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Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

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  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney


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Sharp Divisions Over Joint Infringement

May 09, 2011

May 9, 2011 (Mountain View, CA) – Michael Sacksteder, partner in the Litigation Group of Fenwick & West LLP, was recently quoted in the National Law Journal article "Sharp Divisions Over Joint Infringement."

The article addresses situations when more than one person performs the steps of a patented process. In these cases, courts have ruled that joint patent infringement only exists when an individual or a single company controls the entire process.

With Federal Circuit Judges and patent bar members arguing that this leaves many patents worthless, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has agreed to an en banc rehearing in one of these cases, Akamai Technologies Inc. v. Limelight Networks Inc. This decision could impact the validity of many method patents, including those surrounding Internet, software or telecommunications technologies.

How the Federal Circuit views joint infringement has "become an important piece of a defense lawyer's tool kit over the past several years," said Michael Sacksteder.

He went on to say that BMC, then Muniauction, changed the rules for lawsuits involving method patents by requiring that one entity perform all the steps of each patent case. In Akamai, the decision went even further by requiring one entity to mastermind the process.

Many of the patents affected by these rulings were written decades ago, before it was clear that the law would develop in this direction, Sacksteder continued. "There is probably some sense among some judges at the Federal Circuit that that has blindsided the patent owners."

Sacksteder said that when a client is accused of infringement, his first step is checking for method claims, and whether they were performed by different entities. "A change in the law would in some way change how the playing field is structured."