Robins Kaplan Secures $42 Million Jury Verdict in Patent Infringement Trial

January 18, 2024

On January 17, 2024, a Robins Kaplan trial team led by Patrick Arenz obtained a $42.4 million verdict in favor of client Willis Electric. The verdict affirmed Willis Electric's claims that its competitor, Polygroup, had willfully infringed on its patent related to artificial Christmas tree lights. This is believed to be the largest patent jury verdict in the District of Minnesota history.

In 2010, the General Manager of Willis Electric invented and patented the One Plug Tree, which allowed users to assemble and light up an artificial Christmas tree with one plug in less than one minute. The following year, executives at Polygroup—Willis Electric’s biggest competitor and the world’s largest manufacturer of artificial Christmas trees—studied the One Plug Tree and released its version called Quick Set.  

Willis Electric filed a lawsuit against Polygroup in federal court in the District of Minnesota in August 2015. “After eight years of litigation, Willis Electric is thrilled that the jury vindicated its patented invention and held Polygroup accountable for its willful patent infringement,” Arenz said.

Willis Electric will now move forward with its request for enhanced damages, prejudgment interest, and an award of attorney’s fees.

The trial team included Emily Niles, Jessica Gutierrez, Brenda Joly, and Prateek Viswanathan

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