Supreme Court Defines Test for Copyright Eligibility of Useful Article Design Features

Today, in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. (previously discussed here), the Supreme Court resolved an issue that previously had been the subject of “widespread disagreement” in the federal courts—the proper test for determining when a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection. The Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship,” which include “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,” and are further defined as “two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans.” “Useful articles”— articles   Read More »

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Supreme Court Holds Laches May Not Bar Patent Infringement Damages Within 6-Year Statutory Limitations Period

The United States Supreme Court announced today that laches, an affirmative defense based on an injured party’s delay in bringing suit, may not bar patent infringement damages within the six-year period under § 286 of the Patent Act. The Court’s decision in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC reversed the Federal Circuit’s 2015 en banc decision, which held that laches may limit patent infringement damages even during the six-year limitations period. Reversing the Federal Circuit, the Court held that § 286 establishes a statute of limitations for patent infringement claims such that “a patentee may recover damages   Read More »

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Supreme Court: Supplying a Single Component of a Patented Invention from the U.S. Is Not Infringement Under Section 271(f)(1)

Today, in Life Technologies Corp. v. Promega Corp., the Supreme Court held that a single component of a patented invention, even if “important,” does not trigger liability for infringement under Section 271(f)(1) of the Patent Act. Section 271(f)(1) provides: Whoever without authority supplies or causes to be supplied in or from the United States all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention, where such components are uncombined in whole or in part, in such manner as to actively induce the combination of such components outside of the United States in a manner that would infringe the   Read More »

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Supreme Court to Decide Patent Infringement Suit Venue Issue with Potentially Immense Implications

The U.S. Supreme Court this week granted TC Heartland, LLC’s (“Heartland’s”) petition for a writ of certiorari regarding the patent infringement venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).  Heartland appealed the Federal Circuit’s refusal to dismiss the case or transfer a patent infringement lawsuit filed against Heartland from Delaware to Indiana, where Heartland is incorporated.  The Supreme Court agreed to address “Whether 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is the sole and exclusive provision governing venue in patent infringement actions and is not to be supplemented by 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c).”  If the Supreme Court answers the question in the affirmative, venue options likely will   Read More »

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Supreme Court Dismantles $400M Apple Design Patent Award Against Samsung

In Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., the Supreme Court of the United States today reversed the Federal Circuit’s decision upholding Apple Inc.’s nearly $400 million design patent award against Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Apple secured the award after a jury found that Samsung infringed Apple’s design patents covering the iPhone’s iconic front face with rounded corners and 16 colorful icons on a black screen. Section 289 of the Patent Act permits a design patent holder to recover an infringer’s total profits from the sale of any “article of manufacture” to which the infringing design has been applied.  The Federal Circuit upheld   Read More »

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

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