Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Cotter on Damages for Noneconomic Harm

I mentioned last month that I had posted a new paper on ssrn titled Damages for Noneconomic Harm in Intellectual Property Law, 62 Hastings L.J. __ (forthcoming 2021).  Below is a link to a (slightly revised) version of the paper, along with the abstract.  I'd also like to note a review of the paper by Roya Ghafele, published this morning on IP Finance.

Here is a link to the current version of the paper itself, and here is the abstract:
This article provides a comprehensive analysis of awards of “noneconomic” damages for reputational and emotional harm in intellectual property (IP) law, including trademarks, copyright and moral rights, the right of publicity, and patent law. The article discusses, among other matters, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Castillo v. G&M Realty LP, affirming a $6.75 million award of statutory damages for the infringement of artists’ moral rights in graffiti art; the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive and its 2016 Liffers decision, which appear to require member states to award, where warranted, noneconomic (“moral prejudice”) damages across the full range of IP cases; and some recent arguments in favor of awarding damages for emotional harm in, even, patent infringement actions. Prompted by these and other developments, I argue that courts should recognize reputational harm as a potentially cognizable injury throughout all of the branches of IP law, but that damages for emotional harm should be limited to right of publicity and moral rights matters. In addition, I discuss the various options for providing monetary relief in response to noneconomic harm, including awards of general damages, statutory damages, disgorgement of the infringer’s profits, and enhanced or punitive damages; and I conclude with a set of recommendations for crafting awards in a manner that would both vindicate the relevant, cognizable interests of plaintiffs while reducing the risks of arbitrary, uncertain, and potentially overdeterrent relief. 

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