In Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A,1 the Supreme Court confirmed prior case law holding that an induced infringement claim under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) requires proof that the accused inducer had both: (1) knowledge of the asserted patent, and (2) knowledge that the third-party acts it had induced would directly infringe the asserted patent. Establishing new law, however, the Supreme Court further held that a patentee can satisfy these knowledge elements with proof that the accused inducer merely acted with ''willful blindness''—i.e., that the accused inducer subjectively feared there was a ''high probability'' it was causing others to infringe the asserted patent and took ''deliberate actions'' to avoid confirming whether its fear of infringement was true.
This paper summarizes the Supreme Court's decision in Global-Tech. It then explores how the Federal Circuit and district courts have applied Global-Tech's new willful blindness test, with an emphasis on the factors that courts have highlighted as either supporting or defeating a willful blindness claim.
An article by Richard O'Neill, Jonathan Uffelman and Ali Abugheida, published in the June 13, 2014 edition of Bloomberg BNA's Patent Trademark & Copyright Journal, Vol. 8, No. 490.
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