Ohio Court Refuses to Throw out Verdict That Exceeded a Reasonable Royalty Rate to Which the Parties Had Stipulated
On January 3, 2011, Judge Nugent of the Northern District of Ohio issued an opinion upholding a jury’s damages verdict in which the jury’s royalty rate exceeded the rate to which the plaintiff and defendant had stipulated was a reasonable rate. Bendix Commercial Vehicle, Systems, LLC v. Haldex Brake Products Corp., Case No. 1:09 CV 176 (N.D. Ohio, Jan. 3, 2011). The parties had stipulated that a reasonable royalty rate would be 4%. At trial, the jury found compensatory damages of $100,000, which was apparently greater than the amount the jury would have awarded had they used the agreed-on 4% royalty rate (though the opinion is not clear as to whether the jury used a different rate or simply awarded a $100,000 lump sum for damages). The defendant filed a JMOL motion asking the court to set aside the verdict because the jury should have been bound by the 4% rate. The court denied the motion. Its reasoning is interesting.