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Court revives $45 million patent verdict against Limelight

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(Reuters) — Limelight Networks Inc. is responsible for infringing rival Akamai Technologies Inc.'s patent for managing Web images and video, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday, reviving a $45 million verdict against the company.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the District of Columbia said Limelight's control over its customers' use of its services to deliver media content over the Internet means it is liable for violating the Akamai patent.

The decision by a full slate of 10 judges on the Federal Circuit, the top U.S. patent court, vacated the same court's previous decision in May.

Shares of Limelight were down 4% to $3.12 on the Nasdaq in morning trading. Akamai was up slightly.

Technology companies have closely followed the case, which was on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court. It centers on whether a company can be said to infringe a patent when the final step leading to infringement is carried out by a third party.

The legal dispute dates to 2006, when Akamai accused Arizona-based Limelight of infringing on its patented technology for efficiently handling website content. A jury in 2008 found in Akamai's favor, but the judge threw out the verdict saying Limelight did not itself use all of Massachusetts-based Akamai's technology.

The appeals court on Thursday overturned that ruling because "substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict that all steps of the claimed methods were performed by or attributable to Limelight."

The case is Akamai Technologies Inc. et al. v. Limelight Networks Inc. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 2009-1372.