The Supreme Court Allows Lost Profits on Foreign Sales as Damages for Infringement of a U.S. Patent

A United States patent gives the owner certain patent rights, including the right to sue for damages for infringement.  It has been generally understood that U.S. patent rights end at the border; to obtain similar rights in a foreign country, the owner would also have to obtain a patent in that foreign country.  However, it was recently successfully argued to the Supreme Court that a U.S. patent owner could recover damages on a U.S. patent for defendant’s activities abroad. On June 22, 2018, in WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp., the Supreme Court ruled that the presumption that federal statutes have no extraterritorial effect did not apply to a statute defining infringement of a U.S. patent; therefore, the plaintiff was not precluded from recovering damages arising out of the defendant’s activities outside the United States in a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. patent.  While the Court limited its ruling to a specific category of patent…

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