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5 Years Later, Issues Still Linger in the St. Clair v. Fuji Digital Camera Patent Case

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Judge Farnan issued an opinion yesterday on a few lingering issues in the Fuji case. This is another St. Clair digital camera patent case; St. Clair received a $3 million dollar jury verdict in 2004 but its execution was stayed until recently due to a dispute over ownership of the patents. St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, Inc. v. Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., C.A. No. 03-241-JJF at 2 (D. Del. Nov. 19, 2009). The issues included:

  • No new trial due to improper exclusion of evidence: The Court reiterated (for the third time in this action) that it was proper to exclude (1) St. Clair’s $25 million verdict in the Sony case and (2) license agreements with other companies that have been sued by St. Clair on these patents, because “the danger of unfair prejudice to Fuji was substantial, particularly in light of the fact that damages and liability were being tried together.” Id. at 6.
  • Pre-judgment interest: Fuji disputed the award of pre-judgment interest in light of a pending appeal, and the fact that St. Clair delayed bringing suit; Judge Farnan disagreed, and granted both pre- and post-judgment interest. Id. at 10.
  • Selection of interest rate: Judge Farnan also disagreed with Fuji’s argument that the pre- and post-judgment interest rates should be based on the Treasury Bill Rate as opposed to the U.S. Prime Rate. Judge Farnan noted that, although the Court has used both rates at different times in the past, “the Prime Rate provides a better measure of the risk of nonpayment that St. Clair bore,” despite Fuji’s argument that St. Clair has already “recouped its investment [in the patents] many times over, [and] faces virtually no financial risk with respect to the . . . patents.” Id. at 11.
  • Interest calculated on pre-tax damages: The Court determined, based on Judge Robinson’s unsuccessful experience with after-tax damage calculations, that the interest rate should be calculated based on pre-tax damages.

St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, Inc. v. Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., C.A. No. 03-241-JJF at 2 (D. Del. Nov. 19, 2009)

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