Supreme Court Confirms “Clear and Convincing” Standard for Patents

Insights June 9, 2011

By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rejected Microsoft’s argument and affirmed the Federal Circuit’s strong presumption of proof that granted U.S. patents are valid.

On June 9, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit’s judgment, which had affirmed the district court’s judgment that awarded i4i $240 million for Microsoft’s infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449.

The Supreme Court stated: “We consider whether §282 requires an invalidity defense to be proved by clear and convincing evidence. We hold that it does.”

The Court continued: “According to its settled meaning, a defendant raising an invalidity defense bore ‘a heavy burden of persuasion,’ requiring proof of the defense by clear and convincing evidence. That is, the presumption encompassed not only an allocation of the burden of proof but also an imposition of a heightened standard of proof.”

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