Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. v. Holland L.P., No. 16-2297 (Fed. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Georgetown’s patent relates to a system for inspecting the steel tie plates that connect rail tracks to wooden ties, using digital technology. Georgetown's Aurora System uses lasers and cameras mounted on a vehicle to collect and process information about track ties to allow customers to “manage the logistics of crosstie replacement.” Holland purchases track and crosstie measuring technologies from Rail Vision and places those technologies on its own track inspection "TrackStar" vehicles. Data from the track is sent to third-parties for processing. Rail Vision sends finished reports to Holland for distribution to Holland’s customers. Holland and Georgetown knew of each other’s place in the track-tie market. The companies participated in a “head-to-head challenge,” and demonstrated their services to potential customer Union Pacific. Following the demonstrations, Union Pacific and Holland agreed to alter an existing contract to allow Holland to provide Rail Vision Systems technology to Union Pacific. Georgetown sued Holland for infringement and was granted a preliminary injunction, ending Holland’s potential sales to Union Pacific. A jury found that Holland willfully infringed Georgetown's patent and awarded $1,541,333 in damages. The court awarded Georgetown an additional $1,000,000 in enhanced damages based on a finding of willful infringement, 35 U.S.C. 284. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Substantial evidence supports a finding that subjective recklessness led to willful infringement in this case.