In the latest development in a nearly decade-old patent lawsuit, Briggs & Stratton Corp. has once again been ordered to pay damages to a subsidiary of The Toro Co.
Exmark Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Nebraska-based commercial mower brand for Toro (NYSE: TTC), first sued Briggs in May 2010, claiming that certain mower decks produced by Briggs (NYSE: BGG) subsidiary Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC, branded Ferris and Snapper Pro, infringed on Exmark's mower deck patent. Exmark won the lawsuit in September 2015, and Briggs was assessed nearly $50 million in damages, but an appellate court remanded the decision back to the district court for reconsideration in January 2018.
That new trial began on Dec. 10, and on Dec. 20, the district court found in favor of Exmark again. This time, the court ordered Briggs to pay $14.4 million in compensatory damages, an additional $14.4 million in enhanced damages, as well as "re-judgment interest, post-judgment interest and costs to be determined," according to a Briggs filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The company strongly disagrees with the verdict and certain rulings made before and during the new trial and intends to vigorously pursue its rights through post-trial motions and, if necessary, on appeal," the filing reads.
The lawsuit hasn't impacted Briggs' financial statements as of yet, and the company doesn't anticipate it will appear on its next report on the quarter that ends on Dec. 30. As far as how the lawsuit will impact Briggs' future finances, the company said it will conduct a review that includes "the likelihood of a successful appeal" before making an official determination.