Bonum Certa Men Certa

Interesting Supreme Court Cases About Patents in the United States

Another 'Alice' on the way?

The bronze doors of the US Supreme Court
The bronze doors of the US Supreme Court



Summary: A quick review of some of the latest developments regarding SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court) as far as patents go

There will soon be an interesting design patent case at the Supreme Court of the United States, alongside other cases that are not about patents and some that are (some are about copyrights too). A new article by Dennis Crouch, covering a "patent-copyright parallel" (not exactly the same as in Oracle v. Google), says about one such case: "In both patent and copyright cases the issue of laches arises more often than you might think because of the legal treatment of “ongoing” infringement. Each infringing act is seen as a new act of infringement. Thus, the six-year limits period starts anew each time a new copy of the infringing product is made, sold, or used. If someone has been making an infringing product for the past 10 years, the statute would let the patentee them reach back 6 years for damages. Courts often see that result as as problematic when the patentee sits on its rights for so long (and since most civil claims have a shorter period of limitations) and thus apply the laches doctrine to limit collection of back damages even when within the six-year period."



"Müller essentially changed sides and he is against Apple's unreasonable patent demands these days.""This is, incidentally," said this one person, "the second time this term that SCOTUS has granted one copyright and one patent case in a day" (SCOTUS typically rules in favour of reformists these days, so whichever such case the Justices take under their wing would likely end well).

As Florian Müller put it in this morning's article about design patents: "In about five weeks from now, we'll see how successful Samsung's mobilization efforts have been, and two months after that we'll see the fruits of Apple's campaigning." The focus of Müller, however, is stated upfront in his title: "Where will the 'friends of the Supreme Court' come down on design patent damages in Apple v. Samsung?" Müller and I do not agree on the Oracle v. Google case (we had a long exchange about it today), but we do agree on the Samsung case. Müller essentially changed sides and he is against Apple's unreasonable patent demands these days. If SCOTUS rules against Apple (in any of the ongoing cases), it will be good news for Google, for Android, for Free software, and for Linux. Apple has placed itself on the wrong side of history.

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