Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., No. 14-1856 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Romag sells patented magnetic snap fasteners under its registered trademark. Fossil designs, markets, and distributes fashion accessories, including small leather goods, manufactured by independent businesses. In 2002, the companies entered into an agreement for use of ROMAG fasteners in Fossil products. Fossil instructed its authorized manufacturers to purchase ROMAG fasteners from Romag licensee Wing Yip. Fossil’s authorized manufacturer, Superior, purchased tens of thousands of ROMAG fasteners from Wing Yip from 2002-2008. In 2008-2010, Superior purchased substantially fewer fasteners. In 2010, Romag discovered that certain Fossil handbags contained counterfeit fasteners. Romag sued, alleging patent infringement, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and violation of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Romag sought a preliminary injunction on November 23, three days before “Black Friday,” the highest-volume U.S. shopping day. The motion was granted on November 30. In 2014, a jury found Fossil liable; awarded a reasonable royalty of $51,052.14 for patent infringement; and, for trademark infringement, made an advisory award of $90,759.36 of Fossil’s profits under an unjust enrichment theory, and $6,704,046.00 of profits under a deterrence theory. Despite its deterrence award, the jury found that infringement was not willful. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that Romag’s delay in bringing suit until just before “Black Friday” constituted laches, its reduction of the reasonable royalty award by 18%, and its holding that Romag was not entitled to an award of profits because the infringement was not willful.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 12, 2016.