標題: 打開潘朵拉的盒子—十年磨ㄧ劍,由Akamai案開始堵住方法專利侵權的漏洞!
Opening Pandora’s Box — Going through 10 years, It Starts to Close the Loopholes of U.S. Method Patent Infringement by Akamai Case
作者: 魯定中
Lu, Ding-Chung
Liu, Shang-Jyh
關鍵字: 方法專利;分工侵權;代理理論;單ㄧ實體準則;共同侵權責任;替代責任;專利跨域侵權;metod patent;divided infringement;agency theory;vicarious liability;single entity rule;patent extraterritory infringement
公開日期: 2017
摘要: 專利屬於無形資產,而方法專利因所附著的為無形之步驟、程序或抽象的系統,又是無形中的無形。自互聯網近二十年的逐步普及以來,再加上近十年來智慧手機的發展,使得人類得商業行為逐步跨入電子商務與無形,這牽涉到許多方法專利及相關的技術。 美國專利法侵權部分並未對方法專利設限,但是在該法條初始的侵權方部分,就掀起相當大的爭議。以最近十年訴訟將結尾的Akamai案而言,對此爭議做了相當大的挑戰與討論。本文即以方法專利的複數方參與的分工侵權為始, 探討此議題的歷史脈絡、相關案件與法理的發展。應用相關傳統與既有的法理與法條,包含代理理論、替代責任、共同侵權責任與聯合企業、直接侵權的嚴格責任等,探討複數方專利侵權的準則與法理演進: 如基於聯合侵權與代理人法、基於合作與「部分連結」的聯合侵權、基於「指揮與控制」的聯合侵權與聯邦巡迴上訴法院基於Akamai案的第ㄧ、二次全院聯席的教示。自2007年BMC案起,也提出了不同的檢驗準則,如策劃協條方的指揮與控制及合約義務與代理的地位、部分誘引侵權、全步驟檢驗、聯合企業……等。經由2015年聯邦巡迴上訴法院的全院聯席,打破了自2007年以來保守而不合理的單ㄧ實體準則,提出ㄧ較能兼故各方的新檢驗,回歸到方法專利侵權方的基本面。 但是方法專利的爭議不僅於此,逐步解決跨侵權方的爭議後,跨域(侵權國)的爭議將成為分工侵權的下ㄧ戰場。本文探討美國方法專利跨域侵權的相關法條、案例與原則。說明美國專利法與域外侵權相關的§271(a)、§271(f) 與§271(g)在過去的應用與未來的挑戰,而Microsoft案與NTP案則分別代表最高法院與聯邦巡迴上訴法院近十年前對於專利跨域相關議題的代表性觀點。而目前走向全球分工的大趨勢下,美國司法(法院)與立法系統(國會)將如何面對? 方法專利因其本質上的特異性,長期以來受到各方的特殊處理,肇因於無形。但是在現在與未來新技術與商務逐漸無形化的環境,美國的專利系統顯然面臨到遠比複數方分工侵權更大的挑戰。這體現在方法與軟體專利中的產品、部件、進出口、與供應的定義。因為互聯網與數位資訊的屬性,牽涉到專利規範與維權的議題。本文以人工智慧的應用與挑戰做為結尾,因為自始至終可能都無形。方法專利、複數方、跨域、數位部件與產品、大數據和互聯網的運用, 甚至專利權方、侵權方的認定,全部結合起來後,這將是美國專利制度自工業革命以來所面對最大的挑戰!
Patent is an intangible property and method patent is the intangiblity of intangiblilty because the attached are invisible steps, procedures or abstract system. Since the deployment of Internet technology twenty years ago and technology development of smart phone in last ten years, it makes human business behavior entering intangible e-business model and is involved in a lot of method patents and corresponding technologies. There is no limitation for method patent in the infringement part of US patent law, but intense arguments were induced based on liability of infringement entities in the beginning of this statute. According to the Akamai case running for near ten years litigation, there are a lot of challenges and discussions to this argument. This article is staring from multiple entities divided infringement in method patent and trying to study and explore the historic deveopment, related cases and jurisprudences evolution. Applying traditional jurisprudences and statues including agency thory, varcious liability, joint tort liability and joint enterprise, strict liability of direct infringement and so on, to this article explores the evolution of multiple entities patent infringement rules, tests and modifications of jurisprudence. For example, jurisprudence based on joint tort law and agency in common law, joint infringement based on cooperation and “some connections”, single entity rule based on “direct and control” and rules according to United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC) first and the second en bance decisions. Since BMC case in 2007, various tests and rules were proposed including direct or/and control from mastermind with contract obligation and ageny relationship, partial inducement only, all steps rule, joint enterprise and so on. The conservative and unreasonable single entity test since 2007 was relaxed until CAFC’s en banc decision of Akamai case in 2015. A new test balancing all of aspects was provided and the multiple entities infringement in method patent was back to a baseline. However, the arguments in method patent in not limited in the obove topic only. After gradually solving the issue of multiple entities infringement, extraterritory issue would be the next battlefield of method patent infringement. The next topic in this article will be discussed is corresponding statues, cases and rules for US method patent extraterritoric infringement. To explore the former applications and future challenges of US patent law and related items with extraterrotory infringement including§271(a)、§271(f) and§271(g); meanwhile, Microsoft and NTP cases represent the viewpoints of extraterrotory infringement from supreme court and CAFC individually in past ten years. Under the trend of co-working model of globalization, how will the judicial system (court) and legistative system (congress) face and handle this situation? Because of the speciality of method patent in essentially, it had been received special treatments from all aspects and fields due to its intangibility. Facing current and future technological and commocial development to intangible environment, US patent system may encounter more severe challenges than multiple entities divided infringement. These have been emerged in definitions of product, component, inport/export and supply in method and software patents. Due to the properties of Internet and digital information, it involves issues of patent regulation and enforcement. This article is ended via the application and future challenge of artificial intelligence (AI) because all could be invisible in this system. Combining method patent, multiple entities, extraterrotity, digital component and product, big data and Internet, even the identification of plantiff and defandent, this will be the largest challenge faced by US patent system since industrial revolution!
URI: http://etd.lib.nctu.edu.tw/cdrfb3/record/nctu/#GT070063819