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Important Federal Circuit Opinions of 2007

By Erica D. Wilson and Byron Cooper and Thomas Fitzpatrick of Goodwin Procter LLP

Erica D. Wilson, Byron Cooper, and Thomas F. Fitzpatrick are partners in the Palo Alto office of Goodwin Procter LLP.  They are members of the firm’s IP Litigation Department and focus their practice on patent litigation and other IP disputes.  You can reach them at:;; and

Congress’s and the Supreme Court’s renewed interest in patent law was far from ignored by the Federal Circuit in 2007.  Some of the decisions issued by the Federal Circuit this year appear to react to, if not address that interest and represent some of the most significant cases the Court has ever decided.  We briefly discuss some of those cases below.

In re Seagate Sinks Underwater Devices

On August 20, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an en banc decision in In re Seagate Tech LLC, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) making it harder for patent holders to obtain enhanced damages for willful infringement and limiting the scope of the waiver resulting from reliance on an opinion of counsel.

Back in 1983, the Federal Circuit strengthened patent rights by announcing t...

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