Fish & Richardson Wins Jury Verdict for Chamberlain Group

On August 30, 2017, a trial team co-led by Fish & Richardson and Winston & Strawn won a jury verdict of willful patent infringement for the Chamberlain Group (CGI), an industry leader in the garage door industry against Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd (TTI). The verdict followed an eight-day trial in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois. The jury found that Hong Kong-based TTI, the parent company to brands Ryobi, Milwaukee, Hoover, Oreck and others, willfully infringed two of CGI’s patents.

One of the infringed patents related to core garage door open connectivity technology, the inventor of which is one of Chicago’s most prolific inventors, Jim Fitzgibbon, and the other patent covered the use of a battery from power tools as a back-up battery for garage door openers. The jury awarded CGI the full amount of damages, including lost profits.

With over 400 patents worldwide, CGI invests substantial resources into innovation around the areas of safety, security, and connectivity. Today’s garage door openers include decades of CGI’s innovations. Some of CGI's inventions include photo beams that prevent garage doors from harming people and pets by reversing the garage door upon detection of a person, an invention that is the industry standard and now legally mandated. The company also invented an encryption system that keeps garages so safe that many people use garage doors as the main home entry point with the house door unlocked. In recent years, CGI developed the MyQ Home Control app which allows homeowners to easily connect to their homes from anywhere with a smartphone.

The trial team was led by Fish principal Ben Elacqua, Winston Silicon Valley managing partner Kathi Vidal, and Winston partners George Lombardi and Michael Rueckheim. Winston associates Matt McCullough and Shanna Lehrman were also on the team. Susan Bell, general counsel of the Chamberlain Group, guided the litigation strategy from beginning to end.

"This was a hard-fought case and we are thrilled to deliver this win to our client," said Elacqua. "Chamberlain Group’s commitment to innovation in the industry is unmatched, from inventors to executives, and it was an honor to stand by their side along with my Fish and Winston colleagues."

"For all of us, both at Winston & Fish, working with the inventors and Chamberlain Group family made this very personal," said Vidal. "We were all humbled to help such an incredible company with family values from top down. We believe that justice was served."