A federal appeals court has upheld a district court’s $11.9 million boost to a patent infringement damages award, including an increase for defendants’ post-verdict infringement even though the plaintiff did not initially bring a willful infringement claim.
On March 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed several rulings by now-retired Eastern District of Texas Judge T. John Ward.
The ruling in SynQor Inc. v. Artesyn Technologies Inc. affirms damages of more than $95 million for SynQor and enhanced damages of 1.75 times the defendants’ post-verdict sales. Ward tacked on $5.5 million in pre-verdict supplemental damages and $6.4 million in enhanced post-verdict damages, for a total of about $11.9 million.
The Federal Circuit affirmed Ward’s December 2010 partial summary judgment of infringement for SynQor against nine power converter manufacturers concerning five patents.
The defendants made intermediate bus converters and sold them in foreign markets.
It also affirmed Ward’s August 2011 denial of the defendants’ motions for judgment as a matter of law or new trial following the jury’s verdict for SynQor and the lost-profits damages award.
The ruling also upheld a little over $500,000 in supplemental damages and $500,000 in civil contempt sanctions against Delta Electronics Inc.
In addition, the Federal Circuit affirmed Ward’s July 2011 award of supplemental and enhanced damages for the defendants’ post-trial infringement.
The patents in the case are used with high-efficiency power converter systems that convert direct current from one voltage level to another. The technology is used to power circuits in telecommunication and data communication equipment and large computer systems.
Chief Judge Randall Rader wrote the opinion, joined by Judge Alan Lourie and District of Colorado Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel, who heard the case by designation.
Rader matter-of-factly reviewed the facts to conclude that the evidence supported Ward’s partial summary judgment ruling, the jury’s findings and Ward’s denial of the judgment as a matter of law motion.
Rader also affirmed the jury instructions and the jury’s conclusion that the defendants knew of a particular SynCor patent before the lawsuit.
On the damages ruling, Rader upheld the jury’s reliance on SynQor’s theory, based on the price it could have charged for its intermediate bus converters "but for" the price erosion caused by the defendants’ infringement.
"The court’s enhancement of damages was squarely based on a recognition of Defendants’ willful infringement and the enhancement therefore was proper under [the section of the U.S. Patent Code concerning patent damages]," Rader said.
He continued, "This court also sees no reason why SynQor’s decision not to argue pre-verdict willful infringement at trial should preclude the district court from finding willful infringement for post-verdict sales."
Carter Phillips, the managing partner of Sidley Austin’s Washington office, who argued for SynCor, said "the client is absolutely ecstatic."
"It’s a matter of defendants not respecting both the jury verdict and the intellectual property of SynQor which was found by the jury to be valid and infringed," said lead trial lawyer, Thomas Rein, a global co-chair of Sidley’s intellectual property practice who also heads Sidley’s Chicago intellectual property group.
Donald Dunner, a partner at Washington’s Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner who argued for Artesyn and Astec America Inc., said "my clients have no comment at this time."
Andrew Pincus, a Washington partner at Chicago’s Mayer Brown who argued for Bel Fuse Inc., Delta Electronics, Delta Products Corp. and Power-One Inc. could not be reached for comment.
Alan Smith, a Boston partner at Fish & Richardson who argued for Murata Electronics North America Inc. and related companies and other Fish lawyers on the case declined to comment.
Sheri Qualters can be contacted at email@example.com.