By Shaukat A. Karjeker
Depending upon where you stand, on June 14, 2012, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals either executed a “bloodless” coup d’état, or brought order to the issue of enhanced damages in patent cases. In Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. et al. v. W. L. Gore and Associates, Inc. ((Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., No. 03-CV-0597, slip op (Fed. Cir. June 14, 2012); 2012 LEXIS 13561. Bard has been followed in several cases, including: Highmark, Inc. v. Allcare Health Mgmt. Sys., (Fed Cir 2012), 701 F.3d 1351; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25054; Sargent Mfg. Co. v. Cal-Royal Prods., (D Con), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105260; Tomita Techs. United States, LLC v. Nintendo Co., (SD NY), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8111; and Carnegie Mellon Univ. v. Marvell Tech. Group, LTD., (WD Pa), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157337 (noting that mixed questions of law and fact may be resolved by submitting special interrogatories to the jury on fact issues).)), the court ruled that the preliminary determination of “willfulness,” a sine qua non for enhancement of damages, is a matter of law for the court to determine, and subject to de novo review on appeal. This takes the issue out of the hands of the jury and places both the determination of willfulness as well as the enhancement of damages in the hands of the trial judge. Since judicial interpretation of statutes is retrospective, Bard applies to all ongoing litigation ((Voda v. Cordis Corp., 536 F.3d 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2008); 2008 LEXIS 17542.)).