On April 16, 2018, the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp., a case involving the recovery of lost profits in other countries as a result of infringement in the United States. The Court will consider if the Federal Circuit was correct to discard $93 million in lost profits that WesternGeco won from Ion Geophysical in a patent suit over devices used for oil and gas under the ocean. The Federal Circuit ruled that WesternGeco cannot recover profits it would have earned overseas since infringement took place in the United States. Law360 reached to Finnegan partner Jacob Schroeder for his thoughts on the case.
Jacob said, “The Supreme Court has barely touched the issue of patent damages since the 1952 Patent Act. That’s why a lot of people who focus on patent damages are watching this case. It’s one of the areas the Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in on much lately.” He also said, “There’s a tension between making the patentee whole for all foreseeable damages from the infringement and the presumption against extraterritoriality.” Jacob also believes that if the justices take a broader view and rule that patent owners should be able to earn damages in foreign countries due to U.S. infringement, it “would be a strengthening of patent rights to allow patentees to rely more heavily on their U.S. intellectual property.”