system claims

Patent Infringement and System Claims in the Information Age

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) recently confronted the issue of infringement of systems claims in patents in Centillion Data Systems, LLC v. Qwest, 631 F.3d 1279 (2011), in which the patent at issue disclosed a system for collecting, processing and delivering information from a service provider, such as a telephone company, to a customer.  As with many systems, part of the claimed system involved a front-end personal computer maintained by an end user and part involved a back-end computer controlled by a service provider. 

Accordingly, the CAFC was left to address who, if anyone would be a user of the system and thus who could potentially be held liable for infringement.  As an increasing number of businesses use systems that are patented, try to patent systems, and try to avoid the patents of third parties that are directed to various systems, it is important for the attorneys who counsel them to be cognizant of both the CAFC’s holding and reasoning in Centillion.