Stuart Duncan Smith

Stuart Duncan Smith assists the firm in the areas of patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright litigation.

Recent Posts

Halo v. Pulse Shifts Focus of Willful Infringement Back to Infringing Conduct

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Nov 15, 2016

Stuart Duncan Smith

In patent litigation, a judge may enhance damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 after the defendant is found to have willfully infringed. The question of willfulness was traditionally evaluated with the Seagate test. Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. changed the test for willful infringement, giving new reason to think carefully when confronted with a competitor’s patent.

What This Means to You

  • This case changed the test for willful infringement by eliminating the defense of simply formulating during litigation a reasonable argument that the patent is invalid or not infringed.
  • Under the new test, willfulness is determined based on the infringer’s conduct at the time of infringement, and so care is needed when evaluating a competitor’s patents. An early understanding about why the patents are invalid or not infringed remains an important defense against a willfulness charge.
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Federal Circuit Defers Questions on Forum Shopping to Congress

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Aug 18, 2016

Stuart Duncan Smith

Patent owners have long sought to file suit in the district court that offers the best chance of a favorable outcome, even if neither party has an established place of business in the court’s district. In In re Heartland, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed its rule tolerating so-called “forum shopping” and deferred to Congress as the appropriate entity to decide whether to rewrite the rule.

What This Means to You

  • This case affirms that a patent owner may still typically sue a company for patent infringement in any judicial district where the company’s goods are distributed.
  • This case may motivate Congress to act to curtail the practice of forum shopping, which has concentrated most patent litigation in a small handful of district courts.
  • This case presents a number of issues that the Supreme Court may wish to review.

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Wolf Greenfield's CAFC Blog

Here, Wolf Greenfield attorneys summarize and identify key takeaways from recent patent law cases decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. View past case summaries here.

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This blog is intended to promote thought and debate on developing areas of the law. The opinions, commentary and characterizations of cases provided on this blog are not legal advice and do not represent the opinions of Wolf Greenfield or its clients.