Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Yet Another Patent Case
from the surprising-interest-in-patent-law dept
It looks like the Supreme Court has found another such patent case to take a look at -- this time involving a patent dispute between AT&T and Microsoft. The court had asked for more information on this case before, so perhaps it's not a huge surprise. The specific details about the patent have no bearing on the case. Microsoft settled with AT&T on that point and agreed to pay them for infringing on the patent. At issue is whether or not the agreement (which was based on a US patent) then applies to Microsoft software sold outside the US. Microsoft, of course, argues that it does not -- and it certainly raises a lot of questions about jurisdictional issues, especially in an increasingly globalized society. If the court does say that foreign sales are in violation of the patent as well, it could increase the liability for many companies that do business overseas, should they be sued for any kind of patent infringement in the US. It also raises questions about whether or not you could take this to the logical extreme. Say a company patents something in the US, and another company potentially infringes on that patent, but only distributes it elsewhere, where there is no patent. Can the patent owner still sue in the US? What if the infringing party isn't a US company at all?