Move, Inc. v. Real Estate Alliance, Ltd.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: 03-04-2013
  • Case #: 2012-1342
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Rader, Lourie, Moore
  • Full Text Opinion

Liability for indirect patent infringement can occur when claim steps are performed by more than one entity, provided the elements for inducement are met.

Opinion (Lourie): Real Estate Alliance Ltd. (“Real”) appealed a district court summary judgment grant holding that Move, Inc. (“Move”) did not directly or jointly infringe claim 1 of Real’s #989 patent. The #989 patent covers methodology using computer mapping to search for real estate properties. At issue, was the selection method used by each party’s technology. Real’s #989 patent recited a method with steps wherein the computer chooses dynamic boundaries using user input. The district court found that Move’s system did not allow the user to choose boundaries, but simply allowed the user to select maps with pre-defined boundaries. Because Move’s system lacked control over boundaries, Move did not control or direct the performance of each step of claim 1 in #989. Therefore, the Court agreed with the district court that there was no genuine issue of material fact. However, the Court found the district court erred by not analyzing inducement. Since it is not necessary to prove that all of a claim’s steps were committed by a single entity, the district court erred in concluding that because Move was not liable for direct infringement, it could not be liable for joint infringement. The Court VACATED and REMANDED the case to the district court to determine if material facts existed as to the performance of all the claim steps (possibly by more than one entity), and also if Move induced users to perform the claim steps that Move did not perform itself.

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