The High Cost of a Bad Attitude

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 10/05/2011 - 12:15

You can say what you want about the U.S. patent system and its laws concerning infringement, but it'll cost you - that is, if you're the CEO of a company found liable for patent infringement. (Mondis Technology Ltd v. Chimei InnoLux Corporation et al)

Tuan Hsing-chien, the CEO of computer monitor manufacturer Innolux, was recently quoted as saying that "the issue of patent infringement is being taken too seriously sometimes." He made the remark in an interview with the China Post after a jury awarded Mondis Technology $15 million in June 2011.

Judge T. John Ward of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas disagreed with the jury's finding of willfulness with regard to previous infringement. But the Innolux CEO's disparaging remarks about the American patent system were enough to convince Judge Ward that any subsequent infringement would indeed be willful - so he enhanced the royalty rate for ongoing infringement.

In his ruling, Judge Ward wrote, "The court finds that this statement by InnoLux's CEO shows InnoLux's lack of respect for this court and the jury's verdict. It is also an affront to the United States patent system - a system of constitutional origin. The court, therefore, finds that this also warrants a strong enhancement because it further reflects the egregiousness of InnoLux's conduct."

Lesson to be learned: Best to keep mum about the patent system when you're in the midst of damages calculation. You never know which publications the judge might pick up.

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