On September 29, a jury in California awarded Columbia Sportswear more than US$3.4 million for infringement of its design patent on heat-reflective technology for clothing and outdoor gear. Columbia accused Seirus Innovative Accessories of infringing its utility and design patents for its wavy lining material, which reflects body heat, but allows for breathability and moisture-wicking. This appears to be the first jury verdict on a design patent after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple.
In a precedential opinion issued en banc on Friday, October 7, 2016, the Federal Circuit overturned a panel decision, affirming and reinstating the district court’s judgment and the jury’s verdict. The majority opinion scrutinized and at times scolded the panel for taking on a role well outside of its appellate function and erroneously relying on extrinsic evidence to modify an agreed to and unappealed claim construction and hold claims invalid for obviousness. The majority characterized the appellate court’s function as “limited” and “requiring appropriate deference be applied to the review of fact findings.”