Parent Companies Can Be Liable for a Subsidiary’s Alleged Infringement Under Rule 12(b)(7)

What liability does a parent company have when a subsidiary’s actions allegedly constitute patent infringement?

That is the question answered in a recent patent infringement case, Akoloutheo, L.L.C. v. System Soft Technologies, Inc., No. 4:20-cv-985, 2021 WL 1947343 (E.D. Tx. May 14, 2021). In particular, Akoloutheo sheds light on the application of Rule 12(b)(7) in a situation where a subsidiary of the defendant parent company is the primary participant in the acts giving rise to the infringement action and could not be joined to the present infringement action. Based on the court’s determination, parent companies should not expect to escape infringement liability by pinning the blame on a subsidiary and seeking a dismissal via a 12(b)(7) motion when the subsidiary cannot be joined due to it being viewed as a joint tortfeasor and thus does not need to be joined to the present action under Rule 19. Further, the infringement statute may impute infringement liability on the parent through an inducement or contributory theory. Thus, despite the protection offered through the creation of separate corporate entities, parties should be aware that infringement liability may extend to both the parent and subsidiary under the theories of induced infringement or contributory infringement, even if the subsidiary is the primary participant in the alleged infringing acts.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Patent-Eligible Subject Matter in Biotech Should Recite More Than a “Telescope”

In Abbott Laboratories v. Grifols Diagnostic Solutions Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois opined as to patent-eligible subject matter in the context of a biological invention. The case presents another situation in which the law of nature and natural phenomenon judicial exceptions have come to the forefront in the analysis of patent-eligible subject matter.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

 

Numerical Ranges: More Than Just Endpoints in Patent Process

On February 11 and 12, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office held a series of webinars covering the interpretation of ranges during the prosecution of patent applications. The following is a brief report and summary of the covered material.

Numerical ranges provide more than just two particular endpoints for a set of data within patent applications. The interpretation of a claimed numerical range when compared with disclosed numerical ranges in the prior art, assuming the claimed invention recites the other limitations of the prior art, can form the basis for an anticipation rejection based on 35 U.S.C. § 102, an obviousness rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103, or an alternative grounds rejection under both 35 U.S.C. §§ 102/103.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.