Supreme Court Reshaping Patent Law

By: Eric G. Soller

The Supreme Court is reviewing more patent cases in this term than in the entire decade of the 1990’s. This activity has most recently resulted in two rulings that will shape patent litigation for years to come. In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., the Supreme Court reversed the standard that had been applied for years by the Federal Circuit as to whether a patent is definite under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 2. The Federal Circuit’s standard was that a patent lacked “definiteness” if it was “insolubly ambiguous.” The Supreme Court opined that the prior standard lacked precision because such terminology “can breed lower court confusion” and “leave courts and the patent bar at sea without a reliable compass,” however, noting the “delicate balance” between requiring definiteness and accounting for the inherent limitations of language, “recognizing that absolute precision is unattainable.” The Supreme Court stated that the proper assessment of definiteness requires, “that a patent is invalid for indefiniteness if its claims, read in light of the specification delineating the patent, and the prosecution history, fail to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention.”

In Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., the Supreme Court redefined liability for “inducing infringement of a patent under 35 U.S.C. § 217(b) when no one has directly infringed a patent under § 271(a) or any other statutory provision.” The Supreme Court definitively stated that “liability for inducement must be predicated on direct infringement.” The Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit and remanded the case, instructing that the “Federal Circuit will have the opportunity to revisit the § 271(a) question if it chooses.” The Supreme Court held that if “performance of all of the claimed steps cannot be attributed to a single person,” direct infringement has not occurred, and therefore, inducing infringement cannot be found.

News & Events

Related News

July 26, 2019

Several members of the Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP Law Firm volunteered this weekend at the Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh event. Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh, is a free, two-day dental clinic for under-served people living in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, many of whom are from working families who do not have access… Read more »

Read More
August 1, 2007

Articles In This Issue: 1. High Court Overturns 95-Year-Old Antitrust Rule of Law to Permit Retail Price Maintenance Agreements 2. Missing Word Invalidates Form Related Information: Firm Newsletter, Summer 2007

Read More

Upcoming Events

February 27, 2020

Nationally-recognized qui tam attorney, Marc S. Raspanti, will be speaking at the Federal Bar Association’s 2020 Qui Tam Conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 27, 2020. This two-day conference will feature experienced FCA litigators from a variety of perspectives who will dive into advanced topics and discuss emerging trends and key developments pertaining to… Read more »

Read More
March 11, 2020

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP Partner Michael A. Morse will be presenting at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s (“PBI”) Health Law Institute on March 11-12, 2020. Mr. Morse’s session topic is, “Preparing for the Fight of Your Life: Anatomy of a Health Care Fraud Prosecution.” The PBI notes that the Health Law Institute is,… Read more »

Read More
View More News & Events