Walmart to appeal $95 million jury verdict over ‘Backyard Grill’ trademark

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 769 views 

A recent jury verdict approved by U.S. District Judge Terrence William Boyle against Walmart for $95 million in damages with respect to trademark infringement for “Backyard” private brand grills will be appealed, according to the retail giant.

“We continue to believe that our use of Backyard Grill did not infringe on Variety’s trademark, that consumers were not confused and Variety suffered no harm through our use of the brand,” Walmart corporate spokesman Randy Hargrove said in a statement. “We do not believe the jury’s decision assessing liability and damages are supported by the evidence.”

The plaintiff, Variety Stores Inc., operates about 300 retail stores and has had a registered trademark for “The Backyard” for several lawn and garden products and outdoor goods, including grills, since 1993, according to the filing. Variety sued Walmart for willful trademark infringement in April 2018 and the court ordered a payment of $32.5 million from Walmart.

Hargrove told Talk Business & Politics that Walmart views the verdict as “excessive” given the way damages and liability were calculated as Variety does not sell its products online and has only a regional presence in 16 states. Hargrove said Walmart continues to review its options for post-trial motions and an appeal.

Variety appealed the damages assessed, arguing they should be more. That appeal was remanded and ruled that a jury should have been allowed to assess liability in this case. The jury’s recent assessment was $45.5 million in reasonable royalties and an additional $50 million in returned profits made by Walmart on the sale of Backyard Grill products.

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