From the Alliance

Jun. 17, 2016

Innovation Alliance Statement on Supreme Court Decision Giving Judges Greater Discretion to Award Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement

Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., consolidated with Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., which overturned a Federal Circuit rule restricting enhanced damage awards in patent infringement cases:

“The Innovation Alliance commends the Supreme Court for overturning a Federal Circuit rule that restricted enhanced damage awards in patent infringement cases.  The Court appropriately found that judges should have discretion to award enhanced damages in any ‘egregious’ case in which the infringer acted willfully or in bad faith.

“The decision is important because it expressly acknowledges that infringers are capable of abusive conduct with respect to patents, and that such abuse can do serious harm to the patent owner’s property rights and business.  The decision also restores crucial disincentives against infringement, without which serial patent theft becomes a rational and efficient business strategy (i.e., ‘efficient infringement’).  The decision properly makes purposeful infringement riskier and potentially more costly and restores discretion to award enhanced damages to the trial judge, where it belongs.

“The Court’s decision does not, as some have suggested, encourage frivolous patent litigation.  The decision clearly limits enhanced damages to ‘egregious’ cases, consistent with nearly two hundred years of Supreme Court jurisprudence.  Moreover, the ruling’s potential impact on litigation is necessarily limited by the Court’s decisions in Octane Fitness and Highmark, which give district courts discretion to award attorney’s fees in frivolous cases.  This decision attempts to restore balance to the patent system by discouraging frivolous litigation by defendants and plaintiffs alike.

“The Innovation Alliance is hopeful that this decision marks a turning point, and the courts, the Congress, and USPTO begin to restore the critical patent rights that are so important to American innovation and job creation and that have been lost over the last decade.  At the same time, we will continue to support common sense reforms that penalize bad conduct and abusive litigation without restricting the ability of patent holders to defend their innovations.”


The Innovation Alliance represents innovators, patent owners and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries that believe in the critical importance of maintaining a strong patent system that supports innovative enterprises of all sizes. Innovation Alliance members can be found in large and small communities across the country, helping to fuel the innovation pipeline and drive the 21st century economy. Learn more at

Contact: Kris Fetterman, (202) 827-9672,