Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.


Question(s) Presented

“Section 284 of the Patent Act provides that, in a case of infringement, courts ‘may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed.’ 35 U.S.C. § 284. In In re Seagate Technology, LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (2007) (en banc), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit adopted a two-part test for determining when a district court may increase damages pursuant to § 284. Under Seagate, a patent owner must first ‘show by clear and convincing evidence that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent.’ Id., at 1371. Second, the patentee must demonstrate, again by clear and convincing evidence, that the risk of infringement ‘was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.’ Ibid. The question before us is whether this test is consistent with § 284.”


“We hold that it is not. . . . Section 284 gives district courts the discretion to award enhanced damages against those guilty of patent infringement. In applying this discretion, district courts are ‘to be guided by [the] sound legal principles’ developed over nearly two centuries of application and interpretation of the Patent Act. Martin [v. Franklin Capital Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 139 (2005)] (internal quotation marks omitted). Those principles channel the exercise of discretion, limiting the award of enhanced damages to egregious cases of misconduct beyond typical infringement. The Seagate test, in contrast, unduly confines the ability of district courts to exercise the discretion conferred on them.”

Posts About this Case

Proceedings and Orders
February 23, 2016