Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Induced Infringement

Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S. A.
  • “[W]e now hold that induced infringement under §271(b) requires knowledge that the induced acts constitute patent infringement.”

  • The knowledge requirement can be met by showing willful blindness.

  • “While the Courts of Appeals articulate the doctrine of willful blindness in slightly different ways, all appear to agree on two basic requirements: (1) the defendant must subjectively believe that there is a high probability that a fact exists and (2) the defendant must take deliberate actions to avoid learning of that fact. We think these requirements give willful blindness an appropriately limited scope that surpasses recklessness and negligence. Under this formulation, a willfully blind defendant is one who takes deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of wrongdoing and who can almost be said to have actually known the critical facts.”

  • “Taken together, this evidence was more than sufficient for a jury to find that Pentalpha subjectively believed there was a high probability that SEB’s fryer was patented, that Pentalpha took deliberate steps to avoid knowing that fact, and that it therefore willfully blinded itself to the infringing nature of Sunbeam’s sales.”

  • "The existence of a substantial non-infringing use does not preclude a finding of inducement." (See Contributory Infringement.)

  • "It is not disputed that the [accused] products could infringe.  However, such testimony alone is not sufficient to find inducement of infringement of a method patent.  Evidence of actual use of each limitation is required."