Glimmers of Justice Gorsuch’s Prospective IP Jurisprudence

On April 10, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia.  While on the Tenth Circuit, Justice Gorsuch wrote opinions on complex trade secret, copyright, and trademark issues in a detail-oriented manner that indicates balanced treatment of intellectual property owners and challengers. His intellectual property opinions delve into complicated issues and thoroughly explain his reasoning.  But his criticism of Chevron deference, exemplified in his concurring opinion in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016), raises questions about how he will approach agency interpretation of intellectual property laws. Click here   Read More »

Posted in Copyright Litigation, IP and Technology Litigation, Patent Litigation, Trade Secrets Litigation, Trademark Litigation | Tagged

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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 »

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

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