Top US court to tackle Akamai patent row

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Top US court to tackle Akamai patent row

Running since 2006.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a patent case involving technology for managing web images and video that features Limelight Networks and Akamai Technologies and which has been closely followed by much of the high-tech world for years.

In the original case, dating back to 2006, Akamai accused Limelight of infringing on its patented technology for managing web images and video.

The case has wound its way through the court system since then.

Limelight objected to a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which had said that in the case of software and other so-called "method patents," two companies — for example, a manufacturer and a user — can jointly infringe on a patent.

Major technology companies including Google, Cisco, Oracle, Red Hat, and SAP America filed a brief in support of Limelight, saying the earlier ruling could make tech companies subject to more infringement lawsuits.

"I certainly think that Limelight will be reversed," said patent expert Hal Wegner of the law firm Foley and Lardner LLP.

"I'm sure the big software companies are delighted" that the Supreme Court will hear the case, he said.

Akamai Technologies had asked the court to decline to hear the Limelight case, and filed a separate appeal. The Supreme Court did not indicate if it would take the Akamai appeal. 

The case is no. 12-786

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Ros Krasny)

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