Thursday, January 16, 2014

US Supreme Court Certiorari - SAP America v. Versata Software - Software Patent Infringement, Expert Testimony, and Denial of Stay of Litigation Based on PTAB Invalidity Decision

Today, Mary Pat Dwyer of the SCOTUS Blog stated the petition of the day relates to the Federal Circuit's decision in SAP America, Inc. v. Versata Software, Inc.

SAP, the petitioner and defendant below, frame the issue as follows: (1) Whether a computer software manufacturer may be liable for direct infringement of a patent drawn to computer instructions where the software, as shipped, does not contain sufficient instructions to perform the claimed operations; (2) whether flaws in an expert’s methodology may be raised as part of a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence or only to the testimony’s admissibility; and (3) whether a patent infringement action should be stayed where the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has declared invalid all patent claims at issue in the infringement action and the defendant, which sought such review at the first opportunity, might otherwise be compelled to pay an enormous damages judgment and be subjected to a permanent injunction on the basis of the invalid claims.

Versata Software, the respondent and patent owner, frame the issue as follows: (1) Whether both courts below erred in ruling that the trial record supported the jury’s factual determination that SAP’s software and source code, as shipped, met every limitation of the asserted patent claims without modification by the customer; (2) whether the Federal Circuit properly declined to address challenges to the expert’s methodology insofar as they were framed as challenges to admissibility where SAP conceded it was not challenging the testimony’s admissibility on methodological grounds and had waived any such challenge below; and (3) whether the Federal Circuit was required to stay this patent infringement action under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act where SAP did not seek a stay until after the Federal Circuit had issued its opinion on the merits, and the four statutory factors each weigh against the requested stay.

Whether or not the Supreme Court hears this case, the message I am hearing is delay in requesting a stay may negate a major benefit (e.g., erasing $330M in damages) of a PTAB decision holding the patent invalid. 

See the papers, orders, and proceedings at SCOTUS blog page.

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