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Supreme Court Holds Belief of Patent Invalidity is No Defense to Induced Infringement



May 26, 2015, Arlington, VA, -- Today, the Supreme Court issued a 6-2 decision in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., holding that a defendant's belief that a patent is invalid is no defense to a claim of induced infringement under Section 271(b) of the Patent Act. U.S. No. 13-896, 5/26/2015. 
According to the Court, patent validity and infringement are separate issues under the Patent Act, and therefore "a belief regarding validity cannot negate the scienter required under induced infringement." The opinion was written by Justice Kennedy; Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts; and Justice Breyer was recused. The holding is consistent with the AIPLA amicus brief filed in this case. 
In response to the opinion, AIPLA Executive Director Lisa K. Jorgenson stated:
AIPLA applauds the Court for recognizing the important distinction between the issues of validity and infringement. Allowing a party to avoid a charge of induced infringement based on a belief that a patent is invalid is not only inconsistent with the language of the Patent Act, but also would have undermined the long-standing presumption of validity for issued patents.
Click here to view the Supreme Court's Opinion 
Click here to view AIPLA's Brief
AIPLA, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, was founded in 1897 to maintain a high standard of professional ethics, to aid in the improvement in laws relating to intellectual property and in their proper interpretation by the courts, and to provide legal education to the public and to its members on intellectual property issues. AIPLA is a national bar association constituted primarily of lawyers in private and corporate practice, in government service, and in the academic community. 

Erin Sheehan

Communications Specialist
1 703.412.1315