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Judge Sleet on Civil Contempt

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Civil contempt. Not an issue that comes up frequently in patent litigation, but something the District of Delaware has shown it will take very seriously. The Court in Fisher-Price, Inc. v. Safety 1st, Inc., found that even inadvertent or insignificant sales of an infringing product will not excuse a violation of a court-ordered injunctive order. C.A. No. 01-051-GMS, Memorandum, at 5-6 (D. Del. May 5, 2008). Furthermore, when an injunctive order requires a party to “make every reasonable effort possible” to retrieve infringing products from retail shelves, the Court found that hiring another company to retrieve the products did constitute “reasonable effort”, however, inconsistent behavior with different retailers and delayed retrieval efforts will not constitute “reasonable effort”. Id. at 6-7.

See a copy of the opinion here.

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