U.S. Supreme Court – Recent IP Decisions
The U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent term addressed various cases that relate to intellectual property. Here is a brief overview of three of them.
The Halo decision addresses enhanced damages in patent litigations. In Halo, the Supreme Court rejects a previous two-part test from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that required acting with objective recklessness and subjective knowledge of the infringement for an enhanced damages award. District courts now have wider discretion to award up to three times the amount of original damages when there is egregious misconduct in cases that go beyond typical infringement.
The Kirtsaeng decision addresses fee shifting in copyright litigations. The Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng gives guidelines for courts to use when considering whether to award attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party in a copyright lawsuit. Objective reasonableness of a party’s position is an important factor, but not the only one a court should consider. Other factors a court should consider include litigation misconduct and repeated overly-aggressive assertions of copyright infringements.
The Cuozzo decision addresses USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) regulations for IPR (Inter Partes Review) proceedings. The Supreme Court in Cuozzo clarified that the USPTO does not have to use the same claim construction standard during IPRs that federal courts use during validity challenges. Instead, the USPTO’s broadest reasonable interpretation standard of claim construction for IPRs is proper. The Cuozzo decision further clarifies that the USPTO’s decision whether to institute an IPR is not appealable.
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