Posts Tagged: "willful infringement"

HoloTouch Claims Microsoft Willfully Infringing Holographic, Human-Machine Interface Patents

HoloTouch, Inc. filed a lawsuit asserting willful patent infringement claims against Redmond, WA-based tech giant Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). Filed in the Southern District of New York, the suit alleges that Microsoft has ignored licensing talks with the original inventor of certain holographic interface input technologies which were developed in the mid-1990s even while filing patent applications which cite to patents issued to HoloTouch as prior art.

Telebrands loses $12.3 million verdict for willful patent infringement of Bunch O Balloons

On November 21st, a jury verdict entered in the Eastern District of Texas awarded $12.3 million in damages to Tinnus Enterprises and ZURU Ltd. in a patent infringement case against major U.S. telemarketing firms Telebrands and its subsidiary Bulbhead.com. The verdict, which also carries a finding of willful infringement of the patents-in-suit, further upheld the validity of patents owned by Tinnus in stark contrast to findings which have issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on those patents.

Daimler trademark lawsuit alleges that Amazon.com doesn’t do enough to prevent infringement and counterfeits

At issue in the trademark infringement suit is Amazon’s sale of counterfeit wheel center caps bearing distinctive Mercedes-Benz trademarks… Daimler argues that Amazon “facilitates the sale of an exorbitant number of counterfeit and infringing goods” through its platform, counterfeit activity which has increased since 2015 when the company began inducing Chinese manufacturers to list on its U.S. and European e-commerce platforms. Daimler notes that lawsuits over counterfeit products have been filed against Amazon by well-known consumer brands including a February 2017 suit filed by French luxury goods brand Chanel against the American e-commerce giant.

All patent infringement is willful patent infringement

The reality created by eBay in light of the AIPA is simple: If you scrape an invention off the USPTO website and massively commercialize it, you get to keep it. Ubiquity has become a defense. How odd that ubiquity caused by your own initial theft becomes an impenetrable shield in patent infringement litigation… Of course, not all infringers should be liable for willful patent infringement. Some infringers are not the experts in the field. Some are users of technology produced by the experts. If you are a small coffee shop and you purchase a router, you are not an expert and you are not willfully infringing. You just bought a product that some infringer sold you and you reasonably believed could be lawfully purchased and used. But if you are the company producing that router, it must be assumed that you are willfully infringing.

VirnetX wins nearly $440 million verdict against Apple, including willful infringement damages

On Monday, October 16th, the Internet security company VirnetX (AMEX:VHC) of Zephyr Cove, NV, announced the results of a patent litigation campaign it had pursued against Cupertino, CA-based consumer tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). According to a press release issued by VirnetX, the Eastern District of Texas increased the damages to be paid by Apple from $302.4 million in a prior jury verdict up to nearly $440 million for Apple’s infringement of patents covering secure communications in applications like FaceTime.

Idenix v. Gilead: District Court Exercises Discretion to Deny Enhanced Damages

Idenix Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Gilead Pharmaceuticals, Inc., C.A. No. 14-846-LPS (Delaware Dist. Court, Sept 22, 2017) (“Idenix v. Gilead”), is a good example of the exercise of such discretion by a district court.  Rich in facts, the case is suitable for the application of the flexible contextual standards the Supreme Court showed preference for in Halo.  Also, the case involves balancing the public good of promoting innovation by deterring willful infringement against the public good of facilitating imitation and refinement through imitation.  It is apparent from the Court’s reasoning that it was being very mindful that without the particular “refinement through imitation,” involved in the case, a life-saving cure for hepatitis C would not have been discovered.  Enhanced damages were not awarded.

Willful Infringement, Opinion Letters, & Post-Halo Trends

In one of the first district court cases to apply Halo, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was confronted with a defendant who obtained a noninfringement opinion sometime around the final day of a 12 to 18 month project. See: Dominion Res. Inc. v. Alstom Grid Inc., No. CV 15-224, 2016 WL 5674713 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 3, 2016) (holding that the defendant’s state of mind on the final day of 12-18 month project was far too late to be defense to willfulness) (appeal pending). The court ruled that opinion letters obtained so long after infringement began, even if still during the period of infringement, did not absolve the defendant of willful infringement under a subjective recklessness standard. Shortly thereafter, the District of Delaware was confronted with a case in which the defendant obtained a noninfringement and invalidity opinion well before litigation, and the defendant even modified designs of the products at issue to conform to recommendations contained therein…

Federal Circuit affirms patent owner victory of lost profits, enhanced damages

The standards for overturning a jury verdict and Court’s award of enhanced damages are high. The legal standard regarding lost profits is not limited to one third party sale and courts have discretion to determine if substantial evidence supports a finding of lost profits.

