Microsoft v. AT&T


Microsoft v. AT&T
Microsoft v. AT&T
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued February 21, 2007
Decided April 30, 2007
Full case name Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.
Docket nos. 05-1056
Citations 550 U.S. 437
Prior history Judgment for Plaintiff, 71 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1118 (S.D.N.Y. 2004); aff'd, 414 F. 3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. (2005), cert. granted, 549 U.S. ___ (2006)
Holding
Because Microsoft does not export from the United States the copies of Windows installed on the foreign-made computers in question, Microsoft does not "suppl[y] ... from the United States" "components" of those computers, and therefore is not liable under §271(f) as currently written. Federal Circuit reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Ginsburg, joined by Scalia, Kennedy, and Souter
Concurrence Alito, joined by Thomas, Breyer
Dissent Stevens
Roberts took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
35 U.S.C. § 271(f)

Microsoft v. AT&T, 550 U.S. 437 (2007), was a United States (U.S.) Supreme Court case that restricts the extraterritorial reach of U.S. patent law. A section of U.S. patent law, 35 U.S.C. § 271(f), lets the holder of a U.S. patent block the export from the U.S. of components that can be assembled to produce a device which violates that patent, even though the patent is not enforceable in the place where that assembly takes place. The court held that a master software disk that is exported and then used to install software at the point of assembly is not a component within the meaning of the law.

In accordance with the general principle that U.S. law stops at U.S. borders, the ruling effectively prevents holders of U.S. software patents from enforcing those patents in other countries unless they hold a valid patent there.

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