Unanimous Supreme Court Rejects Seagate Test for Damages


Today the Supreme Court ruled on the Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. case.

In a unanimous decision, the Court rejected the Federal Circuit's nine-year-old but now overly "rigid" two-part "recklessness" test set forth in In re Seagate Technology, LLC, 497 F. 3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

In doing so, the Court refused to offer a test or "formula" to guide courts going forward, but instead gave more discretion to courts. "In sum, §284 allows district courts to punish the full range of culpable behavior. In so doing, they should take into account the particular circumstances of each case and reserve punishment for egregious cases typified by willful misconduct."

This ruling likely gives more leverage to patent holders to get enhanced damages based on "willful misconduct" by infringers and deter such behavior. Opinion can be found here:: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-1513_db8e.pdf

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