Today, Public Knowledge filed an amici curiae brief in the Supreme Court case Commil v. Cisco. The case deals with whether Cisco violated Commil’s patents by inducing others to infringe them. The brief, which was joined by five other organizations, urges the Supreme Court to act carefully to protect new and emerging technology companies, products and services.
The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of Public Knowledge’s Patent Reform Project:
“If you use a cell phone, listen to streaming music, read ebooks or use any computer technology today, then you should pay attention to this case. It may seem to only be about patents, but granting Commil’s request would result in a wrong decision that could easily spill into copyright law, with devastating effects for all our favorite technologies.
“Commil is arguing that if it sends a company a letter merely alleging that the company’s products can be used to infringe one of their patents, then that company can be automatically liable for a type of infringement called ‘inducement.’ But inducement of infringement isn’t unique to patent law. It was imported into copyright law in the 2005 case MGM v. Grokster, and has been used to take down peer-to-peer networking services ever since.
“When the Supreme Court decided Grokster, it very carefully limited this idea of inducement to only affect bad actors. But the sending-a-letter inducement that Commil asks for is much more expansive, and could turn every new technology into a copyright infringement inducer.
“Our brief thus urges the Court to avoid this sort of result that could grind all innovation and technology to a halt by rejecting Commil’s proposal to expand infringement.”
Other brief signatories include R Street Institute, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Center for Democracy and Technology.
You may read the full brief here.
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