A patent is a monopoly right to make or sell an invention, or an improvement on an existing invention, for a particular number of years. In this way, the inventor is able to compensate his or her investment. It is one of the key concepts in intellectual property law.
Several international treaties have standardised many aspects of intellectual property law. However, these laws and their enforcement still vary widely from one jurisdiction to another
16 Discuss these questions.
1 What kinds of conflict of law could result from patent infringement?
2 In what ways does a case involving two or more nation states differ from a case between two parties from the same jurisdiction?
Reading 3: US patent laws
17 Read the online news report quickly and decide which is the best headline (1, 2 or 3).
Microsoft has won a long-running case in the US Supreme Court about the reach of US patent laws.
AT&T had sued Microsoft, alleging computers using Microsoft's Windows operating system had breached its patent in voice-compression software.
AT&T had said it should be entitled to damages for all Windows-based computers manufactured outside of the USA.
The presumption that United States law governs domestically but does not rule the world applies with particular force in patent law,' said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
18 Complete the report using these sentences (a-d).
a Microsoft accepted patent violations in the USA, but argued the infringement
should not be extended internationally. b According to the judges, an earlier ruling by the federal appeals court had gone
too far [and hadl applied its test in a way that was too narrow and too rigid. c But in a 7-1 ruling, the US Supreme Court supported Microsoft's position. d The court ruled that Microsoft was not liable in a software patent dispute
involving US telecoms operator AT&T.
19 Find highlighted terms in the report with the following meanings.
1 when you believe that something is true without having any proof
2 controls and directs the public business of a country, city, group of people, etc.
3 incapable of compromise or flexibility
4 given the right to do or have something
6 the breaking of a rule or law
7 a decision in a case
8 when the influence of something is expanded
9 a question (or questions) that help a judge reach a decision
20 Explain the facts of the case and the court's decision in your own words. Do you think the Supreme Court came to the right decision? Why (not)? How would a higher court in your jurisdiction have ruled in this case?
leading 4: Microsoft v. AT&T
21 Read the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T and answer these questions.
1 What was the patent that AT&T claimed that Microsoft had breached?
2 What does the Act mean when it refers to supplying a patented invention's components for combination abroad?