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Woods v DeAngelo - 8-81579-Flsd

Woods v DeAngelo - 8-81579-Flsd

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Published by: woodypollack on Jul 02, 2010
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07/02/2010

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDACASE NO. 08-81579-CIV-HURLEY/HOPKINSWOODROW WOODS, et al.,Plaintiffs,vs.DEANGELO MARINE EXHAUST, INC.,Defendant. _______________________________________/ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS’MOTION FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTIONTHIS CAUSE
is before the court upon plaintiffs’ motion to amend or alter final judgmentto include a permanent injunction [DE # 253]. For the reasons given below, the court will grant in part plaintiffs’ motion.
BACKGROUND
This is a patent infringement case involving technology for marine exhaust systems. Plaintiff Woodrow Woods is the named inventor of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,740,670 and 6,035,633 (collectively,“the patents-in-suit”) and is the owner of Plaintiff Marine Exhaust Systems, Inc., the exclusivelicensee of the patents. Generally, the patents-in-suit teach the inward tapering of marine exhaust pipes, a design improvement that helps cool exhaust gas and prevent water migration, thus preventing corrosion and engine failure.In December 2008, plaintiffs filed suit aginst Defendant DeAngelo Marine Exhaust, Inc.(“DeAngelo”), a competitor of plaintiffs. On April 21, 2010, a jury found that DeAngelo wilfullyinfringed the patents-in-suit and awarded plaintiffs $92,804.00 in damages. The parties filed a series
Case 9:08-cv-81579-DTKH Document 260 Entered on FLSD Docket 06/30/2010 Page 1 of 6
 
2of post-trial motions, which the court denied on June 3, 2010. The court entered final judgment onJune 8, 2010. The same day, plaintiffs filed the instant motion to amend final judgment and for  permanent injunction.
DISCUSSION
 A.Timeliness of Motion
DeAngelo first argues that plaintiffs’ motion should be denied as untimely, since it was filedafter entry of judgment and more than six weeks after the conclusion of trial. Although the courtagrees that plaintiffs should have filed this motion earlier, plaintiffs’ slight delay in moving for injunctive relief does not warrant denying the motion as untimely, given that the “principal value”of the patents-in-suit is the “statutory right to exclude.”
 Honeywell Int'l, Inc. v. Universal AvionicsSys. Corp.,
397 F.Supp.2d 537, 546 (D.Del. 2005). In addition, DeAngelo has not shown thatconsideration of the motion at this time would result in unfair prejudice. Thus, the court proceedsto analyze the merits of plaintiffs’ motion.
 B. Motion for Permanent Injunction
Section 283 of the Patent Act provides that district courts “may grant injunctions inaccordance with the principles of equity to prevent the violation of any right secured by patent, onsuch terms as the court deems reasonable.” 35 U.S.C. 283. Under “well-established principles of equity, . . . plaintiff[s] seeking a permanent injunction must satisfy a four-factor test before a courtmay grant such relief.”
eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C.
, 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006). They must prove:(1) that [they have] suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law,such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that,considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff[s] and defendant, a remedy
Case 9:08-cv-81579-DTKH Document 260 Entered on FLSD Docket 06/30/2010 Page 2 of 6
 
DeAngelo argues that plaintiffs face no threat of future infringement, because it has
1
voluntarily ceased its infringing activities. However, “[w]hile cessation of unlawful conduct mayrender a request for injunctive relief moot, the [defendant must show that the reform is] irrefutableand total.”
See Funai Elec. Co., Ltd. v. Daewoo Elecs. Corp.,
593 F.Supp.2d 1088, 1109-10 (N.D.3in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
 Id.
The determination of whether to “grant or deny permanent injunctive relief is an act of equitablediscretion by the district court .”
 Id.
In
eBay
, the Supreme Court cautioned against the application of set rules and assumptionsin the analysis of whether to grant an injunction.
 Id.
at 1840. Nonetheless, “[c]ourts awarding permanent injunctions typically do so under circumstances where plaintiff practices its invention andis a direct market competitor.”
See TruePosition v. Andrew Corp.
, 568 F.Supp.2d 500, 531 (D.Del.2008);
 see Smtih & Nephew, Inc. v. Arthrex, Inc.
, 2010 WL 2522428, at * 2 (E.D. Tex June 18,2010) (“The best case for obtaining a permanent injunction often occurs when the plaintiff anddefendant are competing in the same market. In that context, the harm in allowing the defendant tocontinue infringing is the greatest.”).In this case, plaintiffs face irreparable harm if DeAngelo is not enjoined from making andselling products that infringe the patents-in-suit. The parties are direct competitors in the market for marine exhaust products and, as a result, future infringing sales by DeAngelo would cause plaintiffsto lose sales and customers, thus reducing plaintiffs’ market share and improving DeAngelo’sgoodwill and reputation, to the detriment of plaintiffs.Monetary damages alone are inadequate to compensate plaintiffs for the irreparable harmcaused by DeAngelo’s infringement. While the jury awarded plaintiffs damages for pastinfringement, the threat of future infringement remains. As discussed above, the parties compete
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Case 9:08-cv-81579-DTKH Document 260 Entered on FLSD Docket 06/30/2010 Page 3 of 6

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