Enhanced Damages

Review of Recent IP Supreme Court Cases

August 15, 2016

The Supreme Court has recently decided three different cases related to intellectual property issues. The Court reviewed the process of instituting an inter partes review (IPR) in In re Cuozzo Speed Techs., finding that a decision of whether to institute an IPR is nonappealable. Additionally, it was held that it is reasonable for the USPTO to use a broadest reasonable interpretation standard for claim construction in IPRs is reasonable.

In Halo v. Pulse; Stryker v. Zimmer, the Supreme Court reviewed the Federal Circuit’s Seagate test for enhanced damages in patent infringement cases. It was found that the Seagate test is too rigid and not consistent with Section 284. The Supreme Court leaves to the discretion of the court the right to enhance damages for egregious behavior.

The final intellectual property case heard by the Supreme Court, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, reviewed the standard for awarding attorney’s fees to a defendant in a copyright case. The Court held that a district court may give substantial weight to the objective reasonableness of the position of the losing party, yet should also account for other relevant circumstances for awarding attorney’s fees.

The Supreme Court has already granted petitions to hear several more intellectual property cases in the upcoming October term. Issues to be decided include calculation of damages in design patent infringement cases, infringement based on supply of a single component of a multi-component invention, protectability of features of a useful article under the Copyright Act, and the application of laches for claims brought within a statutory limitations period. The full presentation may be downloaded here.