- KSR v. Teleflex -- obviousness of inventions
- Cardiac Pacemakers v. St. Jude Med -- 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) does not apply to method claims (although Microsoft argues in terms of § 271(c))
- In re Seagate -- willful infringement
- eBay v. MercExchange -- injunctions in patent cases
In patent cases, even more than most, the trial judge’s role as a gatekeeper is crucial. As gatekeeper, the judge must define the metes and bounds of a patent through claim construction and then ensure that the evidence presented by the parties’ numerous experts is both reliable and rooted in the facts of the case at hand. And after the jury has rendered its verdict, it is the judge who, before allowing that verdict to become an enforceable judgment, must ensure that the verdict is adequately supported by the evidence and supportable under the law. This gatekeeping function is especially important in patent cases because of the delicate balance struck by patent law to achieve its objective of promoting, rather than stifling, innovation. That balance can be lost if the district court does not protect the process, and patent litigation then becomes a tax on innovation rather than its guardian.This case stands as a stark example of what can happen in a patent case when a judge abdicates those gatekeeping functions.* * *By the time the plaintiffs presented their damages case, the district court had abandoned even the semblance of gatekeeping. ...* * *At this point, if the district court had been more faithful to its role as gatekeeper, it should have recognized a trial run amok and interceded to prevent a miscarriage of justice ...
This is not justice. If district courts are free to admit theories of infringement that nullify a patent’s claim terms, specification, prosecution history, and title; if they will allow an inventor to validate his patent by testifying without corroboration that he lied about the date of conception; if they will not intercede to preclude manifestly unreliable—indeed, concededly manipulated—surveys of infringing use, or Georgia-Pacific analyses based on “benchmarks” bearing no rational relationship to the accused product, then patent litigation will be reduced to a free-for-all, unbounded by the requirements of the substantive law or the rules of evidence or trial procedure. While that mode of dispute resolution might enrich some plaintiffs and their investors, it hardly can be said to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8.
- Improper claim construction read a key limitation -- the word "distinct" out of the claims
- The claims are invalid
- Insufficient evidence to support indirect infringement finding
- The $200 million damage award is not "reasonable"
- Awarding an injunction here is improper