Michael Best & Friedrich LLP secured a victory on behalf of its client Raffel Systems, LLC (Raffel), a global producer of electronic systems and components for furniture, last week when a federal jury found Chinese furniture maker, Man Wah Holdings, Ltd. and Man Wah (USA), Inc. (collectively, Man Wah) had infringed Raffel’s intellectual property rights in an integrated illuminated cup holder. The $100 million plus verdict is one of the largest ever in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The jury found that Man Wah was liable for willful trade dress infringement, misappropriation of trade dress, false patent marking and willful patent infringement. The jury awarded damages on all claims, found that Man Wah acted maliciously toward Raffel Systems and awarded the company $97.5 million in punitive damages.
Michael Best Partner John C. Scheller served as lead trial counsel to Raffel Systems. Scheller commented, “The jury verdict confirms that Man Wah’s actions were deliberate, coordinated and wrongful. This was – and is – a monumental win for all small American innovators. Raffel Systems is a modest, but thriving home-grown company from Wisconsin, and they successfully took on one of the largest global furniture manufacturers in the world to challenge their wrongful actions.”
"(Man Wah) did not expect us to go to fight like this and certainly not to go to trial," Scheller said. "But Raffel is very, very determined to do the right thing here ... most small companies wouldn't do this, frankly. ...Raffel believes that they need to stand up to this type of unfair competition and that's why we're here,” stated Scheller to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
In addition to Scheller, the Michael Best team representing Raffel Systems LLC included Kenneth M. Albridge III, Shane A. Brunner, Tanya M. Salman, Melanie J. Reichenberger, Brianna J. Siebken, and J. Ryan Gray.