Over at the blog for the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, I posted a short essay discussing the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Douglas Dynamics v. Buyers Products (Fed. Cir. May 21, 2013). Here’s a small taste:
The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Douglas Dynamics, LLC, v. Buyers Products Co. (Fed. Cir. May 21, 2013) is very important given the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief today that the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange (2005) established that damages and not injunctions are the presumptive remedy for patent infringement. ….
On appeal, Chief Judge Randall Rader resoundingly disagreed with Judge Conley’s belief that the “public interest” is always better served by the introduction of a new competitor who is selling cheaper products. This is what happened in this case, as Douglas Dynamics and Buyers Products Company are competitors in the sale of snowplow blades. Instead, Chief Judge Rader recognized that its act of infringement as such is what gave Buyers Products Company its market advantage in undercutting Douglas Dynamics’ prices. Because it did not have to incur Douglas Dynamics’ ex ante expenses in engaging in innovative research and development, Buyers Products Company’s infringement permitted it the economic advantage of being able to undercut Douglas Dynamics prices’ and thus enter the allegedly “untapped market segment” of cheaper snowplow blades. It was precisely this expansion of a consumer market that the district court relied on in its denial of Douglas Dynamics’ requested injunction. In sum, the district court used an infringement-created expansion of the market to justify denying an injunction and awarding a compulsory license to the patent-owner, which effectively rewarded Buyer Products Company for its act of infringement.
In reversing the district court’s award of a reasonable royalty, Chief Judge Rader explained the basic economic principle of dynamic efficiency that animates the Patent Act in securing property rights to inventors in their patented innovation ….
As bloggers are wont to say, go read the whole thing.