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Posts Tagged: "Commil USA v. Cisco Systems"

Federal Circuit Reverses District Court on Direct and Induced Infringement

The Court agreed, noting testimony from Cisco’s engineer who stated that the system needed only one copy of the protocol to support all devices. Commil’s expert opined that the protocol was a state machine, and since Cisco’s devices tracked separate information regarding their communication states, each communication state represented a copy of the protocol that was unique. The Court disagreed, finding that tracking separate states for each device was not substantial evidence that each device ran a separate copy of the protocol.

The Year in Patents: The Top 10 Patent Stories from 2015

It is that time once again when we look back on the previous year in preparation to close the final chapter in order move fresh into the year ahead. 2015 was a busy year in the patent world, although change was not as cataclysmic as it was in 2013 when the United States became a first to file country or in 2014 when the Supreme Court issued the Alice v. CLS Bank decision. It was still an interesting year nevertheless. As I close out 2015, I’ve reviewed my patent articles and have come up with my own top 10 patent moments for 2015. They appear in chronological order as they happened throughout the year.

History Repeating Itself at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently decided to review a pair of cases that challenge the Federal Circuit’s willful infringement test. The two cases, Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc, (14-1513) and Stryker Corporation v. Zimmer, Inc. (14-1520), are drawing comparisons from commentators to the Court’s Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health and Fitness, Inc. ruling last term based on the similar structure of the tests and statutory language reviewed in both cases. However, another recent SCOTUS case dealing with induced infringement, Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., may also shed some light on how the Court will think about willful infringement, since both doctrines center around the defendant’s intent.

AIPLA supports en banc rehearing in Akamai v. Limelight on single entity infringement rule

There can be little doubt of the exceptional importance of Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc. to the intellectual property community, and to innovators as a whole. The issue of joint infringement has been the focus of much discussion in recent years by academia, the media, and industry. In its 2014 remand of this case, the Supreme Court suggested this Court would have the opportunity to “revisit the § 271(a) question if it so chooses,” 134 S. Ct. 2111, 2120 (“Akamai III”). The AIPLA, as amicus curiae, argues that the Federal Circuit should choose to do so by rehearing the case en banc because the single entity rule as set out by the Panel majority would make it nearly impossible for certain patent holders to enforce their patents against joint infringers.

Supreme Court holds belief of invalidity not a defense to inducement liability

In both theories of indirect patent infringement (i.e., inducement of patent infringement and contributory infringement), the patent owner must show that the defendant knew its activities were infringing. If the defendant can prove that it did not have such belief then it is a valid defense to indirect infringement. In Commil, the defendant went a step further and contended that it was not liable for inducement of infringement, arguing that it is axiomatic that one cannot infringe an invalid patent and it had a good faith belief that the patent at issue was invalid. The defendant mixed infringement and invalidity together. In the opinion, the Supreme Court placed a wall between the theories of infringement and invalidity and held that the mental state of the defendant as to the patent’s invalidity has no bearing on whether it thought its acts were infringing.

SCOTUS rules good faith belief of patent invalidity is no defense to induced infringement

The issue considered by the Supreme Court was whether a good faith belief of patent invalidity is a defense to a claim of induced infringement. In a 6-2 decision written by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court ruled that belief of invalidity is not a defense to a claim of induced infringement. While it seems that the Supreme Court issued a reasonable decision in this case it is deeply troubling how little the Supreme Court actually knows about patent law. In addition to repeatedly discussing the validity of the Commil patent, rather than the validity of the patent claims, the Supreme Court also seemed to suggest that Cisco could have relied on a procedural challenge to the Commil patent that simply wasn’t available as an option at any relevant time during the proceedings.