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3m Company, A Delaware Corporation, and 3m Innovative Properties v. Pradeep Mohan

January 19, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ann D. Montgomery United States District Judge




This matter is before the undersigned United States District Court Judge on Defendant Pradeep Mohan's ("Defendant") Motion for New Trial [Docket No. 211] and Plaintiffs 3M Company ("3M Co.") and 3M Innovative Properties Company's ("3M IPC") (collectively, "3M") request for attorneys fees and costs [Docket No. 214]. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is denied, and 3M's Motion is granted in part and denied in part. The Court finds 3M's counsel is entitled to an award of $838,000 in attorneys fees.


The factual and procedural background of this litigation is set forth in the Court's previous orders and will not be repeated here. See Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment, November 24, 2010 [Docket No. 209], 3M Co. v. Mohan, No. 09-1413, 2010 WL 5095676, *1-33 (D. Minn. Nov. 24, 2010) ("Findings of Fact"); see Memorandum Opinion and Order, August 9, 2010 [Docket No. 151], 3M Co. v. Mohan, No. 09-1413, 2010 WL 3200052, *1-9 (D. Minn. Aug. 9 2010) ("SJ Order"). In summary, 3M sells stethoscopes under the LITTMANN brand. 3M obtained federal trademark registration for marks used and associated with the LITTMANN brand, including the word marks (1) MASTER CARDIOLOGY and (2) CARDIOLOGY III. In addition, 3M owns U.S. Patent No. 5,449,865 ("the '865 patent") for a type of stethoscope ear tips. Defendant sells stethoscopes over the internet on, and, and his company websites, including

On June 16, 2009, 3M filed this action asserting that Mohan's online sales and advertising activities constituted trademark and patent infringement. Mohan counterclaimed for antitrust, unfair competition, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, and deceptive trade practices. Ruling on 3M's partial motion for summary judgment [Docket No. 122], the Court determined that: 1) 3M IPC's '865 patent for ear tips was valid and infringed; 2) 3M's MASTER CARDIOLOGY and CARDIOLOGY III trademarks were valid, suggestive, and entitled to trademark protection; and 3) Defendant's counterclaims were dismissed.*fn1 See SJ Order. On November 24, 2010, after a four-day court trial, the Court ruled that the credible evidence adduced at trial proved Defendant infringed 3M's MASTER CARDIOLOGY and CARDIOLOGY III marks. See Findings of Fact. The Court further ruled that Defendant's infringement of the two marks at issue (as well as his conduct with respect to other LITTMANN-related marks) was purposeful, egregious, and aimed at appropriating the goodwill associated with the LITTMANN brand for Defendant's financial gain. The credible evidence also proved that broad injunctive relief was warranted with respect to the MASTER CARDIOLOGY mark, the CARDIOLOGY III mark, and the '865 patent. Finally, the Court awarded 3M reasonable attorneys fees and denied 3M's claim for statutory damages as constitutionally barred. Id.


A. Defendant's Motion for a New Trial and to Amend the Judgment Defendant's motion requests a new trial or, alternatively, that the Court amend the judgment against him. The decision whether to grant a new trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a) is committed to the discretion of the district court. Pulla v. Amoco Oil Co., 72 F.3d 648, 656 (8th Cir. 1995). "A new trial is required only when necessary to avoid a miscarriage of justice." Gearin v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 53 F.3d 216, 219 (8th Cir. 1994) (citing McKnight v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 36 F.3d 1396, 1400 (8th Cir. 1994)). "While the standard for granting a new trial is less than that for a judgment as a matter of law, a new trial shall be granted only to prevent injustice or when the verdict strongly conflicts with the great weight of evidence." Maxwell v. Baker, Inc., 160 F.R.D. 580, 581 (D. Minn. 1995). Similar to the standard for granting judgment as a matter of law, a district court reviewing a motion for a new trial is "not free to reweigh the evidence." Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Aalco Wrecking Co., Inc., 466 F.2d 179, 186 (8th Cir. 1972).

A motion to amend a judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) serves the "limited function of correcting manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted). A Rule 59(e) motion is not a vehicle to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments that could have been offered or raised before the Court entered judgment. Id.

Defendant has submitted forty-five pages of briefing in support of his motion. He raises more than thirty issues, essentially attempting to re-litigate not only the four-day court trial, but also much of the parties' extensive pre-trial motion practice. The Court will briefly address Defendant's main contentions. However, because the evidence adduced at trial overwhelmingly supported the verdict, Defendant fails to establish that a miscarriage of justice occurred warranting a new trial. See Larson v. Farmers Co-op. Elevator of Buffalo Center, Iowa, 211 F.3d 1089, 1095 (8th Cir. 2000) (stating miscarriage of justice occurs only when there is insufficient evidence to support the verdict).

Defendant first contends that a new trial is required because he was denied a jury trial in violation of the Seventh Amendment. It is well settled that the Seventh Amendment guarantees a trial by jury only where a plaintiff seeks legal relief (as opposed to equitable relief). See, e.g., Klein v. Shell Oil Co., 386 F. 2d 659, 662-63 (8th Cir. 1967). The injunctive relief sought by 3M is a classic equitable remedy. Defendant's constitutional right to a trial by jury on 3M's claim for statutory damages, a legal claim "intermingled" with 3M's equitable claims, was properly and expressly protected. See id. at 663; Findings of Fact at 55-60. The Court denied 3M statutory damages, ruling that a jury determination is required on the amount of statutory damages under the Lanham Act. *fn2 See Bar-Meir v. N. Am. Die Casting Ass'n, 55 Fed. Appx. 389, 390-91 (8th Cir. 2003) (per curiam); Findings of Fact at 55-60. As Defendant had no right to trial by jury on any of the claims for which the Court granted relief, he was not prejudiced. Thus, the adjudication of 3M's claims by a court trial is not grounds for a new trial.

Defendant also makes a variety of arguments to the effect that the judgment was incorrect, shocking, and biased. He attacks the admissibility of certain evidence, the exclusion of certain evidence, and the credibility of 3M's witnesses. Defendant also disagrees with many of the Court's central factual findings, arguing that his use of 3M's trademarks was "innocent" and that the Court improperly disregarded or devalued certain evidence, such as his feedback ratings. These arguments are simply an attempt to re-litigate the case and persuade the Court to reweigh the evidence. The Court declines to do so, especially given the overwhelming and well-documented evidence of Defendant's purposeful and continuing infringement. Defendant's defense consisted largely of unsupported accusations, irrelevant argument, and statements and exhibits lacking any sort of foundation (credible or otherwise). His motion for a new trial is more of the same, and does not establish that any injustice occurred.

Additionally, Defendant urges that a new trial must be granted because the Court allegedly did not resolve many "issues of law." The issues before the court at trial were clearly identified as whether Defendant infringed the MASTER CARDIOLOGY and CARDIOLOGY III trademarks, whether and what type of injunctive relief was appropriate for Defendant's trademark and patent infringement, and whether attorneys fees and statutory damages should be awarded. These issues were fully resolved. The issues Defendant claims are unresolved, including whether other 3M marks were valid or infringed and whether 3M's cease-and-desist letters were unlawful, were not before the Court. Strangely, Defendant claims that the issue of whether his use of 3M's marks constituted "fair use" remains unresolved. The Court's unequivocal finding ...

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