Foley Delivers Victory for Mueller Supply Co. in Copyright Case

03 April 2023 Media Contact: Jen Dilworth News

Foley & Lardner LLP is pleased to announce it has won a federal jury trial on behalf of Mueller Supply Co., Inc. (Mueller) in a copyright infringement case, securing a permanent injunction and $2.1 million in damages from defendant JNL Steel Components, Inc. (JNL).

Mueller, a leading manufacturer of steel buildings and metal roofing with 33 locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, had filed suit against JNL and its web developer, Web Plant Media, LLC (Web Plant), in 2021, alleging that defendants were infringing Mueller’s copyrighted 3D Design Tool, which allowed customers to design customized steel buildings online.

Following a six-day trial, on February 13, 2023, a federal jury in San Angelo, Texas found that Web Plant was liable as a direct infringer, JNL was liable as a vicarious infringer, and awarded Mueller over $2.1 million in JNL’s indirect profits.

U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix issued an order on April 3, 2023, in the action, which adopted the parties’ stipulation following the jury verdict in Mueller’s favor.

JNL has removed a later version of its 3D Design Tool—that was not the subject of the trial—from its website, agreed to pay the $2.1 million jury award in full, and agreed to a permanent injunction barring it from using or copying any 3D Design Tool developed in whole or in part by Web Plant.

“Mueller is pleased with the jury verdict and the global resolution of this dispute,” stated Foley Partner Naikang Tsao, lead counsel for Mueller. “There are other steel building manufacturers that have knocked off Mueller’s 3D Design Tool, and this case should serve as notice to them that Mueller intends to enforce and protect its IP rights.”

The Foley trial team also included Partner Terrell Miller and Associates Davis Mosmeyer III and Emily Jones.

The case is Mueller Supply Co., Inc. d/b/a Mueller, Inc. v. JNL Steel Components, Inc. et al., No. 6:21-cv-00036-H (N.D. Tex.).

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