updated 05:35 pm EDT, Thu August 20, 2009
Apple, MS court ruling
Apple, Cisco and Microsoft have won an appeals court ruling, limiting potential patent damages for products shipped outside the US, says Bloomberg. The court has stated that for specific types of patents, federal law does not allow patent owners to collect damages from infringers on overseas sales. American infringement cases are sometimes based on foreign sales, and the court notes that laws do still apply when it comes to patents for machines, manufacturing and the composition of matter.
The root case involves a long-running dispute between Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical, the latter of which is accused of infringing on a patent involving implanted defibrillators. St. Jude has been ordered to pay damages, as previously ruled, but without the additional burden of accounting for overseas money. The involvement of the high-tech companies is likely related to setting precedent.
The international nature of US patent law has been contested several times in the past, for instance in a 2005 appeal by Canadian company Research in Motion, which resulted in a $612.5 million settlement with a patent owner. RIM filed a brief in support of St. Jude Medical's position, and now says it is happy with the limited damages. A 2007 Supreme Court case won by Microsoft helped to set the stage for restricting foreign infringement considerations.