Exmark

A District Court jury awarded Exmark Manufacturing of Beatrice nearly $24.3 million in a patent lawsuit against Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group.

SCOTT KOPERSKI/Beatrice Daily Sun file photo

A jury has awarded lawnmower maker Exmark Manufacturing nearly $24.3 million in a patent infringement lawsuit.

Exmark, which is based in Beatrice, filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging that Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group and Schiller Grounds Care Inc. were manufacturing mowers that infringed on one of its patents.

The patent at issue covered multiblade mowers equipped with baffles between blades that allow the mower to be converted from a mulching to a side-discharge mower.

The jury in the trial in U.S. District Court decided that Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group willfully infringed on Exmark's patent for the design. However, the jury ruled that redesigned versions of the mowers did not infringe on the patent. It awarded $24,280,300 in damages.

The jury released its decision Friday afternoon, but it was not filed with the court until Monday morning.

Branden Happel, a spokesman for Exmark, said the company was pleased with the verdict.

"We work hard to develop innovative products and solutions to help our customers and vigorously protect and defend our patents and other intellectual property rights," Happel said in a statement.

Laura Timm, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs for Briggs & Stratton, said the company strongly disagrees with the verdict and "intends to vigorously pursue its rights through post-trial motions and, if necessary, on appeal."

A trial date has not yet been set in Exmark's suit against Schiller Grounds Care Inc.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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