The Supreme Court this week called for the views of the Solicitor General on petitions to review the Federal Circuit’s decision on joint infringement of process patents. (See Federal Circuit single per curiam opinion for Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012) and McKesson Technologies, Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012).) That decision held that induced infringement of a process patent claim may be found even though no single entity performed all of the claimed steps as long as claim steps are performed collectively by multiple parties.
Should the Supreme Court decide to hear this case, the ruling will become an important one. In an increasingly distributed world, requiring a single entity for proof of induced infringement may significantly change the enforcement landscape. Would there be the danger of entities purposefully “breaking up” the implementation of their technology over sovereign boundaries or entities in order to escape patent infringement? Stay tuned.