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Docket No.: 14-1520
Certiorari Granted: October 19, 2015
Consolidated with: 14-1513


patent, willfulness

PartyNames: Stryker Corporation, et al. v. Zimmer, Inc., et al.
Petitioner: Stryker Corporation, et al.
Respondent: Zimmer, Inc., et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Citation: 782 F.3d 649
Supreme Court Docket

Stryker Corporation, et al.
Zimmer, Inc., et al.

The Patent Act provides that district courts "may increase ... damages up to three times the amount found or assessed." 35 U.S.C. $ 284. Despite this permissive and discretionary language, the Federal Circuit requires, as a prerequisite to awarding enhanced damages under $ 284, that a patentee prove by clear and convincing evidence that infringement was "willful," meaning both that (1) there was an objectively high likelihood that the infringer's actions constituted infringement, and (2) this likelihood was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer.

Question Presented:

1. Has the Federal Circuit improperly abrogated the plain meaning of 35 U.S.C. $ 284 by forbidding any award of enhanced damages unless there is a finding of willfulness under a rigid, two-part test, when this Court recently rejected an analogous framework imposed on 35 U.S.C. $ 285, the statute providing for attorneys' fee awards in exceptional cases? 2. Does a district court have discretion under 35 U.S.C. $ 284 to award enhanced damages where an infringer intentionally copied a direct competitor's patented invention, knew the invention was covered by multiple patents, and made no attempt to avoid infringing the patents on that invention?

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Case Documents

1Questions Presented in STRYKER CORP. v. ZIMMER