|Qualification of Expert Witnesses in United States Patent Litigation: A Review of Federal Circuit Case Law Regarding Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence
|Nonobviousness, Patent Litigation, Expert Witness, Rules
of Evidence, Damages Calculation
|Expert witnesses serve an important role in United States patent litigation.
Patent litigation often involves complex technological issues. Technical experts are
needed to help a judge interpret claim language or to assist a jury to understand
patented technology or infringing products. When resolving the patentability issues,
such as anticipation and obviousness, technical experts are good consultants for factfinders. Additionally, damages calculation requires knowledge of industries
and financial or accounting theories. Damages experts must get in to resolve the
issues of monetary remedies. While expert witnesses play an important role in patent
litigation, fewer studies explore the relevant case law about the qualification of
experts or the admissibility of expert opinions. So, this paper is intended to address
Federal Circuit case law regarding those issues. While Title 35 of the United States
Code speaks nothing about expert witnesses, Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence
is the only statutory basis for the requirements of qualified experts. In this
paper, the case law review begins by examining the judicial interpretation of Rule
702. Three U.S. Supreme Court cases and several Federal Circuit cases will be analyzed.
Then, this paper focuses on two categories of experts: technical experts and
damages experts. Cases related to either category will be discussed. While Rule
702 requires an expert to have “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge,”
it is opt to a district court judge to admit or exclude expert witnesses or expert
opinions as evidence heard by a jury. Besides, the Federal Circuit’s review
standard is an abuse of discretion. So, a district court judge usually has much leeway.
Furthermore, based on the analysis of the Federal Circuit cases, this article
provides legal principles or propositions related to expert testimony.