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Articles

Inducement liability requires a direct infringer

June 2, 2014

Articles

Inducement liability requires a direct infringer

June 2, 2014

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The Supreme Court reverses the Fed. Cir.’s holding that a defendant that carried out some steps of a method patent, and encouraged customers to carry out remaining steps, could be liable for inducement though neither the defendant nor the customers were liable as direct infringers.

Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., 572 U.S. ___ (June 2, 2014) (ALITO for the Court, all Justices joining) (CAFC: en banc, per curiam) (D. Mass.: Zobel) (5 of 5 stars)

The Fed. Cir. erred when it reasoned that, though no person had violated the provisions of § 271(a), a “direct infringement” sufficient to serve as predicate for inducement liability could nevertheless be held to have occurred.  Section 271(b) does not create liability for inducing conduct that does not constitute direct infringement.  Under Deepsouth Packing, noninfringing conduct—though infringing if committed in altered circumstances—cannot form the basis for contributory infringement.  The same rule applies for inducement. —Read More

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