December 1, 2021

Volume XI, Number 335

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Federal Circuit Clarifies That There Is Not a Heightened Standard for Willful Infringement

In SRI Int’l, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., No. 2020-1685 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2021), the Federal Circuit reinstated the jury’s willful infringement verdict and restored the district court’s award of enhanced damages.

In the first appeal for this case, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s denial of judgment of a matter of law of no willful infringement and enhanced damages award.  On remand, the district court vacated the jury’s verdict of willful infringement finding that Cisco’s conduct did not rise to the level of “wanton, malicious, and bad-faith behavior.” Finding no willful infringement, the district court declined to reinstate its previously vacated award of enhanced damages.

In this appeal, the Federal Circuit reinstated the jury’s willfulness verdict, finding that substantial evidence supported the jury’s verdict. In doing so, the Court clarified the distinction between conduct warranting enhanced damages and the lesser standard of willful infringement. Willful infringement requires “no more than deliberate or intentional infringement.” Enhanced damages, however, are reserved for “wanton, malicious, and bad-faith behavior.” The Federal Circuit also restored the district court’s original award of enhanced damages, finding the award appropriate in view of the reinstated verdict of willful infringement and detecting no abuse of discretion in the original decision.

© 2021 Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 274
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About this Author

Daniel M. Jordan IP Lawyer Finnegan Law Firm
Associate

Daniel Jordan focuses on patent prosecution and litigation across the mechanical and electrical arts. He represents clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and various district courts. 

Daniel drafts and prosecutes patent applications for a range of technologies, including hydraulic systems, water treatment, computer networks, cybersecurity, financial services and business systems, and data analysis. He also has experience in numerous aspects of litigation, including pre-litigation investigations, discovery, conducting...

571-203-2471
Caitlin O’Connell Intellectual Property Litigation Attorney Finnegan Law Firm
Associate

Caitlin O’Connell focuses her practice on patent litigation and client counseling in the areas of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, with particular emphasis on Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) cases.

Caitlin is involved in all phases of litigation, including pre-litigation analysis, claim construction, fact discovery, expert discovery, and trial. Caitlin’s litigation experience includes drafting pleadings, preparing fact and corporate witnesses for depositions, coordinating discovery, working with experts to develop infringement and validity positions, preparing expert...

202 408 4004
Elizabeth Ferrill Patent Attorney Finnegan Law Firm
Partner

Elizabeth Ferrill is an “undisputed expert on design patents” who is “always updated and enlightening others with her deep knowledge,” “very involved in the design bar,” and “gives her clients an outstanding service” as noted in Intellectual Asset Management Patent 1000. She focuses her practice on all aspects of design patents, including prosecution, counseling, post-grant, and litigation.

Elizabeth counsels clients who hold design patents as well as those accused of infringement. She has experience with design patents related to consumer and industrial products, medical...

202 408 4445
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