February 16, 2006

Golden Blount, Inc., v. Robert H. Peterson Co. (Fed. Cir. 2006)

On February 15, 2006, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the district court's determination of willful infringement and attorney's fees, vacating the damages award for reconsideration, in a case discussing in part the impact of a thorough written infringement opinion. The district court ordered a ~$1.3M damages award (trebled) and just over $600k in legal fees for Peterson's willful infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,988,159 ("Gas-fired artificial logs and coals-burner assembly"), and the determination of willful infringement was upheld. The court stated that Peterson was on actual notice of the patent 2 1/2 years prior to obtaining any written opinion of counsel regarding infringement, noting that the oral opinions received by Peterson were neither based on a review of the actual accused device nor the prosecution history of the patent. This opinion contains reference case law on appellate review of infringement, willfulness, damages, and attorney's fees, and contains a discussion on the effect of the quality of the opinion received.

The Federal Circuit decision: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 5,988,159: LINK


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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