Man Wah to pay over $100m in damages after losing design case

Chinese furniture manufacturer Man Wah Holdings has lost a design infringement case where it was accused of stealing a cupholder design that also posed a threat to consumer safety.

The trial took place at Milwaukee Federal Building and US Courthouse in downtown Milwaukee under US Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph.

It is alleged that Man Wah stole Raffel Systems LLC patented light-up cupholder design that allows for it to be integrated into furniture like sofas and recliners.

Man Wah, a customer of Raffel Systems, then sold products with defective knockoff cupholders that posed a threat to consumer safety, the court heard.

Raffel Systems filed four claims against Man Wah which included trade infringement, misappropriation, false patent marking and patent infringement.

The trial concluded with the jury awarding Raffel Systems $97.5m in punitive damages and $6.9m in actual damages, while there could be further damages and attorney fees awarded.

The verdict brings to a close the four-year legal battle that saw Raffel first file a lawsuit back in November 2018. This was disputed by Man Wah who claimed that Raffel’s patents were invalid due to ‘its failure to list as a co-inventor a former Raffel employee that Man Wah paid $60,000’.

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