Federal Circuit Reiterates Importance of Evidence of Direct Infringement

Brandon Baum, partner in Mayer Brown and Practice Center Contributor, passed along this analysis on the Federal Circuit decision Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc.

The Federal Circuit has reiterated the importance of patent plaintiffs providing proof of direct infringement by end-users to establish indirect infringement by equipment suppliers.  In Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc., the patents-in-suit allegedly covered an aspect of the wireless communication protocols promulgated by the IEEE and Wi-Fi Alliance for IEEE 802.11 networking (“802.11 Standard”).  Plaintiffs Fujitsu, LG Electronics and U.S. Philips Corporation each held patents “essential” to the 802.11 Standard, which they licensed through a patent pool.  Philips’ patent purported to cover the 802.11 Standard’s message “fragmentation” protocol. 

Plaintiffs sued Netgear, alleging that its 802.11 Standard-compliant products indirectly infringed the patents-in-suit.  Pertinent to this article, Philips accused 260 Netgear products of implementing the patented fragmentation protocol, and therefore contributing to and inducing direct infringement by end-users of those products.  (more…)

Qui Tam Plaintiffs Have Standing to Sue for False Marking under 35 U.S.C. § 292

Mayer Brown’s Partner James R. Ferguson passed along this article he wrote with colleagues Richard M. Assmus and Emily C. Melvin on the recent Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers, Inc. decision.  The article discusses how the Stauffer decision may effect the large number of false marking suits now pending in district courts.  According to the authors, “although the Stauffer decision will not stem the tide of false marking suits – as many patent owners had hoped – several options remain for defending against these actions.”

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled that qui tam plaintiffs have standing to sue for false marking under 35 U.S.C. § 292. Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers, Inc., No. 2009-1428 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 31, 2010). Issuing a blow to patent marking defendants, this ruling is sure to impact the flood of cases currently pending in district courts, many of which were stayed pending resolution of Stauffer.

Raymond Stauffer—a patent lawyer himself—brought the suit after he discovered that several bow ties he purchased from Brooks Brothers were marked with two expired US Patents. The district court dismissed Stauffer’s suit for lack of standing, holding that he had not sufficiently alleged an injury to the United States and that any allegations that the alleged false marking quelled competition were too conjectural or hypothetical to constitute injury in fact. (more…)