Shipping Patented Software Abroad

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court once again asked for the views of the Solicitor General on a pending petition for review. That brings the total number of requested CVSGs in patent cases to about 4 [it’s 3; see below]. This particular patent infringement case, which began as AT&T v. Microsoft, raises questions about how to apply section 271(f) of the Patent Act, a provision designed to prevent people from evading patent liability by shipping separated parts of a machine for assembly abroad. (The Supreme Court held, in the Deepsouth case (1972), that making and shipping separated components didn’t infringe a patent claim to the completed device.)

Dennis Crouch, at Patently-O, has the definitive post summarizing the issues and collecting all the key documents.

UPDATE 1: The patent cases on which the Court now has outstanding CVSGs are (1) FTC v. Schering-Plough Corp., No. 05-273; (2) KSR Int’l v. Teleflex Inc., No. 04-1350; and (3) Microsoft v. AT&T, No. 05-1056.

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