Abstract

Interactive inventions are systems and processes that can be used by multiple actors at the same time. Many interactive inventions are the product of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things that allow billions of everyday devices to communicate with each other via the Internet. Other interactive inventions are prevalent in the emerging fields of personalized medicine and FinTech (new financial technologies). Unfortunately, the law concerning how to determine liability when a patent directed to an interactive invention is infringed is dissonant across classes of inventions. Specifically, what it means to “use” an interactive system is different from what it means to “use” an interactive method. Why does the law treat these acts differently? Should it?

This Article attempts to answer these important questions. Specifically, this Article contends that the current framework for what it means to “use” an interactive system is problematic. Interactive inventions are different than traditional method and system inventions. Unfortunately, courts have too often applied, especially in recent cases involving interactive systems, an outmoded framework to interactive inventions. When interactive inventions are analyzed under the proper framework, it allows for the application of sound legal principles to solve multi-actor liability problems. Specifically, this Article argues that a direct infringer “uses” an interactive system when it controls the system and obtains a benefit from it. This approach is also more consistent with the recently broadened standard for infringement of interactive methods.

Publication Title

DePaul Law Review

Publication Date

2019

Document Type

Article

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