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Slep-Tone Entm't Corp. v. Karaoke Kandy Store, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 6, 2015

SLEP-TONE ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
KARAOKE KANDY STORE, INC.; CHARLES M. POLIDORI, Defendants-Appellants

Argued: January 23, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. No. 1:10-cv-00990--Donald C. Nugent, District Judge.

ARGUED: John J. Okuley, OKULEY SMITH LLC, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

James M. Harrington, HARRINGTON LAW, P.C., Pineville, North Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF: John J. Okuley, OKULEY SMITH LLC, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellants.

James M. Harrington, HARRINGTON LAW, P.C., Pineville, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before: MERRITT, MOORE, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 314

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Slep-Tone Entertainment Corp. sued Defendants Karaoke Kandy Store, Inc., and Charles M. Polidori under federal and state law for unlawfully selling hard drives bearing Slep-Tone's registered trademarks without authorization. After a four-day trial, the jury answered a single interrogatory finding that the Defendants had not infringed Slep-Tone's trademarks, and, based on the jury's answer, the district court entered judgment in the Defendants' favor. Slep-Tone has appealed this judgment in case No. 13-1405, which is before this panel. In a separate opinion, we stayed that appeal and remanded the case to the district court because Slep-Tone's timely post-judgment motion for findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52 remains pending before the district court. In this appeal, the Defendants argue that the district court erroneously denied their motion for attorney fees under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) following the judgment in their favor. For the following reasons, we REMAND this case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

Slep-Tone brought this action for monetary damages and injunctive relief alleging that the Defendants violated federal and state law by copying karaoke tracks containing Slep-Tone's registered marks onto computer hard drives and then selling those tracks without authorization. R. 1 (Complaint at 4--5) (Page ID #4--5). The parties engaged in contentious discovery, with both sides filing a number of discovery motions and seeking sanctions for discovery-related conduct. Following discovery, the district court granted the Defendants' motion for summary judgment, but we reversed and remanded the case to the district court for additional discovery and/or trial. See Slep-Tone Entm't Corp. v. Karaoke Kandy Store, Inc., 517 F.App'x 339 (6th Cir. 2013).

On remand, the district court set the case for a jury trial per Slep-Tone's demand. See R. 1 (Complaint) (Page ID #1). Days ...


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