Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: December 5, 2014
  • Case #: 13-896
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 720 F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2013)

Whether it was error for the Federal Circuit to hold that it is a defense to induced infringement under 35 U.S.C. 271(b) that a defendant thought a patent was invalid.

The 395 patent allowed for faster, and more reliable handoffs between base stations in a wireless system network. Petitioner won a jury trial in the District Court, but the jury found no indirect infringement. Petitioner was granted a new trial on grounds of induced infringement and damages, and won over 63 million dollars. Respondent appealed the decision from the Eastern District of Texas, which found that Respondent infringed on Petitioner's "395 patent." In the appeal, the Federal Circuit found that the District Court had given erroneous jury instructions in regards to indirect infringement, found that Respondent's good-faith of invalidity could negate requisite intent for induced infringement, and found no error in the district court granting a partial new trial. Petitioner appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which granted a writ of certiorari limited to question one of Petitioner's brief.

Petitioner argues that the defense to infringement allowed by the Federal Circuit is contrary to the Patent Act, its legislative history, precedent of the United States Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit, the relationship between non-willful and willful infringement, principles of tort liability, and the statutory presumption of validity. Petitioner argues this new defense is unnecessary and unwarranted, and that it will increase the expense of litigation and release those who induce patent infringements from all liability.

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