An unremarkable Fed. Cir. Decision (09/09/07)

In Mitutoyo Corp. et al. v. Central Purchasing, Central Purchasing appeals the district court ruling that Central Purchasing infringed U.S. Patent 4,743,902 in contravention of a 1994 settlement agreement between the parties. On the issue of enhanced damages, the Fed. Cir. reversed the trial court's dismissal, on procedural grounds, of Mitutoyo's claim for enhanced damages due to willful infringement by Central Purchasing. Specifically, the Fed. Cir. stated that failing to submit a motion for summary judgment on willfulness does not indicate an intent to abandon the willfulness claim. In addition, Mitutoyo's allegation coupled with Central Purchasing's long history with the patent satisfy the Rule 8(a)(2) requirement. Read more about this case on the issues of claim construction, standing, and damages.

Fed. Cir. raises bar on willfulness (08/23/07)

In In re Seagate Technology, Inc., the Fed. Cir. reversed, en banc, previous holdings that to avoid enhancement of damages due to willfulness the defendant had to exercise “an affirmative duty of care.” The new rule provides that to prove willfulness, “at least a showing of objective recklessness” is required. The court, relying on existing civil law, defines a person reckless “who acts in the face of an unjustifiably high risk of harm that is either known or so obvious that it should be known” (internal citation omitted). With respect to the advice of counsel defense against willful infringement, The Fed. Cir. stated that the defense does not waive privilege with respect to trial counsel, only the privilege between defendant and the attorney who furnished the opinion of no infringement, either because the claims do not cover defendant's conduct or because the patent is unenforceable.

Note: This ruling was struck down by the Supreme Court in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics and Stryker v. Zimmer. See supreme_court_nixes_seagate_relaxes_treble_damages_rule_posted_06_14_16

User Tools