Federal Circuit Opens Door to New Defense to Inducing Infringement


On June 25, 2013, the Federal Circuit issued a significant decision expanding the scope of evidence that alleged infringers may present to rebut allegations of inducement. Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Sys., Inc., No. 2012-1042 (Fed. Cir. Jun. 25, 2013). A majority of the panel ruled that evidence of an infringer’s good-faith belief that the asserted patent is invalid is relevant to inducement. Overturning a finding of inducement and setting aside a US$74 million jury verdict, Judge Prost concluded that while “…we appear to have not previously determined whether a good-faith belief of invalidity may negate the requisite intent for induced infringement. We now hold that it may.” Slip op. at 9.

Background -

Commil USA, LLC (“Commil”) initially filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas alleging that Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) directly and indirectly infringed US Patent No. 6,430,395 (the “’395 patent”). The ’395 patent discloses a method for managing wireless networks by dividing the communication protocol to improve the speed and reliability of handoffs between mobile base stations. The ’395 patent’s method enables mobile device users to maintain wireless connectivity when moving between mobile base stations within a network...

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