Default judgment in retrofit LED patent infringement case on hold, but long-running dispute may be winding down

By John Breslin | Jun 18, 2018

FORT MYERS – A nearly three-year legal dispute between two former partners in the retrofit LED lighting industry appears to be approaching an end after the defendants in the patent infringement case failed to file a response to a motion for default judgment.

FORT MYERS – A nearly three-year legal dispute between two former partners in the retrofit LED lighting industry appears to be approaching an end after the defendants in the patent infringement case failed to file a response to a motion for default judgment.

Florida-based Global Tech LED accused Georgia-based Hilumz of selling and distributing a lighting product that comes under the umbrella  known as retrofit LED, or light emitting diode.

The plaintiffs claim the particular product sold by the defendants was substantially similar to one they had patented. Retrofitting allows for the installation of LED without the expense of entirely replacing a light.

Hilumz denied the claims, and did so for two years, according to details in a May 9 order by U.S. District Judge John Steele of the U.S. District Court for the MIddle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division. Hilumz argued the alleged “substantially identical” products were sold prior to the issuing of the patent and that they did not infringe the patent.

In June 2017, attorneys for the defendants filed a motion asking to withdraw because the defendants were “no longer able and willing to pay for the attorney’s fees and costs necessary to pursue their claims and defenses in this civil action."

Since then, Hilumz failed to answer a number of motions, culminating in Global's request in February for a default judgment, where it asked the court to rule in favor of the plaintiff over its claims off "willful patent infringement," and an award of damages.

Steele granted the motion in part, but left a window of opportunity for the defendants to object.

Steele ordered an evidentiary hearing to be held in October at the Fort Myers courtroom and re-opened discovery for 60 days to allow the plaintiff to gather information ahead of the hearing.

He also ordered the plaintiff to serve a copy of its motion for default judgment, and the judge's order, on the defendants within 30 days.

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