IPR Evidence and Trial Impact for Practitioners
For accused infringers relying on invalidity defenses that were presented in an inter partes review (“IPR”) to fight willful infringement allegations in district court, the shift in IPR success rates can spell trouble. Evidence of an IPR in which all asserted claims were not petitioned or some of the challenged claims were not invalidated in a final written decision can undermine willful infringement defenses. And now that Halo v. Pulse has chipped away at the high-bar of the Seagate objective prong in favor of a fact-intensive evaluation, willfulness is more likely to be a centerpiece of jury trials. See Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., No. 14-1513, 2016 WL 3221515 (U.S. June 13, 2016); In re Seagate Tech. LLC, 479 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc). As a result, evidence regarding the strength of and reliance on IPR-presented defenses is more likely to come into the record at trial. Petitioner-defendants need to prepare early for the possibility that evidence of perceived IPR failures will be presented to jury to avoid being left with no admissible evidence disproving willful infringement. A well-prepared defendant can even turn the tables on the patent owner by using the perceived failures to its own advantage in front of the jury.