Knorr-Bremse does not Preclude Inference of Reckless Behavior for Failure to Obtain Opinion

AIPLATalk060Golden Blount v. Robert H. Peterson Co. (Fed. Cir. 2006, 04–1609).  

Opinions of Counsel: This case holds that Knorr-Bremse does not prevent a court from finding that a defendant was at least reckless by obtaining an oral noninfringement opinion but failing to obtain a written opinion.  Rather, Knorr-Bremse only precludes an inference that an undisclosed written opinion would have been negative.

Damages: The defendant here was on the hook for contributory infringement — actual infringement occurred when customers assembled the fireplaces.  On damages, the CAFC partially reversed the lower court’s ruling.  The appellate panel found that lost-profit damages must be reduced by any products that were returned to the defendant without being opened by the customer — because in those cases the underlying direct infringement never occurred.


Filed Briefs:

One thought on “Knorr-Bremse does not Preclude Inference of Reckless Behavior for Failure to Obtain Opinion

  1. 1

    I had thought it had become harder to win on willfullness, once the CAFC eliminated the adverse inference. Here, the defendant had a oral opinion of non-infringement and anecdotal statements of prior public use – but, they were held to have infringed willfully. The ‘bad actor’ aspect seems missing. Rather, it seems that this deft just didn’t take the infringement claim seriously enough. Does this affirmance rest upon a deferential standard of review, or a liberalization of the proof needed to show willfulness?

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