Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit on the Limits of Extraterritorial Infringement

  • February 24, 2017

The US Supreme Court has overruled the Federal Circuit on the issue of extraterritorial infringement through products with multiple components. Under 35 USC Section 271(f)(1), a company is liable for patent infringement for exporting “all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention” if the components are assembled abroad and if that combination would infringe within the United States. In Life Technologies v. Promega, the Federal Circuit held that a “single important component could constitute a ‘substantial portion’ of an invention” under that section of the statute (2013-1011, 2013-1029, 2013-1376). The Supreme Court reversed in a February 22 opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, ruling that a “‘substantial portion’ . . . refers to a quantitative measurement” under which a single component cannot trigger Section 271(f)(1) liability (2014-1538).

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