group One. Infringement damages were ordered by a jury after it found that Hallmark infringed patents on a machine that curled and cascaded ribbon for decorating gift packages. Group One plans to appeal.

The IPKat notes that non-US litigants often complain that juries have no place in patent trials and that the use of juries in the US causes bias against foreign companies locked in litigation against American ones. This case gives the lie to those allegations, being quite the other way round: it was the all-American jury that found in favour of the foreign patentee while the judge came to the rescue of the US defendant.

Juries in action in US patent trials here, here and here
Alleged anti-foreigner bias of US juries here and here
Other ways of getting $8.9 million here, here and here

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