Monday, June 13, 2011

Enhanced Damages

  • "Seagate removed the presumption of willful infringement flowing from an infringer’s failure to exercise due care to avoid infringement, but Seagate did not change the application of the Read factors with respect to enhancement of damages when willful infringement under §285 is found. We thus vacate the district court’s denial of enhanced damages, and remand to the district court to redetermine whether enhanced damages are warranted under the guidance of Read, 970 F.2d at 826, that the 'paramount determination in deciding to grant enhancement and the amount thereof is the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct based on all the facts and circumstances.'”
  • We believe that the court is in the best position for making the determination of reasonableness.  This court therefore holds that the objective determination of recklessness, even though predicated on underlying mixed questions of law and fact, is best decided by the judge as a question of law subject to de novo review.

  • When a defense or noninfringement theory asserted by an infringer is purely legal (e.g., claim construction), the objective recklessness of such a theory is a purely legal question to be determined by the judge. When the objective prong turns on fact questions, as related, for example, to anticipation, or on legal questions dependent on the underlying facts, as related, for example, to questions of obviousness, the judge remains the final arbiter of whether the defense was reasonable, even when the underlying fact question is sent to a jury.

  • [T]he ultimate legal question of whether a reasonable person would have considered there to be a high likelihood of infringement of a valid patent should always be decided as a matter of law by the judge.