High court rules for Connecticut company in trademark case

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FILE – This is a Jan. 27, 2020 file photo of The Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is making it easier to get certain monetary awards in trademark infringement lawsuits.

The justices sided unanimously Thursday with a Connecticut company, Romag, in its lawsuit against fashion accessory company Fossil.

Romag sells magnetic snaps that fasten wallets, handbags and other leather goods. In 2002, Fossil signed an agreement to use Romag fasteners in its products. But Romag later sued after learning that the factories Fossil hired in China to make its products were using counterfeit Romag fasteners.

A jury sided with Romag but said the company hadn’t proved that Fossil’s trademark infringement was “willful.” The Supreme Court said Thursday that under federal law, trademark infringement doesn’t need to be found to be intentional for Romag to be awarded the profits Fossil earned thanks to its trademark violation.

Fossil is based in Texas. Romag said in a statement that it was pleased with the decision, which will “incentivize manufacturers to protect against counterfeiting in their increasingly global supply chains and will help protect the rights of small intellectual property owners such as Romag.”

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