Maxwell v. J. Baker, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
86 F.3d 1098 (1996)
Susan Maxwell (plaintiff) invented a system of attaching pairs of shoes together for sale in retail stores. The system consisted of loops secured inside each shoe and connected by a filament. Maxwell secured a patent for the system in November 1986. Maxwell instructed her licensee, Target, to mark the patent number on all shoes incorporating the system, as required by 35 U.S.C. § 287(a). Target failed to consistently mark the shoes, and Maxwell notified Target’s manufacturers. Thereafter, Target agreed to comply with the marking requirement fully by November 1987. At various times after November 1987, Maxwell notified Target whenever she found errors with the markings and requested corrections. J. Baker, Inc. (Baker) (defendant), a shoe retailer, instructed its manufacturers to utilize a shoe attachment system similar to the system disclosed in Maxwell’s patent. Maxwell sued Baker for infringement. A jury concluded that Maxwell was entitled to damages as of November 1987, when Baker was on notice of infringement based on Maxwell’s compliance with the patent marking requirements. Baker moved for judgment as a matter of law, contending that Maxwell had not fully complied with the marking requirements as of November 1987 because at least 5 percent of the millions of shoes sold by Target were not properly marked. The district court denied the motion. Baker appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)
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