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

Court Rules That Willfulness Not Required to Prove Damages Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)

In a January 20, 2014 ruling, Judge Donald E. Walter ruled that the willfulness requirement for the recovery of damages under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) does not apply to claims arising under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Judge Walter wrote: “The issue of damages is controlled by the 1999 Amendment to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). The court can only presume that Congress knew what it was doing in drafting in the disjunctive the willfulness requirement of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c).” Since the Court had already dismissed the claims under § 1125(c) and only the § 1125(a) claim remained, the Court concluded that “the willfulness requirement does not apply,” and so “no evidence of willfulness need to be proven.”
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