Ninth Circuit Confirms Willfulness is Required to Award Profits in Trademark Cases

As Stone Creek deepens the divide among circuits, the issue of whether willfulness is required for disgorgement of a defendant’s profits in trademark cases is ripe for Supreme Court review… The Stone Creek decision solidifies the Ninth Circuit’s position that willfulness is required for a recovery of profits in trademark cases. This approach is consistent with equitable principles because disgorgement is generally used to deter culpable behavior and deterrence would not be necessary, and would not work, for an innocent infringer. Depending on the facts of a case, trademark law provides sufficient remedies to prevent a likelihood of confusion and compensate a plaintiff for its losses—beyond a defendant’s profits—like an injunction, actual damages and/or corrective advertising. An award of profits can be reserved for willful infringers, without depriving a plaintiff of remedies for non-willful infringement.

Stryker receives treble damages as part of $248.7M award after 2016 remand from SCOTUS

The final judgment and permanent injunction follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last June in Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer Inc. (consolidated with Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.) to vacate and remand a previous decision of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Fed. Cir.)… The damages awarded to Stryker in the final judgment entered into the W.D. Mich. court include $70 million in lost profits; pursuant to Section 284 findings of willfulness, this lost profits award is also trebled to $210 million in the final judgment.

Makers of Bionic Wrench awarded $5.9M by federal jury against Sears in willful infringement verdict

The inventor of the two patents-in-suit is Dan Brown, Sr., president and founder of LoggerHead. He also teaches engineering at Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute. Brown came up with the concept for the adjustable gripping tool, which LoggerHead markets as the Bionic Wrench, after watching his son try to work on a lawnmower with a pair of pliers. Realizing that there was no good tool to serve as a substitute, Brown worked for three years to create a suitable gripping tool while performing market research, evaluating sales channels and searching for an American manufacturer for the product, according to LoggerHead’s second amended complaint filed in the case.

Makers of TRX exercise equipment win $6.8 million patent verdict, prove willful infringement

The makers of TRX fitness and training equipment, was awarded more than $6.8 million in damages after a jury verdict finding willful patent infringement by San Carlos, CA-based Woss Enterprises LLC. The lawsuit surrounded allegations that Woss infringed upon patents covering Fitness Anywhere’s suspension trainer equipment. The jury verdict included a finding of willful infringement of patents asserted in the case. The case was tried and decided in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.).

Mentor Graphics v. Synopsys: Affirmed-in-Part, Reversed-in-Part, Vacated-in-Part, and Remanded

Various Synopsys parties and EVE-USA, Inc. (collectively “Synopsys”) sued Mentor Graphics, seeking a declaration that Mentor’s ’376, ’531, and ’176 patents were invalid and not infringed. Mentor counterclaimed for willful infringement of those three patents, and also asserted infringement of two more (the ’526 and ’109 patents). The court consolidated the case with another involving a fourth patent owned by Mentor (the ’882 patent)… A jury does not have to further apportion lost profits to patented features of a larger product after applying the Panduit factors, which implicitly incorporate apportionment into the lost profit award. Claim preclusion applies when a claim was asserted, or could have been asserted, in a prior action. It does not bar allegations that did not exist at the time of the earlier action.

Litigating Willful Patent Infringement in a Post-Halo World

After Halo, courts appear to be breathing new life into claims for willful patent infringement and enhanced damages claims. In fact, since Halo’s new standard took effect a few months ago, juries found willful infringement in three out of four cases where they returned a verdict of infringement. However, as discussed below, there are steps a defendant can take to protect itself against a finding of willful infringement.

Federal Circuit Affirms in Part and Reverses in Part “Means Plus Function” Indefiniteness

In an indefiniteness analysis, particularly for a “means plus function” claim, the patent must particularly disclose the corresponding structure for performing the claimed function. It is not enough that a person of ordinary skill in the art would likely know what structure to implement. The Court also clarifies that in a willful infringement analysis, the preponderance of the evidence standard implemented in Halo should be used, rather than the clear and convincing evidence standard used in Seagate.