In the last weeks of February, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the first two patent cases of the 2010-11 term. The first case, focuses on induced patent infringement, with implications for patent owners and accused infringers, as well as those looking to avoid liability. The second case, deals with the rights of public universities to federally funded innovations and the potential effects on companies, universities, and researchers involved in federally funded research.
This case over patented deep fat fryers could change the level of knowledge of a patent necessary for proving induced infringement. Pentalpha, petitioner here along with Global Tech Appliances, did not sell infringing fryers in the United States, which would cause it to be liable for direct infringement, but instead developed and sold fryers in Hong Kong to Sunbeam, who then resold them in the United States. Pentalpha was sued for induced infringement for providing the fryers to Sunbeam.
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