Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 9:51 AM

Simmons/Leggett & Platt Hit With $5 Million Damages Award

On January 24, 2012, a jury in the United States District Court for the Central District of California returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff Imaginal Systematic, LLC against Simmons Bedding Company and Leggett & Platt, Inc. for infringement of three patents owned by Imaginal Systematic.  The court had already entered summary judgment of infringement of at least one claim of each patent.  The trial was held to determine willfulness and defendants' equitable defenses.

The Imaginal Systematic patents concern machines and processes that automate "the toughest job in the bedding factory" (Imaginal's Trial Brief at 2), the stapling of the wire portion of a box spring to a wood frame.  Imaginal's case was based on the defendants misappropriating the patented technology after the inventor disclosed a version to Leggett & Platt, who turned his offer down but allegedly later developed its own version of the machinery.

Interestingly, the unredacted jury verdict form is not publicly available.  The redacted jury verdict form merely states that defendants are liable for $5 million in damages (with Simmons responsible for $3 million).  Although the jury verdict forms are redacted, it can be assumed that the jury found willful infringement and the court rejected defendants' equitable defenses.

Imagainal Systematic was represented by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.  Simmons Bedding and Leggett & Platt were represented by Haynes & Boone LLP.  The case is Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-07416-RGK-SS (C.D. Cal.).


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