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Supreme Court to review intellectual property disputes

Tech investors in Ohio and around the country may have followed the news that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a lower court ruling that some felt might unnecessarily widen liability in patent infringement claims. The focus of the business litigation that would be looked at involves alleged inducement of infringement. One of the matters involves media content and the other centers on software used in healthcare systems.

A method patent was the focus of Akamai Technologies' claim against Limelight Networks. The method in question made more efficient the delivery of content on the Web by putting music, video and other files on a company's servers and then pointing users to that content and allow them to download it. The other claim involves McKesson Information Solutions accusing Epic Systems Corp. of infringing on patents used to smooth communications between doctors and other healthcare providers and their patients.

Neither case included accusations that the companies being sued had violated these patents directly, instead charging that the companies induced their customers to perform the actual violating action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier ruled that injured parties could hold companies liable for inducing such violations even if only part of a patented method was infringed upon. Contention arose on the 11-judge panel over widening the liability for patent infringement, and it will now be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Patent or copyright infringement can mean unfair competition to companies owning valuable intellectual property. An attorney with experience in business law may be able to help a client preserve and protect its rights in those assets.

Source: Courthouse News, "Justices to Review Closely Followed Patent Ruling", Annie Youderian, January 10, 2014

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