Patent damages law can be fairly complex—so much so that Daubert motions against damages experts are filed in nearly every case. These motions often accuse damages experts of overreaching by failing to properly apportion damages or misapplying the entire market value rule (“EMVR”). On Tuesday, the Federal Circuit’s opinion in Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International attempted to clarify these aspects of the patent damages analysis, vacating the jury’s $139.8 million damages award in the form of a reasonable royalty.
A patentee seeking damages for the sale of a multicomponent (or multifunction) product must typically take several steps to ensure that any alleged damages have been properly apportioned to exclude the value provided by the product’s noninfringing aspects. First, the royalty base has to be determined on the smallest saleable patent practicing unit. Second, that reduced royalty base needs to be apportioned to reflect only the value attributable to the patented technology. A royalty based on the value of the entire multicomponent product will likely yield much higher damages, but such a royalty can be recovered only if the plaintiff satisfies the very strict requirements of the EMVR.