Important Patent Rulings Likely to be Tested in Practice in 2015

Patent attorneys and intellectual property experts debate the possible changes in the patent laws expected to be made in 2015 after notable rulings made by the US Supreme Court last year.

Patent Infringement rulings made in 2014 will change the way lawsuits are made

In 2015, major changes are expected in patent law as a result of the rulings made by the United States Supreme Court the previous year on patent eligibility, fee shifting, and the nature of claims. In addition, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s post grant review procedures proved widely acceptable while the number of patent infringement claims dropped significantly as Congress showed support for broader reforms.

Changes expected in 2015

While changes are expected in 2015, it is still unclear what exactly they will be and which supervising authority will impose it. The US Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit will have a lot to say, too. The VirnetX v. Cisco decision on patent infringement damages may have a bigger than expected effect. In this case, the Court held that reasonable-royalty damages must consider the portion of the product or sales attributed to the patented feature and not be based on arbitrary rules of thumb.

The growing awareness of the courts and the reforms are making it harder to obtain judgments on nine and ten figure damage awards say patent attorneys across the board.

Squeezing patent holders has become a way of life

The GOP controlled Congress with Obama support and the US International Trade Commission (ITC) are the two unknown factors to watch during the year. The GOP is for wider patent reforms while the ITC is considered a safe haven for patent holders who do not want to stand before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

The Federal Courts under Judge Sharon Post has already begun to apply patent eligibility decisions brought forth in the Alice v. Bank case. According to patent attorneys, this judgment has seen patent cases drop by 33%.  This decision has been applied to a number of cases covering a large number of products.

Again, the GOP is on the right side of history and logic

The Ninth Circuit after hearing the Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Inc observed that court is expected to decide in the coming year how to hand out damages for an essential patent that has been licensed using the FRAND standard, that is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. Like this, decisions made on many of the cases involving large companies, by the different Courts and Commissions are expected to change the way patent damages are dealt with the objective to make future decisions more equitable for business.

2015 ought to be the turning point in the way patent damages are dealt with by the courts. The whole process seems to be transforming into well-oiled machinery with amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to ensure that defendants in patent lawsuits are notified the right away with an infringement notice and other details.

According to some patent attorneys, Bob Goodlatte’s Innovation Act passed by the House of Representatives in 2013 is the best place to start.