Supreme Court eases rules for more money in patent lawsuits

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has made it easier for patent holders to collect additional money when someone copies their invention without getting permission or paying for it.

The court said in a unanimous ruling Monday that judges have discretion to award additional damages in patent infringement lawsuits in what Chief Justice John Roberts called “egregious cases of misconduct.”

Roberts said the court’s decision represents a loosening of the “inelastic constraints” on judges in patent cases.

The court ruled in cases involving a water nozzle and a device used to clean wounds during surgery.

The cases are Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics, 14-1513, and Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer Inc., 14-1520.