Commil USA v. Cisco Systems: Supreme Court Refuses to Permit Defendants Asserting Subjective Determination of Unpatentability to Defeat Induced Infringement

The U.S. Supreme Court’s May 25, 2015 decision in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc. continued its refinement of induced infringement law started in last year’s Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A. (2014) case.  Here, the Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s holding that a defendant accused of inducing infringement could advance evidence of a “good faith belief” that the patent was invalid as a defense.  The Court based its decision on its perception that Congress had intended to separate what it required to show infringement and what evidence can be advanced as a defense to an infringement accusation.  The decision is significant because the Court expressly stated that this dichotomy extends not only to inducement of infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) but also to literal infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) and contributory infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(c).  In reaching its decision the Court also clarified its Global Tech decision to require not only knowledge of the patent but also knowledge that the inducers acts would be infringing. The Court also based its decision on its apprehension that, should subjective albeit good faith belief that a patent is invalid be permitted to be adduced as evidence regarding infringement, the presumption of validity under 35 U.S.C. § 283 would be undermined. 

This Practising Law Institute webcast briefing will be conducted by MBHB partner Dr. Kevin E. Noonan.  

Specific topics covered by this briefing will include: 

  • A review of the statutory history, case law, and legal proceedings leading up to these decisions

  • The Supreme Court’s rejection of the government’s reasoning in an amicus brief regarding what is required to establish scienter for inducement of infringement under Global Tech

  • The Supreme Court’s agreement with Judge Newman’s dissent in the Federal Circuit’s decision

  • The potential impact of these decisions on future patent litigations and appeals

  • The significance of the Court’s dicta regarding patent trolls


View details here