Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BIC Leisure Products, Inc. v. Windsurfing International, Inc. case brief

BIC Leisure Products, Inc. v. Windsurfing International, Inc. case brief summary
1 F.3d 1214 (1993)

Plaintiffs appealed the order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York awarding defendants lost profits attributable to plaintiffs' infringement of defendants' patent. Defendants appealed the order denying their request for enhanced damages and attorney fees, and granting plaintiffs intervening rights.

Plaintiffs infringed defendants' reissue patent but were granted intervening rights. Defendants were awarded lost profits but not enhanced damages or attorney fees.


  • On appeal, the court reversed the award of lost profits because there was no causal relation between the infringement and defendants' loss of profits. 
  • Defendants could not establish that "but for" the infringement, they would have made plaintiffs' sales. 
  • The Panduit test for lost profits that was applied did not meet the "but for" test, a prerequisite for lost profits. 
  • Limiting defendants' damages by recognizing plaintiffs' intervening rights was proper since none of the infringed claims of the reissue patent were present in the original patent. 
  • Plaintiffs properly raised this defense during the damages trial since intervening rights addressed damages. 
  • There was no clear error in the denial of enhanced damages and attorney fees because defendants failed to establish the infringement was willful and the case exceptional.

The order awarding lost profits was reversed because defendants were unable to establish a causal relation between plaintiffs' infringement and loss of profits. The order denying enhanced damages and attorney fees was affirmed because there was no proof that infringement was willful and the case was exceptional. Recognition of plaintiffs' intervening rights was affirmed since it was timely raised during the damages trial.

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