Limelight v. Akamai: A software case worthy of biotech's attention


In 2006, Akamai Technologies Inc. sued Limelight, alleging infringement of one of its patents claiming a method for delivering web content. Limelight denied infringement, arguing they do not perform all of the steps of the claim and a company should not be held liable for encouraging patent infringement unless one party performs all of the steps of the patent claim. In this instance, Limelight performed some of the steps and instructed their customers to perform the remaining steps. In response, Akamai pursued a theory of joint infringement, arguing that the combined actions of Limelight and its customers infringed the claimed method.

The district court found Limelight not liable for infringement because Limelight did not control or direct its customers' actions, and the court held direct infringement requires a party to exercise control or direction over a third party who performs some or all of the steps of the claim. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, but thereafter granted Akamai's petition for rehearing en banc. Continue Reading.