As reported in Oblon Spivak’s Patents Post-Grant blog, the Supreme Court of the United States recently reinforced the well established principle that clear and convincing evidence is required to establish invalidity of a U.S. Patent. Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. Partnership et al., 564 U.S.___ (June 9, 2011). See holding here.
This “presumption of validity” is not limited to utility patents, but also extends to design patents. For example, as noted in Titan Tire Corp. v. Case New Holland Inc., 566 F3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2009), a design patent case that related to the design of tractor tires, “an issued patent comes with a statutory presumption of validity under 35 U.S.C. § 282. Because of this presumption, an alleged infringer who raises invalidity as an affirmative defense has the ultimate burden of persuasion to prove invalidity by clear and convincing evidence, as well as the initial burden of going forward with evidence to support its invalidity allegation.” Id. at. 1376.
This is good news for design patent holders, as the presumption of validity makes it more difficult for an infringer to invalidate an issued design patent.