In This Issue:
Knowledge Required For Induced Infringement, But It May Be Established Via Willful Blindness; Patent Invalidity Defenses Must Always Be Proven By “Clear And Convincing Evidence”; Federal Circuit Streamlines Rules for Contempt Proceedings for Designing Around an Injunction; and Federal Circuit to Revisit “Control or Direction” Standard for Joint Infringement.
Knowledge Required For Induced Infringement, But It May Be Established Via Willful Blindness: In Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S. Ct. 2060 (2011), the Supreme Court held that knowledge is the applicable standard for imposing liability under Section 271(b) of the Patent Act, which concisely provides that “[w]hoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.” Of equal importance, it held that the willful blindness doctrine (developed in criminal cases) can be applied to establish knowledge in civil patent infringement cases.
Global-Tech reverse-engineered an SEB-patented deep fryer to make and market a competing deep fryer, but argued that it did not “actively” induce infringement because it was unaware of SEB’s patent and also had obtained a legal opinion that it had a right to use its product (albeit, without informing its attorney that Global-Tech had copied SEB’s commercially available fryer). SEB responded that Global-Tech’s re-engineering of the SEB fryer was sufficient to support a claim of active inducement.
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