Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Federal Circuit Standards for Indefiniteness and Induced Infringement

The US Supreme Court issued two anticipated decisions on June 2, 2014, relating to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's standards for indefiniteness and induced infringement.

In the first, Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 572 US ____ (2014), the Supreme Court overruled the Federal Circuit's test for patent invalidity for indefiniteness, criticizing the "insolubly ambiguous" standard as tolerating "some ambiguous claims but not others" and therefore not satisfying the statute. Instead, the Supreme Court held that a patent claim is invalid for indefiniteness if it fails to inform, with "reasonable certainty," one of skill in the art about the scope of the invention. Notably, the Supreme Court acknowledged that "Federal Circuit's fuller explications of the term ‘insolubly ambiguous' . . . may come closer to tracking the statutory prescription." The Court ultimately remanded the case to the Federal Circuit to decide whether the claims at issue were indefinite under the "reasonable certainty" standard.

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