Congress Must Eliminate Punitive Damages From Patent Infringement Cases: Awarding Punitive Damages For Willful Patent Infringement Is Unconstitutional, Contradicts Public Policy, And Must Be Stopped. Open Access
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Congress must act now to eliminate punitive damages from patent infringement cases. Absent legislative action, the judicially imposed doctrine of willful patent infringement will continue to erode the Patent Clause. The Federal Circuit refuses to recognize the remedial purpose of increasing patent damages. In the wake of congressional silence, the judiciary fabricated a means to punish an infringer who is objectively reckless in his/her infringing action. Patent infringement is a strict liability tort. There is no culpability standard. The proper key to unlock enhanced damages is not to punish the wrongdoer. Instead, it is to ensure the patentee is adequately compensated for the infringement. This is the public policy behind enhancing patent damages. Yet, the Federal Circuit's willfulness doctrine contradicts public policy, avoids public debate, and creates uncertainty in the patent laws. Public policy demands certainty in the laws that shape our society. Congress must act now to stop the uncertainty surrounding willful patent infringement. Congress must overturn the Federal Circuit's objective recklessness standard by eliminating the enhancement damages provision in section 284. Without congressional action, the Federal Circuit will continue to unconstitutionally impose punitive damages.