A Good Day for Free Speech Advocates: Supreme Court Holds Unconstitutional Federal Trademark Law’s Anti-Disparagement Provision

In Matal v. Tam, the United States Supreme Court held unconstitutional, under the First Amendment, the “disparagement clause” of 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which permits denial of a trademark registration application by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the ground that it may “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp or disrepute” any “persons, living or dead.”  The PTO had rejected under that statute an Asian-American dance-rock band’s application to register the band’s name, “THE SLANTS.” All of the eight justices considering the rejection – new Justice Gorsuch playing no role – viewed the   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation | Tagged ,

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Supreme Court to Consider Constitutionality of AIA Inter Partes Review Proceedings

The Supreme Court has granted a writ of certiorari challenging the constitutionality of inter partes review proceedings conducted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the America Invents Act.  The Court’s ruling in this matter, especially if it holds inter partes reviews to be unconstitutional, could massively destabilize the patent law system by casting into doubt an administrative regime that has diverted thousands of patent disputes from the federal court system, as well as the many hundreds of decisions invalidating patent claims so far yielded by that regime. Post-issuance proceedings under the AIA, through which the validity of   Read More »

Posted in Inter Partes Review, IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation, Post Grant Proceedings | Tagged , , , , ,

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Supreme Court Permits Biosimilar Drugs to Be Marketed Sooner

On June 12, 2017, in Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that a drug manufacturer may give a required 180-day notice of its intent to market a biosimilar drug before receiving FDA approval. This means that, in some circumstances, manufacturers can begin marketing biosimilars immediately after FDA approval. The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA) required Sandoz to give Amgen notice 180 days before selling its biologic Zarxio, an FDA approved biosimilar drug that relied on the prior approval of Amgen’s Neupogen.  Sandoz notified Amgen before it received FDA approval.  The   Read More »

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Supreme Court Decision Limits Post-Sale Restrictions by Patent Owners

The United States Supreme Court today held in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. that the doctrine of patent exhaustion limits post-sale restrictions by patent owners and that patent rights are exhausted once a product is sold domestically or internationally. Partially continuing the recent theme of unanimous intellectual property decisions (see here and here), the Supreme Court held 8-0 that domestic sales — even restricted sales — exhaust patent rights, and 7-1 that international sales also exhaust patent rights. Under its “Return Program,” Lexmark allowed customers to purchase a reduced-price toner cartridge if the customer agreed to use the   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation | Tagged , ,

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Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Limits Venue in Patent Infringement Suits

In yet another unanimous intellectual property decision (see here), the United States Supreme Court today held in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC that “reside,” as used in the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), “refers only to the State of incorporation,” and not to each state where a domestic, corporate defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction.  This limitation alters the venue landscape for patent infringement suits that has been in place since the Federal Circuit’s 1990 decision in VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co. Kraft Food Group Brands sued TC Heartland in the   Read More »

Posted in IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation | Tagged , ,

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