U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2014 Term

Oral Argument Date

March 31, 2015

Lower Court Opinion

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Questions Presented

Commil holds a patent teaching a method to implement short-range wireless networks. At trial, the jury returned a verdict that Commil’s patent was valid, that Cisco directly infringed but did not induce infringement, and awarded damages. Because Cisco’s counsel invoked stereotypes about Commil’s Jewish owner and inventors during trial, the district court found the verdict “inconsistent with substantial justice” and ordered a new trial on inducement and damages only. At the second trial, the jury returned a verdict that Cisco induced infringement and awarded damages. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded for a third trial on two grounds. First, although Commil’s patent is valid, the Federal Circuit held that Cisco’s “good faith belief” that the patent was invalid is a defense to induced infringement. Second, although Cisco had actual knowledge of Commil’s patent, the Federal Circuit held that this Court’s opinion in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S. Ct. 2060 (2011) rendered erroneous and prejudicial the jury instruction based on DSU Medical Corp. v. JMS Co., 471 F.3d 1293 (Fed. Cir. 2006).

The questions presented are:
1. Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant’s belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b).
2. Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., 131 S. Ct. 2060 (2011) required retrial on the issue of intent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) where the jury (1) found the defendant had actual knowledge of the patent and (2) was instructed that “[i]nducing third-party infringement cannot occur unintentionally.”

Case Updates

U.S. Supreme Court declares belief of patent validity is not a defense to an induced infringement claim

May 26, 2015

In its opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a defendant’s belief regarding patent validity is not a defense to an induced infringement claim. The case is vacated and remanded to the appeals court.

Case Documents