14 July 2017Trademarks

Walmart ordered to pay $1.6m fees in TM infringement case

Walmart has been ordered to pay $1.6 million in attorneys’ fees after being successfully sued for trademark infringement by Variety Stores over its ‘Backyard Grill’ range of grills and accessories.

The ruling comes after a complaint in April 2014 by Variety Stores, which owns a number of chains such as PoundWorld and FamilyDollar.

It claimed that use of the ‘Backyard Grill’ mark was done with the intent to infringe the Variety-owned ‘Backyard’ marks, or “at a minimum was wilfully blind to Variety’s trademark rights”.

Variety was seeking injunctive relief, damages, a transfer of profits derived from the alleged infringement and all court costs.

In December 2016, the company was awarded over $30 million, which was calculated to be the overall profits derived from the infringement.

But the request for damages was denied and is currently being appealed.

On July 7, the request for attorneys’ fees was granted by US District Judge Terrence Boyle.

“Walmart decided to use the Backyard mark despite being twice warned by its own attorneys not to do so and despite being aware of Variety's trademark registration,” he stated.

“This case presents a particular need for compensation and deterrence. The question then becomes what fees are reasonable to award. This court has the discretion to determine the amount of a fee award.”

According to the judge, the fees were calculated by multiplying the number of hours taken by an hourly fee, which brought the total to $1,554,028.45 in court fees and $136,593.68 in other costs.

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