Monday, 19 October 2015 14:51

Supreme Court to Review Willful Patent Infringement

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The standard for willful patent infringement will be reviewed this term by the Supreme Court of the United States, as reported by SCOTUSblog. The Court agreed to accept two cases that involve the issue of enchanced damages in patent infringement litigation, Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics, and Stryker Corp v. Zimmer. Under the Patent Act, the owner of a patent may seek triple damages where willful infringement has been proven. The Supreme Court is expected to consider the proper framework for determining whether infringement in a particular case is willful. A decision in these consolidated cases will be rendered by June 2016. 

 

The question presented in the first-filed appeal, as framed by Halo Electronics, Inc., is the following: 

Whether the Federal Circuit erred by applying a rigid, two-part test for enhancing patent infringement damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284, that is the same as the rigid, two-part test this Court rejected last term in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014) for imposing attorney fees under the similarly-worded 35 U.S.C. § 285. 

The questions presented in the second-filed appeal, as framed by Stryker Corp., are the following:

1. Has the Federal Circuit improperly abrogated the plain meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 284 by forbidding any award of enhanced damages unless there is a finding of willfulness under a rigid, two-part test, when this Court recently rejected an analogous framework imposed on 35 U.S.C. § 285, the statute providing for attorneys’ fee awards in exceptional cases?

2. Does a district court have discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 284 to award enhanced damages where an infringer intentionally copied a direct competitor’s patented invention, knew the invention was covered by multiple patents, and made no attempt to avoid infringing the patents on that invention?

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Oliver Ruiz

Mr. Ruiz is a partner with the firm, and is currently the President of the Federal Bar Association's South Florida Chapter.  Mr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish and concentrates his practice in Intellectual Property Litigation and Trademark Prosecution. 

Mr. Ruiz earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, where he served as a board member for the Moot Court Board, and as President of the Student Bar Association. He is admitted to practice law in Florida and North Carolina state courts, as well as, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Mr. Ruiz is an active member of several bar associations, as well as with the Rotary Club of Miami, where he serves as President-Elect of the club.