Internet Security Systems, Inc Patent Infringement
The patent infringement case between SRI International, Inc. v. Internet Security systems determined whether documents (technical) placed on the FTP of a companys server could be termed as prior act as it is described by 35 U.S.C (102).
Four of the patents by SRI International had already been held as invalid as a result of prior art considerations by the US District Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. A 3 member panel of the Court of Appeals remanded and reversed the decision made by the District Court. The decision made is relevant to law of patent for the simple reason it set precedent for how electronic material or information is treated under Federal Circuit public accessibility precedents.
Background into the case
4 US patents filed by SRI International, Inc were involved in the case. SRI made attempts to license the patents to Internet Security Systems, Inc and Symantec. The negotiations however broke down and this pushed SRI to file a lawsuit in the US District Court of the District of Delaware.
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SRI alleged that the 4 patents had been infringed by Internet Security Systems, Inc. Internet Security Systems, Inc made a move for summary judgment stating that their products were non-infringing but the motion was denied. It then moved for summary judgment that SRIs patents were invalid because of prior art considerations.
The patents by SRI stem from patent applications filed with the US Patent and Trademark office on 9 th November 1998. These patents involved network intrusion detection methods. 35 U.S.C 102(b) however states that a patent is not valid if the invention was described or patented in a publication that was printed whether in this or foreign country or on sale in the countryВ or in public use for more thanВ one year prior to application date for US patent.
Since the application for the patent was filed on 9 th November 1998 prior art focus was determined on the date 9 th November 1997. The case was based on the determination of 4 prominent cases which were the thesis /library cases and used to define boundaries that determine public accessibility of printed documents. Disputes over patent infringement validity focused on existence of 2 papers on SRI International, Inc website. These included:
Emerald 1997-This was presented to the National Information Systems Security Conference (NISSC) as Event Monitoring Enabling Responses to Anomalous Live Disturbances. The description of this was the newest network surveillance approach with streamlined event analysis systems that would combine statistical profiling with signature analysis.
Live traffic paper-This paper also described signature based and statistical techniques that would help monitor traffic on networks and it was available in SRIs server from 1 st August 1997.
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