SCOTUS Hears Arguments on Foreign Lost Profits Case

Justices to decide whether to allow damages suffered abroad for domestic patent infringement

One of this year’s most-watched patent cases held oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court. Depending on how broadly the court rules, the outcome could have a major impact on global businesses and patent owners.

The Supreme Court heard arguments April 16 in WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical Corporation, a dispute over oil drilling technology patents that culminated in a nearly $100 million jury award for lost profits stemming from infringement.

Those lost profits, however, were earned outside the U.S. through contracts using the infringing products, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that WesternGeco wasn’t entitled to those profits under 35 U.S.C. §271(f).

The Supreme Court could issue a ruling that could give companies the wherewithal to seek patent infringement damages overseas in certain situations.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the April 23, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.