Upcoming Audio Briefings On Recent Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court  has decided three cases this past month that could have a big effect on patent law.  To help you understand the significance of these decisions and their implications, PLI is offering three timely and topical One-Hour Audio Briefings.

1. June 24th Global-Tech v. SEB: Supreme Court Holds knowledge Requirement Satisfied by Willful Blindness for Patent Infringement:  On May 31, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A. In an 8–1 decision, with Justice Alito writing for the Court, the Court concluded that induced infringement requires knowledge that the induced acts constitute patent infringement, not just knowledge that it was encouraging certain acts which just happened to infringe a patent. Examining the statutory language and tracing pre–adoption case law, the Court further concluded that a defendant’s deliberate indifference to a known risk that a patent exists would not be sufficient to demonstrate knowledge, which was the Federal Circuit’s view below, but that “willful blindness,” well–established in the criminal law context, is enough to satisfy the knowledge element. Although it announced a different standard, the Court concluded that the evidence in this case easily satisfied that standard. For such a doctrine to apply, a defendant must subjectively believe that there is a high probability that a fact exists, and must take deliberate actions to avoid learning of that fact. In dissent, Justice Kennedy argued that the Court took a step too far in concluding that willful blindness is a form of knowledge, and would have required actual knowledge.  This briefing will be conducted by Peter J. Brann, a partner in the law firm of Brann & Isaacson, whose practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, R. Ted Cruz of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and counsel of record for SEB, and William Dunnegan of Dunnegan LLC and counsel of record for Global-Tech Appliances. (more…)

Top 10 Issues for Patent Litigators in 2011

Written by Brandon Baum (Partner at Mayer Brown and Practice Center Contributor).

The end of the year is the time for top 10 lists.  Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 issues for patent litigators in 2011.

10.  Microsoft Corp v. i4i Ltd. Partnership., and the clear and convincing evidence standard where the defendant relies on uncited art.  Will the Supreme Court decide that a lesser burden of proof is required to show invalidity when art was never considered by the USPTO?  If so, this will profoundly change both litigation and prosecution practice.  My favorite possible implication – what presumption applies to a mongrel 103(a) combination of cited and uncited art?  And will the PTO experience a data dump of prior art, if Microsoft prevails?

9.  Global-Tech Appliances v. SEB S.A., and the standard for proving the mental state required for induced infringement.  Whatever language the Supreme Court uses to describe the mental state required to show inducement will send everyone scrambling to prove or disprove the existence of that mental state. (more…)

Supreme Court To Review Standard For Proving Induced Patent Infringement

Written by Brandon Baum (Partner at Mayer Brown and Practice Center Contributor) and Matt Watts[1].

The state of mind requirement for proving induced patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. §  271(b) has been the subject of recent and, according to some, inconsistent opinions from the Federal Circuit. On October 12, 2010, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., WL 2629783 (2010), presumably to resolve the confusion.

Section 271(b) states: “[w]hoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.”  While there are many factual scenarios under which a patentee might pursue an inducement claim rather than or in addition to a direct infringement claim, it is frequently invoked where the act of direct infringement is performed by the end-user of a product.  Under Section 271(b), the patentee need not sue the many end-users of a product who directly infringe, but instead may pursue the entity that sold the product to the end-users. (more…)