Today, in Samsung v. Apple, the Supreme Court reversed the $400 million verdict Apple won against Samsung over certain elements of Apple's iPhone design. In an unanimous decision authored by Justice Sotomayor, the Court threw out the earlier verdict of the Federal Circuit, holding that the lower court erred when it ordered Samsung to pay damages equal to its entire profit from smartphones with infringing design elements.
The Supreme Court has recently granted certiorari on the issue of patent exhaustion, in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark Int., Inc., Docket No. 15-1189. Patent exhaustion is a doctrine which holds that the initial authorized sale of a patented item terminates all patent rights to that particular item thereafter. Two questions are presented in this case, regarding both domestic and international exhaustion.
The Supreme Court yesterday decided that it will review the Federal Circuit's en banc decision in Lee v. Tam, a case involving the refusal to register the term "The Slants" as a band name for a group musicians of Asian descent. The Federal Circuit's current decision holds that the USPTO's refusal to register the "The Slants" under the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act is an unlawful burden on free speech.
In the unending saga of Samsung v. Apple (and Apple v. Samsung), the Supreme Court has recently granted certiorari on a single question relating to damages in a case of design patent infringement, that is: where a design patent only covers a single component of an overall product, should a damages award be limited only to those profits attributed to that component? For more on this case, head over to SCOTUSblog - http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/samsung-electronics-co-v-apple/.
The Supreme Court has granted writ of certiorari in a pending Inter Partes Review (IPR) challenge in Cuozzo Speed Tech v. Lee. The questions on review relate to whether the court of appeals erred in holding that in IPR proceedings, the PTAB may construe claims in an issued patent according to their broadest reasonable interpretation, rather than their plain and ordinary meaning, as well as on whether the PTAB's decision to institute an IPR proceeding is itself unreviewable.
In a 6-2 decision handed down in Commil v. Cisco, the Supreme Court has held that a defendant's good faith belief that a patent is invalid does not serve as a defense to charges of inducing infringement of that patent, overturning the previous U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision.
The Supreme Court today granted certiorari in a case asking whether its prior decision in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29 (1964) should be overruled, which previously held that a licensee's obligations are absolved after the expiration of a patent, and that royalty payments for a patent cannot continue beyond the life of that patent.
In an all-or-nothing bet, Aereo suffered a tremendous loss in the Supreme Court this Wednesday. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that Aereo's technology, which transmits a copyrighted television program over the Internet, is a "public performance" as defined by the Copyright Act, and as a result its streams violated US copyright laws.
The Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that the burden of proving patent infringement rests with the patent holder, even in cases where the parties had agreed upon a licensing deal in the past. The case at issue, Medtronic, Inc. v. Mirowski Family Ventures, involved implantable heart stimulation devices (pacemakers) which were licensed by Mirowski to Medtronic in 1991. In late 2007, Medtronic filed an action with the U.S. District Court of Delaware seeking declaratory relief that its new line of devices did not infringe upon the Mirowski patents. The trial court entered a judgment of non-infringement in Medtronic's favor, which was reversed in 2012 by the Federal Circuit, based on a holding that the trial court did not properly allocate the burden of proof in the initial proceedings.