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SCOTUS Decisions in Limelight and Nautilus

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on June 03, 2014 1:06 PM

In January, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two patent cases originating in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals: Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. and Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.

Both cases were granted cert. on the same day, and the decisions in both cases were handed down on the same day. Read on to learn how the Court decided.

Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc.,

In Limelight, the Court had to determine whether a party may be liable for inducing patent infringement, even though there was no direct infringement. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Alito held that a party cannot be held liable for inducing infringement, when no one has directly infringed the patent, and reversed and remanded the case.

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.

The Nautilus case brought two issues to light regarding patent ambiguity and the presumption of validity. According to SCOTUSblog, the Court must determine whether "ambiguous patent claims with multiple reasonable interpretations," where the "ambiguity is not 'insoluble' by a court -- defeats the statutory requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming; and (2) whether the presumption of validity dilutes the requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming."

Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion and clarified the standard for specificity set forth in §112 of the Patent Act, finding the Federal Circuit's formulation lacking. Instead, the Supreme Court held 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." The Court vacated the Federal Circuit's opinion, and remanded.

It looks like the Federal Circuit has some work to do.

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