WESTERNGECO L.L.C. v. ION GEOPHYSICAL CORP.
- Jan 11 2019 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
WesternGeco brought a patent infringement suit against ION Geophysical for infringement of four U.S. Patents relating to controlling the movement and positioning of long streamers towed by a ship during marine seismic surveys for discovering oil and gas deposits beneath the ocean floor. This case returns to the CAFC from the Supreme Court, which held that WesternGeco’s damages award for lost profits was a permissible domestic application of 35 U.S.C. § 284, but which did not decide other challenges to the lost profits award. The sole claim remanded relates to the lost profits award, and presents two issues to be resolved: (1) the impact of the intervening invalidation of four of the six asserted patent claims on the fully paid reasonable royalty award, and (2) the impact of the invalidation of the four claims on the lost profits award and ION’s argument (presented in its original appeal) that Panduit cannot be satisfied because ION and WesternGeco do not compete in the marketplace. ION argues that the CAFC should either hold that lost profits are not recoverable in this case or remand for a new trial. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision and the intervening invalidation of four of the five asserted patent claims that could support the lost profits award, the CAFC: rejects ION’s challenge to the reasonable royalty award and remands to the district court for further proceedings as to the lost profits; and reinstates certain aspects of its previous decisions which were not affected by either the initial vacatur and remand from the Supreme or the Supreme Court’s subsequent decision. Thus, the decision is affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded.