April 4, 2024   

Jury Verdict: Lutron Faces $34.6 Million in Damages

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A six-year court battle over shading system brackets leads to large jury award


In a verdict that may be causing makers of motorized shading systems to recoil, a New York federal jury has awarded GeigTech a staggering $34.6 million in damages against the worldwide leader in lighting controls, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., for patent infringement. South Carolina-based GeigTech goes to market under the trade name J Geiger Shading.

This case, which has been deliberated since its filing in June 2018, centered on GeigTech's claims that Lutron unlawfully utilized its patented window shade bracket designs, products that they say have set new standards in the aesthetics and functionality of modern window treatments.


In the lawsuit, Savant Systems is mentioned not as a party to the case but as a key context: GeigTech had entered into a manufacturing and sales agreement with Savant, a smart home company that eventually acquired GE Lighting's residential lamp business. Subsequent to this agreement, Lutron launched its Palladiom Shading System. GeigTech alleged that this system unlawfully incorporates jamb, center, and end brackets that closely resemble the GeigTech products.

During the six-year legal battle, certain claims against Lutron, such as unjust enrichment, were dismissed. Specifically, the court dismissed Count III, Unjust Enrichment, finding that GeigTech failed to adequately plead a case for unjust enrichment under New York law.


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Above: Exhibit from GeigTech legal complaint

IP Lawsuit Component: The intellectual property (IP) aspect involves the alleged infringement of GeigTech's U.S. Patent No. 9,237,821, which relates to an "Assembly for Mounting Shades." This part of the lawsuit alleges that Lutron's products infringe on specific claims of GeigTech's patent, which is a form of IP protection that covers inventions.

The jury found the following GeigTech claim to be true: "Lutron opted to poach (GeigTech's) patented designs and intellectual property to try and remain competitive in a segment of the market that (GeigTech) cornered" leading to the $34.6 million award.


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Above: Exhibit from GeigTech legal complaint

Trade Dress Lawsuit Component: The trade dress infringement claims involve allegations that Lutron's products infringe upon the distinctive visual appearance of GeigTech's J Geiger Shading System. Trade dress, a form of IP protected under trademark law, covers the overall look and feel of a product that signifies its source to consumers. GeigTech argues that its shading system's design—characterized by exposed roller shades without visible screws or wires—has become associated with the GeigTech brand and is protectable under trade dress law.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon dismissed the trade dress claims brought by GeigTech against Lutron. The judge stated that there was no evidence indicating Lutron intended to deceive consumers into believing they were purchasing J. Geiger shades. Instead, the judge explained that Lutron aimed to incorporate certain features of J. Geiger shades into its own product, Palladiom, without causing brand confusion.


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Above: Exhibit from GeigTech legal complaint

During the jury trial, Lutron showcased a wide array of product samples from its own line, GeigTech, and various other shading systems and retailers, including:

  • Bandalux Premium Plus
  • Coulisse Absolute 2.0
  • Crestron QMT3 and QMT5
  • Draper Flex Style Recharge
  • Graber
  • Hunter Douglas Designer
  • Mecho Electro Shade
  • Rollease Acmeda S45
  • Screen Innovations
  • Silent Gliss SG 4800
  • The Shade Store


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The jury's decision, delivering a significant $34.6 million judgment against Lutron for patent infringement, marks a pivotal win for GeigTech in the long-contested legal battle over window shade bracket designs. While Lutron has managed to evade the trade dress and additional allegations, the substantial verdict highlights the jury's agreement with GeigTech's claims and may set a precedent for GeigTech to enforce its intellectual property rights with other shade makers.