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Spiderman, Spiderman, Does whatever a spider can (IP – Hit or Miss?)

spidermanThe Supreme Court of the United States has handed down its decision in Kimble v Marvel Entertainment LLC on the issue of whether to overrule an earlier decision that held that patentees cannot receive royalties for sales made after the patent expires.

The short summary to this decision was that in SCOTUS’ view the court should adhere to the decision of¬†Brulotte in which a post-patent royalty provision was regarded as “unlawful per se”. So, a victory for Marvel since they won’t have to continue making royalty payments to Stephen Kimble who came up with the idea behind the invention at the centre of the case.

What makes this decision a little more interesting however is that the case involved a Spider-man toy (in particular a “web-slinger” glove that allows its wearer to shot foam webs from their hands, the Web Blaster Spider-Man toy) and the judge (Justice¬†Kagan) was clearly (i) a bit of a superhero nerd and (ii) having some fun in the decision. (more…)