Inducement ruling invites multiparty-infringement review
Law360 - 06/02/2014
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that induced infringement can occur only when one party performs every step of a patent will make it easier to fend off inducement claims when the infringement involves multiple actors. But the ruling may not be the final word, attorneys say, since the justices also invited the Federal Circuit to revisit direct-infringement standards in those situations.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s Limelight decision, several patent attorneys told Law360 that the ruling might make it easier for those accused of induced infringement of method patents to defend themselves in cases in which the patent’s steps are performed by multiple actors, since the justices have reversed a Federal Circuit decision that expanded liability for inducement in those situations.
“As far as the mechanics of patent law goes, in some ways I think the decision goes against the strengthening of patent holders’ rights,” said Michael Bennett, associate law professor at Northeastern University. “The ruling will make it harder for a patent owner to make a successful claim for inducement.”