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Banjo Buddies, Inc. v. Renosky

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
399 F.3d 168 (2005)


Facts

Banjo Buddies, Inc. (BBI) (plaintiff) sold a successful fishing lure called the Banjo Minnow. Joseph Renosky (defendant) was on BBI’s board of directors and sold the Banjo Minnow through his own company, Renosky Lures, Inc. (RLI). Renosky came up with a “new and improved” Banjo Minnow that he called the Bionic Minnow. Renosky presented the idea to the BBI board, but the board took no action. Renosky developed and began selling the Bionic Minnow independently, through RLI. BBI sued Renosky for false designation of origin. The district court ruled in favor of BBI and awarded it the net profits of the Bionic Minnow. Renosky submitted an independent financial analysis that reported the Bionic Minnow’s total sales but concluded that the Bionic Minnow had suffered a net loss. The court rejected the report’s net-loss conclusion because the reported costs and deductions were not detailed and because the court determined that the reported loss of almost $500,000 was not credible. The court estimated the Bionic Minnow’s profits at 16 percent, in line with other RLI products. Renosky appealed, arguing, among other things, that the court could not disgorge his profits without a finding of willful infringement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roth, J.)

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