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Tool Company Wins $27.8 Million Patent Case

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 02, 2017 7:00 AM

Snap-on. Snap-off. The Snapper. Wait. Wrong product.

Snap-On got sued for patent infringement. Snap-On sued for patent infringement. Case on. Case off. A Judgment.

Sorry, but the jingle was more catchy than the story. It goes like this: Snap-On lost a $27.8 million judgment in a patent infringement case.

"Reasonable Royalty"

Milwaukee Tool filed a complaint against Snap-On Tools for using a patented lithium-ion batter in their products. A Wisconsin jury ruled that Snap-On infringed on the Milwaukee company's patents.

According to court documents, the jury awarded $27.8 as a reasonable royalty for infringement of three patents. The plaintiff said it will continue to sue infringers.

"The introduction of Lithium-Ion technology to the professional power tool industry was groundbreaking and resulted in multiple patents for our company that we continue to aggressively defend," a spokesperson said.

The case took three years to get to trial in the U.S. Eastern District of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Tool recently sued eight other companies related to its intellectual property.

"Substantially Identical"

Meanwhile, Snap-On recently settled a separate patent dispute. The company sued Harbor Freight in California for selling floor-jacks that were "substantially identical in shape and appearance."

The plaintiff claimed that sales of the knock-off, which sold for less than half the Snap-On price, amounted to patent and trade dress infringement as well as unfair competition. The defendant cross-complained, saying Snap-On used misleading advertising to stifle competition.

The case was cruising toward trial, but the parties stipulated to dismiss all claims with prejudice. The settlement terms were confidential.

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