An Illinois federal jury awarded Akerman client Atturo Tire Corp. $10 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages on September 22, 2021. Following a 5-day trial in Chicago, the jury found Toyo Tire Corp. and Toyo U.S.A. Corp. liable for unfair competition, defamation, unjust enrichment, deceptive trade practices, and tortious interference with Atturo’s business.
The dispute dates back to 2013, when Toyo brought an International Trade Commission action for design patent infringement. Toyo did not sue Atturo in the ITC or bring any trade dress claim there. Nevertheless, Toyo began conditioning settlement of the ITC action on permanent agreements of many other companies in the tire industry to never sell, manufacture, distribute, or import Atturo’s Trail Blade M/T tire. As the jury found, Toyo also misrepresented to Atturo’s existing and prospective customers and manufacturing partners that Toyo owned and Atturo infringed a trade dress right in Toyo’s Open Country M/T tire.
The Akerman trial team was based in the firm’s Chicago office and included Intellectual Property Practice Chair Brian Bianco, Litigation partner Julia Lissner, and Intellectual Property partner Jay Schafer.
“We thank the jury for their careful attention to the case,” Bianco said. “Our client, Atturo, has fought for a long time to get here. It’s gratifying that the jurors understood that what Toyo did was wrong and has finally set things right,” Bianco added.
This is the latest success for Akerman in a long string of wins in this case in the Northern District of Illinois, including several summary judgment victories, multiple sanctions orders against Toyo, and exclusion of three Toyo expert witnesses.
Illinois Fellow Julia Lissner is a Litigation Partner in the Chicago office of Akerman LLP. She represents public and private companies and individuals in a wide range of business disputes in state and federal courts nationwide. She has extensive experience in preparing cases for bench trials, jury trials, arbitrations, and mediations; handling appeals; and conducting internal investigations. Julia’s complex commercial litigation practice spans a variety of substantive areas, including intellectual property, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, professional liability, fraud, restrictive covenants, and class action defense. Julia’s broad client base includes major financial institutions, automotive and tire companies, retail chains, software companies, and real estate investors. She has been repeatedly recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” for Business Litigation, by Leading Lawyers as an “Emerging Lawyer” in Commercial Litigation, and by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of “Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers.”