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Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Docket No.: 13-896
Certiorari Granted: December 5, 2014
Argued: March 31, 2015
Decided: May 26, 2015

Topic:

patent

PartyNames: Commil USA, LLC, Petitioner v. Cisco Systems, Inc.
Petitioner: Commil Usa, LLC
Respondent: Cisco Systems, Inc.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Citation: 720 F.3d 1361
Supreme Court Docket

Commil Usa, LLC
v.
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Background:

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).

Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 1 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION. JUSTICE BREYER TOOK NO PART.

Question Presented:

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."

Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.
ORAL ARGUMENT

March 31, 2015

Listen to Oral Argument in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.
Holding: VACATED AND REMANDED (SB no part)
Vote: 5-3
Majority: Kennedy, Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Thomas
Dissenting: Scalia,Roberts,Chief Justice
Recused: Breyer
Opinion By:
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