Patent and trade dress infringement litigation

Ateliers de la Haute-Garonne and F2C2 Systems SAS (AGH)

A jury in the US District Court for the District of Delaware returned a verdict in favor of our client Ateliers de la Haute-Garonne and its fully owned subsidiary F2C2 Systems SAS (AHG), in a case alleging patent infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage against German rival Broetje Automation and its American subsidiary Broetje Automation USA.

The jury awarded $9 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages. As the jury determined that Broetje’s patent and trade dress infringements were willful, AHG will also be moving for treble damages and attorney fees.  All of Broetje’s defenses were rejected by the jury.

This suit arose after Broetje purchased AHG’s unique and distinctive rivet dispensing system, used in the aircraft assembly process and for which AHG holds two US patents. Using AHG’s patented design and trade dress, AHG alleged that Broetje unlawfully and intentionally created a virtually identical version that it claimed was its own. In AHG’s 2009 suit against Broetje, the Delaware Federal District Court initially agreed with the defendant that AHG’s claims were invalid on grounds that AHG had failed to disclose the best mode for practicing the invention, as required under US patent law. In May 2013, our attorneys achieved a reversal of this ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appeals court agreed with Intellectual Property Partner and lead AHG counsel, Scott Lindvall, that AHG inventors had sufficiently disclosed the best mode.

“We are immensely grateful to finally have this matter behind us. From a damages perspective, our lead counsel Scott Lindvall secured a complete victory for us. As we are a family owned business fighting a much larger company that we believe intentionally stole our design, this win is particularly meaningful and a total vindication for our company,” said Mr. Jean-Marc Auriol, AHG’s President and General Manager.

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