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Posts Tagged: "joint infringement"

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.

The Discordant En Banc Ruling in Akamai Technologies and McKesson Technologies Part II*

In challenging the correctness of the per curiam majority ruling, Judge Linn’s dissenting opinion makes four points. Point No. 1 is that the per curiam majority’s approach “is contrary to both the Patent Act and the Supreme Court’s longstanding precedent that “if there is no direct infringement of a patent there can be no contributory infringement,” citing Aro Manufacturing and Deepsouth Packing, as well as the Federal Circuit’s Joy Technologies. But as discussed above, none these cases specifically holds that direct infringement of the claimed method for the purposes of liability for indirect infringement requires that all steps of the claimed method must be performed by a single actor. Judge Linn’s further assertion that, in enacting 35 U.S.C §§ 271(e)(2), (f), and (g), “Congress did not give the courts blanket authority to take it upon themselves to make further policy choices or to define ‘infringement’” still doesn’t address why direct infringement for the purposes of indirect infringement liability requires all infringing acts to be performed by a single actor. (As I discuss below, enactment of 35 U.S.C §§ 271 (f) and (g) also reflects Congress’ intent to close “loopholes” in the primary infringement statute, 35 U.S.C §§ 271 (a)). Judge Linn also makes the comment that Congress “removed joint-actor patent infringement liability from the discretion of the courts” in 1952, but cites to absolutely no legislative history to support this comment.

CAFC’s Joint Infringement Conundrum: The Discordant En Banc Ruling in Akamai Technologies & McKesson Technologies, Part 1*

In Akamai Technologies and McKesson Technologies (August 31, 2012), with an opinion over 30 pages long, a bare six judge per curiam majority found it unnecessary to resolve the joint infringement issue. Instead, the per curiam majority ruled that the Akamai Technologies and McKesson Technologies cases should be resolved by applying the doctrine of inducing (indirect) infringement under 35 U.S.C § 271(b). The majority also ruled that such indirect infringement could occur as long as all steps of the a claimed method are performed, but didn’t requiring that all steps be performed by a single actor, expressly overruling the 2007 case of BMC Resources v. Paymentech, and at least implicitly overruling the 2008 case of Muniauction, Inc. v. Thomson Corp. (no joint infringement of patented electronic method for conducting auctions of financial instruments where auctioneer and bidder each perform some but not all of the steps).

The Impact of the CAFC’s Joint Infringement Conundrum on Protecting Interactive Technologies

The conundrum created by the Federal Circuit’s joint infringement doctrine and its impact on protecting interactive computer-based technologies got worse last week with McKesson Technologies, Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp. McKesson Technologies involved a patented interactive electronic method for communicating between healthcare providers and patients about personalized web pages for doctors. Judge Linn’s majority opinion (and a “thin” at majority at that) ruled that, because the initial step of the patented method was performed by the patient while the remaining steps were performed by the software provided by the healthcare provider, there was no infringement, direct, indirect, joint or otherwise of the patented method.