patent, litigation, china


China has experienced an extraordinary transformation from a poor, developing nation into a global economic power. With China becoming one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners, however, Chinese companies have become increasingly enmeshed in U.S. patent litigations. Although the U.S. patent laws are intended only to govern conduct within the nation’s borders, the line between domestic and foreign economic activities has become increasingly blurred. Modern sales transactions often span multiple countries, and in such situations, it may not be clear whether the U.S. patent laws apply. For Chinese companies facing exposure to U.S. patent litigations, it is critical to understand what qualifies as an infringing “sale” and “offer to sell” within the U.S. for purposes of determining patent infringement liability and damages. It is also important to understand the circumstances under which a foreign company may be liable for patent infringement in the U.S. if products that are manufactured and sold overseas independently make their way into the U.S. This Article addresses the foregoing issues against the backdrop of the extraterritorial reach and limitations of the U.S. patent laws.