U.S. Supreme Court Issues a Trio of Patent Opinions


The Supreme Court has handed down three opinions that relate to patent issues. In Global-Tech v. SEB, ____ U.S. ____ (2011), the Court issued a new standard for establishing inducement of infringement; in Stanford v. Roche, ___ U.S. ___ (2011), the Court addressed ownership issues surrounding federally funded patents; and in Microsoft v. i4i, ___ U.S. ___ (2011), the Court considered a challenge to the burden of proof needed for rebutting the statutory presumption of validity.

Global-Tech v. SEB

Writing for an 8-1 majority, Justice Alito delivered the Court’s opinion, which held that “willful blindness” is sufficient to establish the knowledge requirement when asserting that a party “actively induces infringement of a patent” under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b). In adopting the “willful blindness test,” the Court departed somewhat from the previous standard of “deliberate indifference.”

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