Imperium IP Holdings (Cayman), Ltd.., v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al. (Supreme Court 2019)
This case implicates fundamental questions about the proper roles of the jury and the court. After a six-day trial, a jury found that Respondent Samsung willfully infringed Petitioner Imperium’s patent rights. In reaching that verdict, the jury found that Samsung had failed to carry its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the relevant patent claims were invalid. Following post-trial proceedings, including an award of treble damages plus attorney’s fees in light of Samsung’s willful infringement and litigation misconduct, the district court entered judgment for over $22 million on the patent claims at issue.
The Federal Circuit reversed, however, holding that Samsung was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on invalidity because the jury was required to accept the purportedly credible, “unrebutted,” and “uncontradicted” testimony of Samsung’s paid expert. The court of appeals reached that holding only after performing its own assessment of Samsung’s expert’s credibility and ignoring numerous other facts that could have led a reasonable jury to discount the value of this witness’s testimony.
The question presented is
whether an appellate court may reverse a jury verdict based on its own view that expert testimony was credible, “unrebutted,” and “uncontradicted,” or instead whether the Seventh Amendment requires the jury to make determinations about credibility and the weight of the evidence in determining whether a party has properly carried its burden of proof.