Byron Bilicki

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Douglas Dynamics v. Meyer Products v. Truck-Lite

Douglas Dynamics v. Meyer Products v. Truck-Lite Co., Inc., Northern District of Ohio

  • Represented third-party Defendant alleged to have sold an allegedly infringing product to Defendant charged with patent infringement
  • Prior to the start of discovery, all parties agreed to mediation
  • A delicate twist to this case, and the mediation process, in particular, was that our client wanted to maintain business relationships with both Plaintiff and Defendant, in terms of the manufacture and sale of snow plow lighting kits, while at the same time extricating itself from the litigation.  Plaintiff and Defendant are fierce competitors
  • In preparing for the mediation hearing, we discovered evidence of the patent’s unenforceability, in the form of a patent license agreement between Plaintiff and a third-party, which unlawfully sought to extend the term of the patent-in-suit.  We armed the defendant with the unenforceability agreement for purposes of the mediation, while we defended our client’s design and raised doubts about the strength of Plaintiff’s infringement case
  • Our client settled out at the mediation hearing for an amount within its stated success criteria, (as defined by its parent’s board of directors) $50,000, including attorneys fees, and business potential with both Plaintiff and Defendant.  Plaintiff and Defendant are still litigating.

Douglas Dynamics sued Meyer Products for patent infringement in federal court in Ohio, in connection with Meyer Products’ sale of wiring harnesses. Meyer Products, in turn, sued Truck-Lite  for breach of the implied warranty of non-infringement on account of Truck-Lite’s sale of allegedly infringing harnesses to Meyer Products. Following the filing of answers to the complaints, the Court ordered the parties to participate in a mandatory Early Neutral Evaluation (ie, non-binding mediation). After agreeing on a mediator, selected from a list provided by the Court, the parties submitted position papers (setting forth their detailed factual and legal positions on liability and damages) and settlement positions to the mediator.

The mediator convened a meeting of the parties’ negotiating principals and their lawyers. Following presentations by the lawyers, the mediator engaged in one on one sessions with each party of the course of a day. At the end of the day, Meyer Products and Truck-Lite settled their part of the case (ie, Truck-Lite agreed to pay a small lump sum payment to Meyer Products, in exchange for a release from Douglas Dynamics and Meyer Products from all liability on account of its manufacture and sale of the accused wiring harness).  A comprehensive settlement agreement was negotiated, drafted, and finalized. Douglas Dynamics and Meyer Products did not settle their dispute, and continued to litigate thereafter.