A recent decision by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has set an important precedent for future patent infringement claims relating to information technology. In Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., the Court determined that, while Limelight Networks hadn’t directly infringed on every aspect of Akamai’s patented content delivery technology, it was nevertheless liable for infringement because it had been aware of the patent and had instigated outside companies to do the other procedural moves that led to an infringement on the patent.
This is an important development because, until this point, it was considered necessary for a company to infringe on every step of a patented method in order for an infringement claim to be successful. However, as the Court noted, the nature of these types of technological processes often involve interactions between multiple parties, which can easily be induced to violate portions of another company’s patent rights in fulfilling their obligations. This decision, therefore, could have a substantial impact on future decisions relating to process patents and patent law.