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Divided Appeals Court Rules on Divided Patent Infringement Claims

May 15, 2015

Fenwick & West patent litigation chair Mike Sacksteder was quoted in both The Recorder and Law360 regarding the Federal Circuit's split-decision rejecting divided patent infringement claims except in rare circumstances. 

The case involved a long-standing dispute between Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks Inc. in which Akamai sued Limelight for patent infringement, and Limelight claimed it only performed some of the steps involved in the patent while its customers provided the remainder.

Sacksteder told The Recorder that for defense attorneys, divided infringement “[is] one of the first things you look for when presented with a claim,” because it can be the basis for a motion to dismiss. 

Sacksteder explained to Law360 that this might be the case if the process that generated the patent was divided among different entities.

"It's valuable to know, at least for the time being, that divided infringement is a viable theory, because it can be really helpful to defendants in the right case," Sacksteder said.

Known as the “single-entity rule,” The Recorder said the court’s ruling brought at least a temporary sense of clarity to an issue that the Supreme Court had already sent to the Federal Circuit on remand. 

Sacksteder told The Recorder, "I think we've gone a long way to come back to where we started.”

The full articles are available through The Recorder’s website and Law360’s website (subscriptions required).​​​