What it looks like to win a patent infringement case

by Adam Philipp on March 12, 2009

This is a Portland case, but I thought you’d find it interesting anyway. The plaintiffs, a Portland chain maker called Blount, Inc., sued a handful of defendants for patent infringement. The jury returned a $2m verdict a few days ago, so I thought I’d show you what $2m looks like on a special verdict form.

Oftentimes, the litigants will ask for a “special verdict.” This requires the jury to answer specific questions to determine exactly what their findings of fact were. That is to say, the jury doesn’t just say “you win” or “you lose,” they tell you why. I uploaded it for your review.

What I found particularly interesting is what the jury determined about the level of “ordinary skill in the art.” This was a factual determination they had to make to help determine whether the chain was legally obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103. The jury rejected either the plaintiff’s or defendant’s position on this point, and instead it looks like they took both! They said:

A minimum of three years of technical engineering experience in the design and use of of outdoor power equipment; or a technical education in mechanical engineering and one year of experience in the design of outdoor power equipment and use.

What you’ll likely find more interesting, however, is the bottom line. Notice the plaintiffs are recovering for both royalties and price erosion. Here it is:

Jury's verdict form in Blount

All in all, it looks like the litigants had a thoughtful jury. Here’s the full form:
Blount Verdict Form

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