Precision Fabrics Group, Inc. v. Tietex International, Ltd. (Jury Verdict March 8, 2018)

Precision Fabrics (“PFG”) lost its patent infringement case against competitor Tietex. The jury found that Tietex did not infringe the two patents in suit.  South Carolina District Judge Schroeder rendered judgment in favor of Defendant Tietex just one day after the jury verdict.  The week before trial, Judge Schroeder had disallowed untimely-provided non-infringing substitute considerations.  Months before, the judge granted in part and denied in part multiple motions in limine regarding lost profits.  His opinions are interesting in that they are well referenced and very specific.

In an order issued in late February, Judge Schroeder granted in part PFG’s Motion to Strike Tietex’s Supplemental Interrogatory Response.  Citing to Ziilabs v. Samsung, the judge denied the motion for products “whose sales are referenced in Dr. Alford’s expert report or deposition testimony, but otherwise granted as to other non-infringing alternatives sold by competitors apart from PFG and Tietex.”

In the earlier order on motions to strike, Tietex sought to preclude Joel Wacek’s opinions on lost profits.  Mr. Wacek opined that the market for the infringing mattress fabric was divided into high-end and low-end products; and that PFG would have captured 100% of the high-end market, 90% of the low-end market, and 100% of sales to A. Lava & Sons (a purchaser of low-end product).  The judge found all of these percentages grounded in a relatively sparse, but sufficiently acceptable measure of evidence, except for those sales to A. Lava & Sons.  Citing to BIC Leisure Products, the court granted the motion to strike use of 100% lost profits for A. Lava & Sons based upon the existence and availability of non-infringing substitutes.

Finally, PFG sought to exclude the opinions of Dr. Charles Alford on lost profits.  Dr. Alford opined that the percentages relied upon by Mr. Wacek were wrong. The judge decided to reserve judgment on this motion until after he heard Dr. Alford’s testimony.

The attached orders provide many interesting case citations.  Ultimately, Judge Schroeder determined that if there was some evidence (albeit, weak), that made the damages expert’s opinion admissible.