Saturday, December 6, 2014

Supreme Court - Commil USA, LLC. v. Cisco Systems - Is Defendant's Good Faith Belief of Patent Invalidity A Defense to Induced Infringement?

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court granted Commil's petition for certiorari to review the Federal Circuit decision in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems Inc.. There the Federal Circuit held a defendant's good-faith belief a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement under 35 USC § 271(b). The Federal Circuit stated it could "see no principled distinction between a good-faith belief of invalidity and a good faith belief of non-infringement for the purpose of whether a defendant possessed the specific intent to induce infringement of a patent."

Generally, a defendant can be liable for actively inducing (encouraging) infringement: (1) if the party induced directly infringes a patent claim; and (2) if the defendant has specific, knowing intent to encourage infringement of the patent claim which is more than intent to cause acts later held to infringe. Intent can be proven through circumstantial evidence or deliberate indifference to a known risk a patent exists.

Cisco Systems' brief in opposition

Solicitor General's brief

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