Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A. - Oral Argument - February 23, 2011

Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A.

Media for Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 31, 2011 in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 23, 2011 in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A.

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument next this morning in Case 10-6, Global-Tech Appliances v. SEB S.A.--

Mr. Dunnegan.

William Dunnegan:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The standard for the state of mind element for a claim for inducing patent infringement should be: Did the accused inducer have a purpose to induce a third party to engage in acts that the accused inducer knew infringed the patent?

That's what I'll call the purposeful, culpable test.

The Federal Circuit applied a standard of whether Pentalpha was deliberately indifferent to a known risk that a patent may exist.

The Federal Circuit's deliberate indifference test was not a willful blindness test.

Willful blindness would have required both an awareness of a high probability that a patent would exist and a deliberate effort to avoid learning the truth.

Antonin Scalia:

And that's okay, as far as you're concerned?

You would consider that comes within your first test?

William Dunnegan:

Your Honor, deliberate indifference would not fall--

Antonin Scalia:

Would not, but willful blindness would?

William Dunnegan:

--No, Your Honor.

Willful blindness would not fall within our purposeful, culpable test.

Antonin Scalia:

So even willful blindness wouldn't be enough?

William Dunnegan:

Willful blindness in not a purpose, Your Honor.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

You said that the particular patent -- the defendant would have to know that the device infringed the particular patent.

I think that would be a standard that would be impossible to meet.

We have to know if it was patent number, whatever it was, '312.

William Dunnegan:

Well, you wouldn't have to know the patent number, Your Honor, but what you would have to know is that your -- the product which you are inducing a third party to make, use, or sell would be within the scope of a -- of the claims of a particular patent.

If you don't know that, then you're literally--

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

But you can keep yourself ignorant of it.

I mean, for example, you pointed out that the -- that the device that was copied was purchased in Hong Kong, so it didn't have any marking, but the same Pentalpha could have bought the device in Montgomery Ward, looked to see if it had a patent marking; didn't do that.

William Dunnegan:

--It didn't do that, Your Honor.

What it did was better.

It hired a United States patent attorney to conduct a search to see if there was any patent which was infringed.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

But didn't tell that patent attorney that they had reverse-engineered a particular product.

If the attorney had been told this device copied the SEB fryer, isn't it 99 and 44/100ths percent sure that the attorney then would have found this patent?

William Dunnegan:

We don't know, Your Honor.

We don't know why the patent search failed.