A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Awards $15,000 in Statutory Damages for Trademark Infringement

In a January 29, 2014 ruling, Judge Robert W. Sweet entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs Debra Schatzki and BPP Wealth, Inc. in their trademark infringement action against defendant Weiser Capital Management, LLC and others after a bench trial. BPP owns the registered service mark “Building, Protecting and Preserving Wealth for Generations,” as well as other marks. The Court found that the “evidence establishes that [Weiser Capital] incorporated BPP’s service marks into its website and promotional materials during Schatzki’s tenure at [Weiser Capital] and continued to incorporate BPP’s service marks into its website and promotional materials for six weeks after Schatzki’s termination.” Judge Sweet wrote that given “the totality of the evidence, [Weiser Capital] did infringe on Plaintiff’s service marks.” Noting that the plaintiffs elected statutory damages, the Court ruled that “given the totality of the circumstances surrounding the use of the service marks by Defendants, including the circumstances of Schatzki’s termination by [Weiser Capital] and role at [Weiser Capital] prior to her termination and that the service marks were ultimately removed from the website and promotional materials” a $15,000 award is appropriate.

In a follow up February 18, 2014 ruling, Judge Sweet declined to award prejudgment interest on the statutory trademark damages award.  Judge Sweet acknowledged that prejudgment interest would be permissible, but is typically awarded for "willful conduct or bad faith and 'exceptional' circumstances."  The Court found that the plaintiffs had not show willful misconduct or bad faith at trial, and so were not entitled to an award of prejudgment interest.
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