The Supreme Court Limits U.S. Patent Infringement Liability For Goods Sold Overseas

February 27, 2017

Last week the Supreme Court held that, standing alone, the manufacture in the United States of a single component of a multicomponent product that is assembled outside the U.S. cannot give rise to patent infringement liability in the U.S.

In Life Technologies Corporation v. Promega Corporation,  the Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s holding that a single component could be considered a “substantial portion” of the components of a patented invention sufficient to trigger liability under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1), a provision that was enacted to stop infringers from evading liability by manufacturing components of patented inventions in the U.S. and then shipping them overseas for assembly there.  This ruling reflects the Supreme Court’s continued reluctance to extend the extraterritorial application of U.S. patent law to infringements that are primarily attributable to conduct occurring in other countries.

This alert memo was republished by Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal.