On February 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in the consolidated cases of Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., No. 14-1520 and Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., No. 14-1513. The principal issue that these cases present is of widespread interest: when is it appropriate for a trial court to award enhanced damages once patent infringement liability is established?
The oral argument suggested that the Justices are by no means unanimous on seeking to entirely vitiate the existing Federal Circuit standard, so as to accord district courts broad discretion to award enhanced damages. At the same time, the Justices seemed to have not yet clearly resolved how to accommodate the competing interests of patent holders and competitors in an alternative standard that would be more in line with the governing statute.
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