Friday, November 20, 2009

In re Seagate's "Objective Recklessness" Test Does Not Render Defendant's Knowledge of Patent Irrelevant to Willfulness

In granting plaintiff's motion for enhanced damages, the court took into account whether defendant knew of plaintiff's patent and formed a good faith believe as to invalidity or noninfringement. "[Defendant] maintains that this factor is irrelevant under [In re Seagate 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007)], in which the Court 'abandon[ed] the affirmative duty of due care,' and held that an infringer's state of mind is not relevant to the objective inquiry of willful infringement, but points to no authority for this proposition. Courts post-Seagate have continued to apply this factor in determining whether enhancement is appropriate. . . . [Defendant] had actual knowledge of the [patent-in-suit], and the . . . patent licensed by [defendant] refers to the [plaintiff's] patent. [Defendant] need not have conducted a full-blown investigation; it need only have looked at what was already before it."

Krippelz v. Ford Mtr Co., 1-98-cv-02361
(ILND November 18, 2009, Memorandum Opinion & Order) (Zagel, J.)

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