IP at the USSC

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court granted cert in four IP related proceedings: POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola – standing under the Lanham Act to challenge labelling; Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies – does inducing patent infringement require direct infringement; Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments – standard for indefiniteness in patent claims; and ABC, Inc., v. Aereo, Inc. – copyright infringement and public transmissions over the Internet.

The four cases were:

  • POM Wonderful v. Coca-Cola (12-761) – The question posed by the applicant was:

Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a private party cannot bring a Lanham Act claim challenging a product label regulated under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Whether the Federal Court 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 271(a).

  • Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments (13-369) – The questions presented were:

Does the Federal Circuit’s acceptance of ambiguous patent claims with multiple reasonable interpretations—so long as the ambiguity is not “insoluble” by a court—defeat the statutory requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming?
Does the presumption of validity dilute the requirement of particular and distinct patent claiming?

  • ABC, Inc., v. Aereo, Inc. (13-461) – The question posed was the following. The NY Times has an article on the proceeding saying: “The case has far-reaching implications for the big broadcasters, jeopardizing an increasingly vital stream of income known as retransmission fees, the money paid to networks and local stations for the right to retransmit their programming.”

Whether a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.