Friday, August 19, 2016

Willful Infringement Following Six-Year Period of Intervening Rights Does Not Justify Enhanced Damages

Following a jury verdict of willful infringement, the court denied plaintiff's motion for enhanced damages because of defendant's absolute intervening rights defense. "At the summary judgment stage, the Court granted [defendant's] motion for summary judgment in its favor on its defense of absolute intervening rights. . . . Thus, the period of infringement in the present case began [8 months ago]. This fact is important to the Court’s analysis because, in [Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., No. 14-1513 (June 13, 2016)], the Supreme Court explained that an infringer’s culpability should be measured at the time of the challenged conduct. . . . Under the Court’s intervening rights ruling, [defendant] is not liable for any sales of [the accused] capacitors that occurred prior to [8 months ago]. Therefore . . . [defendant] had already been permissibly selling the accused products without being subject to damages liability for almost six years. Moreover, at the time infringement began, [the parties] were well into the present litigation. . . . [T]he Court declines to find that the willful infringement that occurred in the case after [intervening rights applied] constitutes an 'egregious' case of misconduct warranting an award of enhanced damages. Rather, the present action was a 'garden-variety' hard-fought patent infringement action between two competitors."

Presidio Components, Inc. v. American Technical Ceramics Corp., 3-14-cv-02061 (CASD August 17, 2016, Order) (Huff, USDJ)

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