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Extraterritorial Patent Scope

At Patently Obvious, there’s an interesting discussion of the problem of extraterritorial enforcement of U.S. patent law, in light of the Federal Circuit’s ruling in the Blackberry case (RIM v. NTP). RIM v. NTP decided, in effect, that the RIM patent could be infringed in the U.S. even though the alleged infringement by RIM included wireless signals bouncing off of a relay in Canada.

Most of the discussion at Patently-O focuses on tweaking the Patent Act to embrace infringement if an element of a claim at issue, or perhaps a majority of the elements, is located in the U.S. The discussion moves eventually toward what I think is a more sensible change, focusing not on what’s fixed place (the physical location of the accused infringing device, or physical location of machines involved in an accused process), but instead on what’s moving. The RIM v. NTP problem isn’t an intractable problem of where machines and people are located. It’s a tractable problem of where data is going and where it’s coming from.