Here’s the latest.

Sweat the Small Stuff: Lessons of Federal Circuit Damages Cases

Reported by Perry Cooper at Bloomberg Law

Seemingly small issues such as marking, interest accrual, and awards calculation have greatly impacted damages in patent cases before the Federal Circuit. For example, Perry Cooper notes that the Federal Circuit reduced the damages awards in Arctic Cat v. Bombardier Recreational Products (reduction of $28 million) and Packet Intelligence v. NetScout Systems (reduction of $5.75 million) for a failure to mark. However, Cooper also points out that the Federal Circuit deferred to the jury verdicts issued in the district court when less clear standards applied.

The decisions show “how important small things can be,” said Tom Cotter, intellectual property professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who blogs about patent remedies.

Standard Essentiality is a Question for the Fact Finder

Reported by Amol Parikh at the National Law Review

Amol Parikh reviews a recent Federal Circuit decision for its discussion on standard essentiality. The appellant argued that the district court should have ruled during claim construction that all implementations of a standard infringe the claims. However, as Parikh explains, the Federal Circuit stated that a previous decision’s “passing reference” to claim construction only indicates that claim construction occurs first in any infringement analysis. Moreover, the reference does not serve as a statement that the district court must determine essentiality as a matter of law.

The Court also explained that determining standard essentiality of patent claims during claim construction does not make sense from a practical perspective because essentiality is a question about whether the claim elements read onto mandatory portions of a standard that standard-compliant devices must incorporate—an inquiry that is more closely akin to an infringement analysis.

For more information on this case, see our coverage.

The Little Tucker Act is Alive and Well

Reported by Patrick R. Quigley and Lee-Ann C. Brown at Lexology

The Federal Circuit referenced the lesser-known Little Tucker Act (28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2)) in a recent decision. Patrick R. Quigley and Lee-Ann C. Brown point out that the Little Tucker Act provides district courts and the United States Court of Federal Claims with concurrent jurisdiction over non-tort claims against the United States not exceeding $10,000.

Under the Little Tucker Act, claimants with relatively small cases can, by filing their claim in their local district court, spare themselves the time and inconvenience of traveling to Washington, D.C. to appear before the Court of Federal Claims….Conversely, claimants thinking of filing a case at a district court would do well to consider that their local court is less likely to have familiarity with the substantive law governing the case, given that these sorts of claims are typically filed at the Court of Federal Claims.

This jursidictional statute served as the basis for the Federal Circuit’s decision in National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States to affirm the finding of summary judgment by the district court.

In this case, there was jurisdiction because “the illegal exaction claim possesses all the basic elements for Little Tucker Act jurisdiction: a non-tort claim against the United States pursuant to a federal source of law whose violation entitles the plaintiff to money from the government.”

For more information on this case, see our coverage.