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Judge Scanlon Provides Guidance for Patent Holders Seeking Default Judgment

You are a patent holder seeking default judgment against an infringer.  What requirements must you meet to obtain default judgment, damages, attorneys’ fees, and pre-judgment interest?  Magistrate Judge Scanlon recently articulated those requirements in a patent case involving drinking glasses with built-in cigar holders.  See Godinger Silver Art Ltd. v. Shenzen Tangson Houseware Co., 21-CV-2674, 2023 BL 35860, at *3–13 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 31, 2023).

As an initial matter, Judge Scanlon noted that a patent holder must strictly comply with Rule 55.2 of the Local Civil Rules in the Eastern District of New York.  Under Rule 55.2, a plaintiff moving for default judgment must mail its motion-for-default-judgment papers to the party against whom default judgment is sought, and file proof of mailing.  Id. at *5.  Because Plaintiff Godinger Silver Art Ltd. (“Godinger”) did not initially file proof of mailing, the court ordered Godinger to comply with the local rule.  Id.  Godinger eventually complied, resulting in Judge Scanlon’s recommendation to grant default judgment with respect to Godinger’s patent-infringement claim.  Id. at *6–7.

To obtain damages following default judgment, the court explained, a plaintiff must “select the theory on which it seeks damages—lost profits or lost royalties.”  Id. at *12.  Godinger did not do so.  Id.  Additionally, although Godinger requested that the court determine the amount of damages, it did not indicate what evidence the court should consider.  Id.

Regarding attorneys’ fees, Judge Scanlon noted that although the Second Circuit has not addressed whether a default constitutes an “exceptional case” supporting an award of attorneys’ fees, district courts have concluded that a default alone is not “exceptional.”  Id. at *11.  Godinger did not “identify any factor aside from [the defendant’s] default that could qualify this as an exceptional case.”  Id. at *12.

Finally, the court explained that to obtain pre-judgment interest, a plaintiff must specify the time period of infringement and the requested rate of interest.  Id. at *13.  Godinger did not provide those details either.  Id.

Judge Scanlon’s report and recommendation, which is pending before the district judge, provides helpful guidance for patentees seeking default judgment, damages, attorneys’ fees, and pre-judgment interest.