On February 23, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics, which was consolidated with Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer. Both of these cases involved claims of patent infringement relating to the sale or marketing of various inventions. Both also involved a determination by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that an award of enhanced damages for infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 284 was not appropriate, after applying the Circuit’s two-part objective/subjective test for willful or bad-faith infringement set forth in In re Seagate Tech., LLC.
The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Federal Circuit’s refusal to allow enhanced damages absent a finding of willfulness under its two-part test contravenes the plain meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 284, given the Supreme Court’s recent rejection of an analogous framework imposed on 35 U.S.C. § 285, the statute providing for attorneys' fee awards in exceptional cases.
To discuss the case, we have Gregory Dolin who is Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Medicine and Law at University of Baltimore School of Law.