INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CLIENT ALERT: Federal Circuit Clarifies Law on U.S. Government Contractor Immunity for Patent Infringement

    20 March 2012
    The Federal Circuit, in Zoltek Corp. v. United States, No. 2009-5135 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 14, 2012), recently clarified the scope of immunity for government contractors from infringement suits arising from work they perform for the U.S. government. The Federal Circuit held that a government contractor is not individually liable when the government is subject to suit under the 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a). Furthermore, the U.S. government waives sovereign immunity under § 1498(a) for all direct infringement of a U.S. patent, including importation of a product made outside the U.S. using a process patented in the U.S.