Enhanced Patent Damages: The "Halo Effect"
Robert W. Payne
Payne IP Law
Few areas in intellectual property law have suffered more ninety-degree turns than the subject of enhanced patent damages. On June 13, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court set the newest course in a dramatic fashion – in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc.1 and its companion case, Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc.2 Federal Circuit bright-line authority was rejected.
If found liable in a patent infringement case, an infringer may be enjoined from activity, and may also be liable for damages. Damages may be actual damages proved by the plaintiff, but in no case may they be less than a reasonable royalty.3 Under certain circumstances, the Court may enhance damages up to a trebling of the underlying damage amount.4 This is set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 284, which provides: