William A Graham Co v. Thomas Haughey, et al, No. 10-2762 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
In 1991 defendant left his job with an insurance brokerage for one with competitor and took two binders of print material for use by the competitor. After discovering the infringement, the employer filed suit in 2005 under 17 U.S.C. 101. There were no actual damages; the court awarded $16,561,230 from the competitor and $2,297,397 from the employee, representing about 70 percent of the competitor's profits, and 75 percent of the employee's commissions. On remand, the district court found that the award was not excessive and awarded interest: $4,112,859 against the competitor and $570,542 against the employee. The Third Circuit affirmed. The amount does not "shock the conscience" and, although the statute does not refer to pre-judgment interest, the award is consistent with the Copyright Act. The court rejected an argument that interest should be calculated from the time the infringement was discovered. The date of a claim's accrual is not changed by tolling of the limitations period.