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Associate Dean & Professor Sandrik explores enhanced damages in patent law

by Sarah Bello,

Professor Karen Sandrik

In her article, "An Empirical Study: Willful Infringement and Enhanced Damages in Patent Law After Halo," Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Karen Sandrik analyzes her novel data set of willful patent infringement and enhanced damages decisions that reached final resolution from 2010 to 2020. Her analysis reveals three key impacts of the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics

  1. Willfulness findings have increased by 27.8%; 
  2. Enhanced damages findings have increased by 8.7%; and 
  3. Judges are significantly more likely to find willfulness (representing an 18.6% increase in willfulness findings). 

Yet, despite the increased findings of willfulness and enhanced damages post-Halo, Sandrik explains that "companies do not need to tell their teams of engineers and scientists to 'ignore' or 'stay away' from patents for purposes of avoiding an enhanced damages award."

Guided by the decisions in her data set, Sandrik argues that "district courts are increasingly persuaded by defendants' respective patent positive-work environments." She concludes her article by identifying what a patent positive-work environment looks like and how patent policies and procedures should be re-drafted in light of district courts' responses to Halo

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Willamette University College of Law was the first law school to open in the Pacific Northwest. Building on deep historic roots, we focus with pride on educating the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Supreme Court, cannot be matched in the region. Our thought-leading scholars advance and promote our shared responsibility to make a difference in society, placing justice, fairness, and equality at the heart of everything we do.

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