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- Art Gollwitzer, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
While other fields of law are trying to anticipate the future ramifications of the widespread use of drones, robots, and self-driving vehicles, financial markets have already confronted the fact that – for about five years now – automated trading programs have made the majority of all trades in equities and commodities. Automation has substantially reduced the cost of trading, but it has also had profound effects on the structure of financial markets, and has raised questions about its facilitation of allegedly abusive practices. A 2013 documentary, “Ghost Exchange,” and a 2014 best-selling book, Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys, focused public attention on the effects of high-frequency trading (HFT) on market integrity and stability, and helped precipitate a series of aggressive enforcement investigations as well as rulemaking initiatives at financial regulatory agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Our experts reviewed the state of the debate over HFT, and possible paths forward.
The question in Limelight v. Akamai Technologies was whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant may be held liable for inducing patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) even though no one has committed direct infringement under Section 271(a).
In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held unanimously that a defendant is not liable for inducing infringement when no one has directly infringed under Section 271(a) or any other statute. The decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was reversed and the case remanded.
The questions in Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments were (1) Whether the Federal Circuit’s acceptance of ambiguous patent claims with multiple reasonable interpretations – so long as the ambiguity is not “insoluble” by a court – defeats the statutory requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming; and (2) whether the presumption of validity dilutes the requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court unanimously rejected the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” standard and held instead that a patent is invalid for indefiniteness if its claims, read in light of the patent specification and prosecution history, failed to inform those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention. With respect to the presumption of validity, the Court determined that in this case it ultimately did not affect the particularity requirement. The decision of the Federal Circuit was vacated and the case remanded for consideration under the standard articulated by the Supreme Court.
To discuss the case, we have Aaron M. Panner, Partner, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C and Thomas G. Saunders, Partner, WilmerHale.
On June 19, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. The question in the case is whether, for purposes of obtaining a patent, claims to computer-implemented inventions – including claims to a computer-implemented system for mitigating settlement risks – are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held unanimously that the claims at issue were drawn to the abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that merely requiring generic computer implementation failed to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Breyer.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law and Co-Director of Academic Programs and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law.
On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo. This case involves the question of whether, under sections 101 and 106 of the Copyright Act, a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program--a privilege normally reserved to the copyright holder--when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 6-3 that Aereo is not simply an “equipment supplier” and that it performs petitioners’ works publicly within the meaning of the Transmit Clause. Chief Justice Roberts as well as Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Scalia authored a dissenting opinion which Justices Thomas and Alito joined. The decision of the Second Circuit was reversed.
To discuss the case, we have Mark Schultz, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.