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Attorneys React To High Court’s Patent Damages Ruling

June 14, 2016

Law360

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday decided to discard the Federal Circuit’s strict test for awarding enhanced damages in patent cases, finding that the circuit’s high bar for patent owners was not justified under the Patent Act. Here, attorneys tell Law360 why the decision is significant.

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Benjamin E. Fuller, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP

“Today’s unanimous decision in Halo expands judicial discretion for district courts to award enhanced damages, while rejecting the two-part test under Seagate. Noting that enhanced damages should be limited ‘to egregious cases of misconduct beyond typical infringement,’ the court now permits enhanced damages in the context of  ‘deliberate wrongdoing,’ where an ‘independent showing of objective recklessness’ is unavailable or difficult to prove. In doing so, the court removes the unwarranted protections from enhanced damages often afforded to the ‘wanton and malicious pirate.’ By rejecting the stringent Seagate test, the opinion may increase the common practice of plaintiffs alleging willfulness. It may also increase the practice of receiving non-infringement or invalidity opinions prior to releasing products.”

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