05/13/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

West Palm Beach, FL—A U.S. District Judge called Home Depot “callous and arrogant” before ordering the company to pay a former Boca Raton man $3 million in punitive damages, in addition to other awards. Home Depot was found guilty of stealing an invention, which would keep Home Depot employees from slicing off their fingers while they are cutting wood for customers, as reported by The Palm Beach Post.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley stated, “Home Depot knew exactly what it was doing… They simply pushed Mr. Powell away and they did it totally and completely for their own economic benefit.”

Michael Powell was awarded $3 million in punitive damages, in addition to another $15 million he was awarded by a jury in March. The $15 million is what the jury determined Home Depot should pay him for stealing his “Safe-Hands” invention. The invention is now installed on about 2,000 radial saws at Home Depot stores nationwide.

Home Depot was also awarded to pay Powell’s attorneys $2.8 million in legal fees for litigating the case. On top of that, Home Depot must pay Powell an estimated $1 million in interest annually on the judgment, which began building in 2006 and will continue until the judgment is paid in full.

Home Depot could have saved about $25 million if they would have paid Powell the $2,000 per device that he was originally asking.

Home Deport is considering an appeal and stated that, “We have a strong commitment to dealing with our business partners fairly and with integrity, which is how we’ve maintained long-standing relationships with literally tens of thousands of suppliers over the past 30-plus years. We would never condone actions that intentionally violate another company’s intellectual property rights.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for intellectual property attorneys.

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