In an intellectual property decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois awarded Dimplex North America Limited U.S. $12.4 million in damages due to CFM Corporation’s willful infringement of a key Dimplex patent covering technology widely used in electric fireplaces and stoves, Dimplex announced.
Following a jury verdict that the patent under dispute was valid and that Ontario, Canada-based CFM should pay Dimplex $8.3 million for infringement of the patent, the trial judge awarded Dimplex an additional $4.1 million in enhanced damages based on the jury’s finding that CFM’s infringement had been willful. In addition to awarding damages, the court rejected CFM’s claim that the patent had been procured by inequitable conduct, Dimplex said.
“This is an important patent verdict for Dimplex and it sends a strong message to the industry as a whole,” said Paul Strain, one of the attorneys who tried the case. “After several unsuccessful attempts to buy the technology and then design around it, CFM decided to copy Dimplex’s invention, which has become the standard that others in the industry have sought to meet.
"The jury recognized the willful nature of CFM’s actions, which were taken to enable it to establish a credible position for itself in this market," Mr. Strain continued. "The trial judge in our view appropriately enhanced the jury’s damage award not only to punish CFM for its behavior, but also to deter such behavior by other potential infringers."
In the case, CFM, which also sells fireplaces under the Vermont Castings(R) brand, was found to have infringed Dimplex’s '580 Patent, which covers a technology used to simulate realistic flames in electric fireplaces and stoves and related devices. Dimplex uses the ‘580 Patent technology in four branded fireplace lines: electraflame(R), OptiFlame(R), Dimplex(R), and Symphony(R).
The company also has a separate lawsuit for infringement of the ‘580 Patent pending against Twin-Star International, Inc.
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