Askeladden Files a Friend-of-the-Court Brief in Mankes v. Vivid Seats LTD., Fandango, LLC

Amicus brief supports established law governing divided infringement of a method patent

For Immediate Release:
Date: August 12, 2015
Contact: Sean Oblack, 202.649.4629

New York, NY - Askeladden L.L.C., as part of its Patent Quality Initiative (PQI), this week filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of established law that direct infringement of a method patent occurs only when one party - personally or at its direction - performs every step of the claimed method. This case involves allegations that defendants' ticket reservation systems infringe method claims of a patent entitled "Active Reservation System." Following dismissal of his suits against defendants by the trial court for failure to allege facts necessary to support a claim of infringement under current law, the Appellant has now asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to interpret the patent statute more broadly such that direct infringement of a method patent occurs even where a defendant only performed some steps of a patented process and third parties, not controlled or directed by the defendant, completed the remaining steps of the process.

"This appeal could have far-ranging implications. If companies can be held liable for conduct they do not control, then they will be forced to think twice about developing and launching new external-facing products and services," said Sean Reilly, General Counsel of Askeladden L.L.C. "The patent system should support and foster innovation, not potentially hinder it by making companies strictly liable for acts they do not control or might not even know about."

In this case, Appellant argues that the Federal Circuit should interpret the law (35 U.S.C. § 271(a)) "to find infringement where the steps of a claimed invention are each performed by the acts of multiple parties, without the requirement that the parties had a principal-agent relationship, contractual relationship, or were involved in a joint enterprise." Appellant appealed following the District Court's decisions to dismiss two suits brought by Appellant for failure to allege that third parties performing steps of the asserted method claims did so at the direction or control of the defendants and therefore failed to allege facts necessary for direct infringement.

Askeladden's brief argues that uprooting Federal Circuit precedent and dramatically expanding the scope of direct infringement would undermine Congress's statutory framework for indirect infringement liability under the law (35 U.S.C. § 271(b) and (c)). In addition, Askeladden points out that the change in the law advocated by the Appellant would potentially make companies strictly liable for downstream conduct they do not control, and of which they may not even be aware.

The amicus brief can be found on

About Patent Quality Initiative

Askeladden L.L.C.’s Patent Quality Initiative (PQI) is the product of thought-leadership provided by The Clearing House.  Established in 1853, The Clearing House is the oldest banking association and payments company in the United States and is owned by the world’s largest commercial banks, which hold half of all U.S. deposits. Askeladden is an education, information and advocacy organization with the goal of improving the understanding, use and reliability of patents in financial services and other industries. As part of its PQI, Askeladden strives to promote better patents and patent holder behaviors by regularly filing amicus briefs, Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) and engaging in educational activities. Please visit