Raffel comments on Manwah Holdings’ order to pay more than $100M in patent infringement


UPDATE, 6-20-2022, 4:40 p.m.

Raffel Systems responded to Furniture Today with the following comment:

“Raffel pursued this case for one reason: the customer. Raffel, a small Wisconsin company focused on product development and innovation, fought one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world not for money, but because enough is enough,” said John Scheller, counsel for Raffel.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, for small American companies to stand up to foreign companies who do not respect our intellectual property. Manwah deliberately copied Raffel’s proprietary technology and sold thousands of cheap, defective knockoffs into the United States. Manwah did this in order to lower their cost and make more money. This was truly David vs. Goliath. It was a battle about integrity, and the jury decided who had it and who did not.”

ORIGINAL STORY, 6-20-2022, 11:15 a.m.

GERMANTOWN, Wis. — A federal jury awarded a total of $104 million to Raffel Systems LLC. a Wisconsin-based designer and supplier of, among other things, a multifunctional lighted cupholder. The jury found that Manwah Holdings Ltd. infringed on Raffel’s patent and trade dress for the cupholder, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

The jury awarded $9.3 million in actual damages for the alleged false marketing, patent and trade dress infringements and $97.5 million in punitive damages.

Raffel holds a variety of patents for its mechanisms. Trade dress refers to the design and shape of materials in which a product is packaged or the design and shape of the product itself.

Manwah intends to appeal the decision.

“While we appreciate the court hearing our side of the story we disagree with the jury’s verdict,” said Gabriele Natale, president, Manwah USA. “Manwah will exercise all appropriate legal remedies to challenge the jury’s verdict and continue to present evidence and arguments to prove our innocence. We believe that the details of this case were complicated at the very least, and the final decision was not based on all the facts presented during the trial.

“For example, the jury awarded a huge amount of punitive damages of $97.5 million even though, if it followed the Court’s instructions, the amount would be no more than $2 million.”

Raffel Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovation Motion Technologies, an industrial technology platform and industry-leading designer and supplier of unique interface and controls for motion furniture, RVs, bedding, hospitality, healthcare, cinema, marine, residential HVAC and multiple industrial applications.

Raffel Systems did not respond to requests for comments from Furniture Today.

Furniture Today will update this story as more details become available.

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