The case of Romag Fasteners v. Fossil is scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court of the United States during the court's October 2019-2020 term. At issue is whether, under the Lanham Act, willfulness is a prerequisite for an award of the infringer’s profits. Under the current landscape, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits have held that willfulness is not an absolute requirement in order for the plaintiff to recover profits. On the other hand, the Second, Ninth, Tenth, and District of Columbia Circuits have disagreed, stating that a willfulness finding is required in order to award the infringer’s profits to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling on the issue will potentially resolve the sharply divided circuit split, and provide trademark owners a clearer roadmap in terms of damages and financial recovery following a finding of infringement.
Supreme Court Set to Decide When Trademark Infringers May Be Required to Turn Over ProfitsWritten by Jonathan Woodard
Mr. Woodard represents clients in Intellectual Property Litigation. He also has International Law experience, having clerked for the General Counsel of the International Fund in Rome, Italy. Mr. Woodard obtained his law degree, cum laude, from Florida A&M College of Law, where he served as an editor on the law review. He earned his bachelor’s degree from King College as a recipient of a full academic/athletic scholarship as member of the varsity basketball team.