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IPCopy is proud to present a podcast interview by Keltie Partner, Manuela Macchi, with Ronald Coleman, widely known in the IP community for successfully leading ‘The Slants’ trade mark case all the way to the US Supreme Court, securing US Federal registration.
The US Supreme Court judgement was handed down in June 2017, and on the path to this landmark ruling, Ronald had to grapple with fundamental principles of the US legal system, such as freedom of speech and the prohibition to register trade marks that are disparaging.
Little over a year from this judgement, we take a look back at the case with Ronald and discuss legacy, insights and ‘behind the scenes’ of the case. (more…)
Today on IPcopy we have a summary courtesy of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. of a significant patent decision in the U.S. Supreme Court (SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC).
On Tuesday March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a 7-1 decision in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, ruling that laches—the notion that a plaintiff prejudiced a defendant by waiting too long to sue—cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for patent infringement damages that accrued prior to the date of the suit. Explaining that a laches defense would undermine the Patent Act’s statute of limitations for damages, the Supreme Court relied heavily on its analogous copyright decision from 2014, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., to overrule a 6-5 en banc decision from the Federal Circuit.
SCA is a favorable decision for patent owners, but is unlikely to have a profound impact on patent litigation. Laches defenses were always difficult to prove except in the most extreme situations—situations in which the separate doctrine of equitable estoppel remains available. SCA will likely be most significant in cases where the patent owner never actually communicated with the defendant before the suit but instead silently waited a long time to sue, perhaps until sales of an accused product are greatest, significantly prejudicing the defendant in the process (e.g., as a result of significant investments in the accused products or important evidence becoming unavailable). Even in those cases, the defendant may still cite laches as a reason to deny injunctive relief. (more…)
On January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc. The Teva case alters the way the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) will review decisions concerning how patent claims should be construed and whether particular claims are invalid as “indefinite.”
While the ultimate issues of claim construction and indefiniteness will remain legal questions that get a fresh look on appeal, Teva requires that the Federal Circuit defer to the district court’s findings concerning subsidiary facts unless those findings were “clearly erroneous.” Until now, the Federal Circuit has taken a fresh look at even these subsidiary questions, such as whether a person skilled in the art would have understood certain claim terms as having particular meanings.
Teva is likely to impact patent litigation both substantively and procedurally. The substantive changes may take time to develop, whereas certain procedural shifts (e.g., increased reliance on expert witnesses for claim construction) could emerge quickly. (more…)
The Alice v CLS Bank Supreme Court case has generated a lot of heat and light recently with over 50 amicus briefs filed, countless blog posts, and even a slew of newspaper articles on the subject. With commentary from the pro-software patents and anti-software patents side of the fence, the case was billed as either merely an opportunity to validate recent cases on the issue of patentable subject matter and section 101 (Bilski, Mayo & Myriad) or the End of Days Software Patents. Monday (31 March 2014) saw the oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Would this provide an indication of how the case would go? (more…)
Last year we noted that the US Supreme Court is to take a crack at the Alice v CLS Bank Intl case (see here). Shortly after that post we reported on a CIPA seminar “Patentable subject matter in the US” in which Seth D. Levy of Nixon Peabody gave a good overview of what’s going on with patent subject matter (35 USC §101) in the US.
Seth has subsequently provided some further thoughts on the Alice v CLS case. If you’re interested in hearing what US practitioners think of the referral, what we can expect next and how the Court might rule then please see Seth’s comments below: (more…)
The US Supreme Court announced on Friday that it is to review the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Intl. case. The US Court of Appeal, of course, recently handed down its take on the case (see decision dated 10 May 2013 here) in which the 10 judge panel exhibited something of a split opinion.
At the recent AIPLA event in Washington Chief Judge Rader (one of the 10 judge CAFC panel on the Alice/CLS case) commented that he regarded that case as a personal failure and a failure of his institution (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit). Listening to other attorneys at AIPLA a number of feelings were expressed about the case including bafflement, frustration and the merest hint of “the End of Days”.
“US Supreme Court rules that human genes cannot be patented” is the headline that millions of people around the world will be reading today, after the US Supreme Court issued its decision yesterday (13 June 2013) in the ‘Myriad case’.
However, the headline for the general populace is quite different to the take-home message for those in the biotechnology community and for patent attorneys in particular. Whilst there is no doubt that some patents exist to human genes (although never in so far as they encompass a natural gene within a human being – a popular misconception in the press), patent attorneys have understood for a long time that patent offices, such as in the US and Europe, have not granted such broad patents for many years – the patentability requirements are simply too tough to obtain broad gene sequence claims in the modern era. In fact, the results of ‘the human genome sequencing project’, which opened up the possibility for people to easily try to claim human gene sequences has, in fact, made that prospect far harder. People have never needed to worry that ‘their’ genes might be patented by someone else.
In yesterday’s decision it was held that a naturally occurring DNA sequence is a product of nature and not patent eligible in the US, but a cDNA sequence is patent eligible provided it does not occur naturally.
So what would be a more realistic headline to this latest US decision? Well, fortunately for all concerned, the headline is probably not so dramatic as that stated above! We need to take a couple of steps back to understand the outcome of this latest decision.