US Supreme Court denies review of largest patent damages award in history News
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US Supreme Court denies review of largest patent damages award in history

The US Supreme Court Monday denied an application for review of a federal case involving the largest patent damages award in US history. Plaintiff Centripetal Networks, Inc. attempted to reinstate a $2.75 billion award to be paid by Cisco Systems, Inc. The award was overturned when authorities discovered that the trial court judge had family members who owned Cisco stock.

In 2018, Centripetal accused Cisco of infringing patents related to Centripetal’s network-security technology. Judge Henry Morgan ruled that Cisco infringed the patents and awarded Centripetal $1.9 billion in damages plus royalties, bringing the total damages to more than $2.7 billion. Morgan revealed to both parties that his wife owned Cisco stock before issuing his ruling but stated that it did not impact his decision.

Cisco appealed the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which threw out the award and remanded the case to a new judge in Virginia. The court found that Judge Morgan should have recused himself from the case as soon as he learned about his wife’s holdings.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, Centripetal wrote that Judge Morgan complied with the law and that nothing in his opinion showed a conflicting interest, noting that “judges sometimes acquire or discover a financial interest only after investing substantial time in a matter, and eleventh-hour recusals inflict a heavy toll on parties and the judicial system.”

The case’s merits will now be heard in Virginia once again.