The Halo Effect: More Jury Trials On Willfulness

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Law360, New York (August 1, 2016, 11:50 AM ET) -- Patent holders have faced a number of new challenges to successfully enforce their patent rights over the last several years. The creation and implementation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and inter partes review process and the aggressive interpretation of Alice regarding § 101 are two primary examples. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Halo Electronics Inc. v. Pulse Electronics Inc., however, signifies one of the few changes that swing the pendulum in favor of patent holders. In Halo, the Supreme Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s two-prong test for willful infringement as “unduly rigid,” and instead opted for a standard based only on the “subjective willfulness of a patent infringer.” District court judges have already recognized that Halo has lessened their role in willfulness determinations — whether on a motion for summary judgment or motion for judgment as a matter of law. This Halo effect, therefore, has increased the role juries play in the determination of willful infringement.

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