A federal jury in Omaha has awarded a Beatrice manufacturer $14.4 million in damages in the retrial of a patent infringement case.
It's the second time the case has gone to trial. The first time, in 2015, a jury awarded Exmark Manufacturing $24.3 million
Exmark, which makes lawnmowers, alleged in a 2010 lawsuit that Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group was manufacturing mowers under the Ferris and Snapper Pro brand names that infringed on a patent for multi-blade mowers equipped with baffles between blades that allow the mower to be converted from a mulching to a side-discharge mower.
After the first trial, Briggs & Stratton appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found the trial judge had erred when he dismissed a Briggs & Stratton defense that the Exmark patent in question was not valid.
The 8th U.S. Circuit also threw out the damages award because it said an expert employed by Exmark did not provide an adequate explanation as to how she came up with a 5 percent royalty rate figure on which the jury relied in calculating damages.
The case was sent back to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, where a five-day trial started last week.
By then, it already had been determined that certain Briggs lawnmowers infringed on Exmark's patent, and Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon reaffirmed the earlier jury verdict finding Briggs's infringement was willful.
The question for the jury related only to damages.
Shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, after deliberating for about three hours, the jury returned with a verdict, awarding Exmark $14,380,062.24 to compensate it for Briggs' infringement.
A Briggs & Stratton spokesman declined to comment on the verdict.