Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Federal Circuit Vacates Judgment of Compensatory and Enhanced Damages

The case is Omega Patents, LLC v. CalAmp Corp., and the opinion is by Judge Dyk (joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Wallach).  The case is factually complex, involving four patents relating to motor vehicle compatibility systems. Suffice for our purposes to note that the jury found all four patents valid and either directly or indirectly infringed, but on the question of infringement the Federal Circuit reverses as to all but one claim of one single patent.  (There will be a remand for new trial as to the other three.)  As a result, the court vacates the compensatory damages award of $2.98 million, reasoning that the evidence wasn't clear that the one patent CalAmp directly infringed could sustain a $2.98 million award.  ("There is no evidence to support a finding of infringement of more than some unidentified subset of the accused CalAmp devices where the necessary scripts were installed. . .  Such evidence cannot support an award of damages with respect to all of CalAmp's devices" (p.20).)  The court also vacates the willfulness finding, with respect to which the jury was asked whether "CalAmp willfully 'infringed a valid patent,' without specifying which patent or patents or which claim or claims were willfully infringed" (p.20).  Finally, the court concludes that the court erred in excluding testimony from a CalAmp executive regarding his state of mind, and of CalAmp's outside counsel, noting with respect to the latter that "an accused infringer's reliance on an opinion of counsel regarding noninfringement or invalidity of the asserted patents remains relevant to the infringer's state of mind post-Halo" (p.24).

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