Today the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Limelight v. Akamai to review the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision that induced infringement under Section 271(b) involving multiple actors — e.g., internet service provider performing some steps of a patent claim and end-customers doing final step — does not require establishing direct infringement under Section 271(a).
The Federal Circuit ruled en banc that all steps of a method must be performed for indirect induced infringement under Section 271(b), but the steps need not be performed in a way that would establish direct infringement under Section 271(a) by a single actor or joint multiple actors (what some call “joint infringement”). This is a significant area of patent law that has received increased attention given the rise in telecommunication and other complex multi-component technologies where more than one actor makes or interacts with individual components or steps in a widespread system. A more detailed explanation of the Federal Circuit’s en banc ruling is available in our Aug. 31, 2012 post.
The Supreme Court also decided to review the Federal Circuit’s decision in Nautilus v. Biosig that has a tough standard for establishing that a patent claim is indefinite under Section 112(b) by requiring clear and convincing evidence that the claim language is “insolubly ambiguous” and not simply difficult to assess its scope.