is a partner with Day Pitney LLP. Jon has a complex commercial litigation practice that includes patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation. Jon has represented both plaintiffs and defendants ranging from international corporations in nine-figure cases to closely held businesses. In addition to intellectual property cases, Jon has defended, among others, antitrust, insurance coverage, and shareholder litigation matters, including class actions. Jon is a registered patent attorney. For more information, or to contact Jon, please visit his firm profile page.
In its upcoming term, the Supreme Court will once again consider the extraterritorial effect of U.S. patent law; specifically, whether “the Federal Circuit erred in holding that supplying a single, commodity component of a multi-component invention from the United States is an infringing act under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1), exposing the manufacturer to liability for all worldwide sales.” Life Tech. Corp. v. Promega Corp., No. 14-1538. Petitioners (all subsidiaries of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., which I shall collectively call “Life”) urge the Court to hold the statute requires “all or a large percentage closely approximating all” of the components of the invention to have been made in the United States. Though Promega Corporation has yet to respond, the Court should decline Life’s invitation. This does not mean, however, that the decision of the Federal Circuit, Promega Corp. v. Life Tech. Corp., 773 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2014), should be affirmed. Rather, though none of the briefs filed in the case have said so, the Supreme Court should reverse because the single, commodity component at issue cannot, as a matter of law, even under Promega’s interpretation of the statute, comprise a “substantial portion” of the components of the invention.
While the Supreme Court spoke clearly and unanimously on the issue in Cuozzo, this hardly means the standard to be applied to claim construction in IPRs has been settled. Rather, it means only that the solution to the problem lies outside the courts. Because the Patent Office has adopted, by regulation, an unsatisfactory standard, Congress should step in. In the context of IPR proceedings, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) should be instructed to give claim terms their plain and ordinary meaning to one of skill in the art, just as the courts are instructed to do.