Las Vegas, NV, June 13, 2016 – HALO Electronics, Inc. won a groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court case on June 13, 2016, in its nine-year patent litigation with Pulse Electronics, Inc. (Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.). The Supreme Court ruled, in a unanimous decision by Chief Justice Roberts, that the current legal test for increased damages (called the Seagate test) is not consistent with Section 284 of the Patent Act. The decision will make it easier for courts to award enhanced damages in cases of egregious behavior by the infringer.
HALO had argued that the test for enhanced damages was too rigid and that judges should instead have discretion to decide when to award enhanced damages. The Court agreed and noted, “The principal problem with Seagate’s two-part test is that it requires a finding of objective recklessness in every case before district courts may award enhanced damages. Such a threshold requirement excludes from discretionary punishment many of the most culpable offenders, such as the ‘wanton and malicious pirate’ who intentionally infringes another’s patent—with no doubts about its validity or any notion of a defense—for no purpose other than to steal the patentee’s business.”
“We are thrilled with the Supreme Court’s decision. HALO came up with a truly innovative idea that larger companies, like Pulse, decided to copy. This win means that all patent owners – no matter how big or small – can better protect themselves from patent infringers and can be assured that infringers will be held accountable for their egregious conduct,” said Jeffrey Heaton, Vice President of HALO Electronics.
HALO won at trial on November 26, 2012, with the jury finding that Pulse willfully infringed eight claims of three HALO patents. The district court ordered Pulse to pay HALO damages and issued a permanent injunction. On October 22, 2014, the Federal Circuit to affirm findings that HALO’s patents were both valid and infringed by Pulse, and rejected Pulse’s argument that the inventions were invalid. The Court also affirmed a non-infringement finding for HALO on a Pulse patent.
HALO is represented by Fish & Richardson P.C. Fish principals William Woodford and Tom Melsheimer were co-lead trial counsel in the case. The appeals were handled by William Woodford, Craig Countryman, Michael Kane, and John Dragseth.
“The jury evaluated Pulse’s behavior and determined that its infringement was willful. But the Seagate test forced the district court to focus on Pulse’s trial defenses rather than Pulse’s conduct at the time it decided to infringe HALO’s patents. The new Supreme Court standard rightfully shifts the focus back to Pulse’s infringing behavior,” added Fish principal William Woodford. “We look forward to returning to the district court to hold Pulse accountable.”
HALO’s patented technology has been widely used in the industry. Several of HALO’s competitors licensed HALO’s patent portfolio. Each of these competitors paid HALO royalties for the right to continue selling components using HALO’s innovative design.
About HALO Electronics
HALO is a privately held business that was founded in 1991. The company is based in Las Vegas and is a leading global supplier of communication and low power management magnetics for the electronics industry. HALO’s patented packaging technology houses magnetic components that are commonly found in computers, routers, and other electronic devices.
About Fish & Richardson
Fish & Richardson is a global patent, intellectual property (IP) litigation, and commercial litigation law firm with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists across the U.S. and Europe. Fish has been named the #1 patent litigation firm in the U.S. for 13 consecutive years and is one of the busiest post-grant firms, representing more petitioners at the PTAB than any other firm. Fish has been winning cases worth billions in controversy – often by making new law – for the most innovative clients and influential industry leaders since 1878. For more information, visit www.fr.com.
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