Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jury Finding of Willfulness Does Not Require Award of Enhanced Damages Under Halo

The court denied plaintiff's motion for enhanced damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 and rejected plaintiff's argument that the jury finding of willful infringement was binding on the court. "[Plaintiff] argues that the jury’s willfulness finding is binding on the Court, that enhanced damages are required, and that the Court’s discretion lies only in deciding what amount of enhanced damages to award. . . . While the [Read Corp. v. Portec, Inc., 970 F.2d 816, 827 (Fed. Cir. 1992)] factors remain helpful to this Court’s analysis, the touchstone for awarding enhanced damages after [Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016)] is egregiousness. . . . 'The subjective willfulness of a patent infringer, intentional or knowing, may warrant enhanced damages . . . .' Assuming without deciding that the jury’s verdict, based on the subjective prong of the now-overruled [In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007)] test, is sufficient to find subjective willfulness, the Court still finds, in its discretion, that the defendants’ conduct did not rise to the level of egregiousness meriting an award of enhanced damages. . . . [D]efendants did not deliberately copy the [patent-in-suit], did not try to conceal the chips found to be infringing, did reasonably investigate the scope of the patent, and did form a good faith belief that their products did not infringe based on their view of the proper claim construction and crystallinity of their buffer layer."

Trustees of Boston University v. Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd., et al, 1-12-cv-11935 (MAD July 22, 2016, Order) (Saris, J.)

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