The Supreme Court in WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. opened a new door to recover for patent damages in its holding that a patent owner can recover damages for patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. §271(f)(2) and §284 of lost foreign profits. The Patent Act outlines several ways an alleged infringer may be liable for patent infringement, including §271(f) which “expands the definition of infringement to include supplying from the United States a patented invention’s components.” 35 U.S.C. §284 authorizes “damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, but in no event less than a reasonable royalty for the use made of the invention by the infringer.” In this case, WesternGeco developed technology for surveying the ocean floor for oil and gas companies. ION Geophysical Corp. sold a competing system where the components were manufactured in the United States and shipped abroad. The Southern District of Texas found that ION Geophysical Corporation infringed WesternGeco’s patents, and that WesternGeco lost specific contracts due to ION’s infringement. The district court awarded $93.4 million in lost profits and $12.5 million in royalties. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the award of lost-profit damages following its precedent in Power Integrations, Inc....
A recent non-published case from the District Court of New Jersey serves as a reminder that navigating the damages phase of patent infringement is just as important as proving liability. In Unicom Monitoring, LLC v. Cencom, Inc., Judge Cooper court denied the patent owner damages despite the fact that it succeeded in proving infringement. The patent at issue covered a device for rerouting alarm reports through a telephone line. Defendant Cencom was found to infringe claim 1 of the patent. Before the trial on Unicom’s damages, Cencom moved for summary judgment to dismiss Unicom’s damages claim because it failed to present expert evidence. Cencom also moved for summary judgment on injunctive relief because Unicom failed to establish its burden under the factors articulated by the Supreme Court in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC. Cencom argued that the only proof Unicom provided supporting Unicom’s reasonable royalty position was attorney argument, Cencom’s sales records, and statements from Unicom’s owners. The Court held that while expert testimony is not required to prove reasonable royalties, it agreed with Cencom that Unicom failed to establish competent proof to support its claim.
PhatRat’s Helmet Impact Technology Patent Suit in N.D. Illinois — Considerations For Defendant Riddell
In PhatRat Technology, LLC v. Riddell, PhatRat, the purported exclusive licensee of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,386,401 and 7,693,668 relating to helmet impact reporting technology (“the PhatRat patents”), sued sporting goods manufacturer Riddell in the Northern District of Illinois for infringement of the PhatRat patents. The PhatRat patents issued in June 2008 and April 2010, respectively.