“Offer to Sell” Infringement Involving Crossborder Transactions: Lessons from Transocean

Wang, Yan | October 1, 2012

U.S. patent law has traditionally been territorial in nature, which limits direct infringement liability to activities in the territorial United States. In pertinent part, § 271(a) of the U.S. Patent Act provides, “whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention . . . infringes the patent.”1 However, exponential growth in intellectual property issues in international transactions during recent decades pushed Congress and the judiciary to adjust the extra-territorial reach of U.S. patent protection. To conform to the international trade community, Congress amended § 271(a) in 1994 to add two new forms of infringement: (1) “offers to sell . . . within the United States” and (2) “imports into the United States.”2 This Note focuses on the definition of “offer to sell” infringement and recent progress within the Federal Circuit in interpreting the scope of offer to sell infringement under § 271(a).