Patent Litigation: Supreme Court Rules on Knowledge Requirement for Induced Infringement

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 2, 2011

On May 31, 2011, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A., addressing the intent requirement for induced infringement of a patent. The Supreme Court held that induced infringement requires knowledge that the induced acts constitute patent infringement, and specifically requires knowledge of the patent. While rejecting the Federal Circuit’s “deliberate indifference to a known risk” test for constructive knowledge of the patent, the Court held that a showing of willful blindness is sufficient to meet the knowledge requirement. The decision heightens the intent requirement for induced infringement liability by explicitly precluding liability based on lower standards of “deliberate indifference,” recklessness or negligence.