The Federal Circuit on Tuesday upheld a California jury’s finding that crosswalk signal maker Campbell Co. willfully infringed rival Polara Engineering’s patent, but the appellate court erased a $1 million enhanced damages award after concluding it wasn’t fully explained by the lower judge.
The circuit panel agreed with the jury’s June 2016 decision that Polara’s patent wasn’t invalidated by prior art or the fact that the company tested out the system publicly more than a year before submitting its patent application. But the panel took issue with U.S. District Judge Douglas F. McCormick’s March 2017 decision to enhance the jury’s $653,841 damage award by $1 million for willful infringement. The judge’s decision lacked reasoning and also ignored the fact Campbell made a reasonable case for public use invalidation, Tuesday’s precedential opinion said.
Law360 quotes “The district court awarded almost the maximum amount of enhanced damages, but did not adequately explain its basis for doing so, and failed to even mention Campbell’s public use defense, which presented a close question in this case,” the appellate panel wrote, remanding the case with instructions for the judge “to provide a more complete explanation” of the decision.