Judge: Nash Bargaining Is No Solution for Patent Damages

Brandon Baum of Baum Legal and Practice Center Contributor, sent in this article discussing the “Nash 50 Percent Rule” and patentees recent attempt to use the rule to support it’s damages claim in it’s patent infringement case.  Is the Nash Bargaining Solution stronger and more defensible than the “25 Percent Rule”?

In Uniloc v. Microsoft, the Federal Circuit rejected the so-called “25 Percent Rule of Thumb” that suggested that in a hypothetical negotiation over reasonable royalties, a good starting point is to assume a profit split of 25% to the patentee and 75% to the infringer.  Although the Federal Circuit did not say it, it has been assumed by many that the problem with the 25 Percent Rule was that it gave too much to the patentee — resulting in excessive damage awards.  Indeed, it was Microsoft complaining about the use of the “Rule” on appeal, not Uniloc.

Patentees, however, are a clever and resilient bunch who always view the glass as half full.  Since the Federal Circuit found that the 25 Percent Rule was not sufficiently grounded in science, patentees sought a replacement that was stronger and more defensible — and many have turned to the Nash Bargaining Solution. The Nash Bargaining Solution is a mathematical proof of what any parent of two children knows; in a two person bargaining scenario, the optimal split that the parties will eventually agree upon is 50-50.  For this, Nash won a Nobel Prize.  ”Eureka!,” said patentees.  ”We will replace the unproven and now-rejected 25 Percent Rule with Nash’s Nobel Prize-winning 50 Percent Rule!” (more…)

Patentees Rejoice — But Will Therasense Stand?


The following post comes courtesy of Brandon Baum, of Baum Legal and Practice Center Contributor.

The Federal Circuit’s split decision in Therasense is being hailed by some as the end to the “absolute plague” of inequitable conduct claims in patent cases. After all, the decision raises the bar for proving inequitable conduct. But before the champagne goes flat and the confetti is swept away, the Therasense case may prove to have been exactly the wrong horse for patentees to ride.

The problem with the majority decision in Therasense is that it is long on policy, short on the facts. In the ivory towers of the Federal Circuit (which does not have the usual diet of criminal cases, fraud cases, and other bad conduct), the fact that patent prosecutors are frequently accused of acting inequitably to obtain patents is unseemly. To the rest of the world, of course, the news that lawyers and/or inventors might try to “game the system” for financial advantage is purely “dog bites man.” (more…)