Judge Connolly issued a post-trial opinion in a false advertising case this week that contained another interesting bit of damages arcana under the Lanham Act.
The trial in CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc., C.A. No. 19-662 (D. Del. July 17, 2023), seemed to go great for the plaintiff with the jury finding 9/10 of the defendant's advertisements were false and awarding $21.2 Million in compensatory damages and $23.7 Million in punitive damages. As we say in Delaware, "that's a lotta crabs"*
It all went tails up in post-trial briefing however, when the defendant moved for JMOL of no damages. The court began by summarizing the elements of a Lanham Act claim in the Third Circuit
1) that the defendant has made false or misleading statements as to his own product [or another's]; 2) that there is actual deception or at least a tendency to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience; 3) that the deception is material in that it is likely to influence 3 purchasing decisions; 4) that the advertised goods traveled in interstate commerce; and 5) that there is a likelihood of injury to the plaintiff in terms of declining sales, loss of good will, etc.
CareDX, at 3-4 (emphasis added) (quoting Pernod Ricard USA, LLC v. Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., 653 F.3d 241,248 (3d Cir. 2011))
The highlighted factor is the interesting one. You see, actual deception is ...