July 14, 2015

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Wyche Inside IP
By Wallace K. Lightsey

In the last Wyche Inside IP, in the spirit of the “March Madness” then happening in NCAA basketball, I hazarded predictions of the results of two patent cases that were to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 31.

How did I do?  About the same as my basketball bracket.

In Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., the issue was whether a defendant’s good-faith belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to a claim of induced infringement.  I predicted that the Court would side with the defendant and hold that a good faith belief of invalidity is a defense in an induced infringement case.  I got that wrong – the Court held that since determinations of infringement are separate and different from determinations of invalidity, liability for induced infringement cannot be avoided simply by believing the patent in question is invalid.

In Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., the Court examined whether it should overturn a previous decision by it (Brulotte v. Thys Co.) that a patent licensee’s obligations are absolved after the patent expires, and that a patent holder’s attempt to collect royalties after expiration constitutes patent misuse.  I got that one right – I predicted that the Court would reaffirm Brulotte, and it did.
So, I was 50/50 – actually better than my usual NCAA bracket predictions.