Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Trademarks
  • Date Filed: April 23, 2020
  • Case #: 18-1233
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: GORSUCH, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, GINSBURG, BREYER, ALITO, KAGAN, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.
  • Full Text Opinion

The Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1117(a), does not require findings of willful conduct to order an award of profits for trademark infringement.

Petitioner and Respondent entered into an agreement for sale of Petitioner’s metal fasteners to be used in Respondent’s products.  After discovering that counterfeit fasteners were being used in Respondent’s factories, Petitioner sued for trademark infringement, alleging that Respondent falsely advertised their fasteners as Petitioner’s brand.  The jury found for Petitioner, but declined to award profits, finding Respondent’s actions lacked the requisite willfulness under 15 U.S.C. §1117(a).  On appeal, the Supreme Court held that willful action is not required to order an award of profits.  The Court reaffirmed the text of the Lanham Act, which provides for mens rea conditions elsewhere in the Act, but does not state a willfulness requirement, by the defendant, for the award of profits.  VACATED AND REMANDED

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