A $31.95 million patent litigation jury verdict won by Womble Bond Dickinson client Nexus Technologies, Inc. ranked as North Carolina’s third-largest litigation jury verdict of 2021, according to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly (click here to read the full list of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s Top Verdicts and Settlements of 2021 - subscription required). The trial team was led by WBD Partner John Morrow, and also included attorney Minnie Kim, Senior Research Analyst Tammy Theriot, and Legal Practice Assistants Karen Angell and Amy Slusher.

In the litigation, Nexus alleged that Unlimited Power, Ltd. and owner Christopher Petrella deceived Nexus into divulging technical information regarding the design, functionality and operation of Nexus’ portable renewable energy power system (“PREPS”). At the request of the defendants, Nexus submitted an engineering and design proposal for such a system, but the two sides had not yet reached a contractual agreement for Nexus to actually design and build the system.

After several months of telling Nexus officials that they were working on securing funding, the Unlimited Power and Mr. Petrella allegedly used that information from the Nexus proposal to file four separate patent applications naming their company’s owner as the sole inventor. Nexus further alleged that after doing so, the defendants wrongfully transferred the patent applications to an affiliated company, Ravensafe, Inc., and that Ravensafe thereafter improperly sued Nexus for patent infringement after the patents had issued. 

After a three-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor or Nexus, finding that Mr. Conti and Mr. Bomer were the inventors and owners of the patents. The jury also found that the defendants’ acts of transferring the patents and using them to sue Nexus for infringement violated North Carolina’s unfair and deceptive trade practices act (the “UDTPA”), and awarded Nexus $10,650,000 in damages. Under the UDTPA, the damages award was automatically trebled, resulting in a final award of $31,950,000.