Compaq Computer Corp. v. Ergonome Inc.

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In Compaq Computer Corp. v. Ergonome Inc., 387 F.3d 403 (5th Cir. 2004), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a defendant in a copyright case. The trial court had held that any copying by Compaq was de minimis and constituted fair use according to 17 U.S.C. § 107, and that doctrines of laches and equitable estoppel also barred Ergonome's claim.

The Fifth Circuit also affirmed an award to Compaq of attorneys' fees of $2.7 million partly as a sanction for unjustified litigation tactics, and held that an individual was liable as the alter ego of Ergonome as a sanction for repeated discovery violations throughout the litigation process.

Chief Judge Edith Jones wrote the opinion for the Fifth Circuit.