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Posts in US Supreme Court

Supreme Court Denies Patent Petitions on Arthrex, Eligibility

On November 16, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions for certiorari in two cases from the Federal Circuit: IYM Technologies LLC v. RPX Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. and WhitServe LLC v. Donuts Inc. IYM asked the Supreme Court to grant review “to determine whether the Arthrex decision applies to all appeals that were pending when [the Arthrex decision] issued.” In the WhitServe petition, WhitServe asserted that a determination of patent ineligibility “necessitates impermissible fact-weighing at the pleading stage and eviscerates the statutory presumption of validity.”

What SCOTUS’ Decision to Scrutinize Social Security Act Appointments Clause Case Means for Arthrex

Last week, an order list issued by the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that the nation’s highest court had granted a pair of petitions for writ of certiorari which were then consolidated into Davis v. Saul. The petition in Davis asks the Supreme Court to determine whether claimants seeking disability benefits or supplemental security income under the Social Security Act (SSA) must exhaust their Appointments Clause challenges with the administrative law judge (ALJ) at the agency in order to obtain judicial review of that challenge in federal court. Given the Appointments Clause challenge to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings at issue in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, many patent practitioners are interested in the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision on whether such challenges can be brought up for the first time on appeal from agency proceedings when parties first claim that constitutional challenge while seeking judicial review in federal courts.

Skidmore Seeks a Second Chance at SCOTUS in Led Zeppelin Copyright Case

On October 30, Michael Skidmore, Trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, filed a petition for rehearing of the denial of its August 6 petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court. In the original petition, Skidmore requested that the Supreme Court review a March judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit siding with Led Zeppelin in a long-running case examining whether the opening notes of the band’s legendary song “Stairway to Heaven” infringed the song “Taurus,” written by Robert Wolfe of the band Spirit, a contemporary of Led Zeppelin. Skidmore brought the original suit in 2014. In the petition for rehearing, Skidmore claims that the “Ninth Circuit’s en banc opinion herald[ed] the ‘death of music copyright,’ just as happened to literary copyright before it.”

The Troll Narrative Infected the Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy was the Vector

An untold story of the patent “reform” era is how the High Court (as well as the Congress) blithely accepted an exaggerated narrative spun by the PR campaign of the Coalition for Patent Fairness (CPF). It might have been more accurately named the “Coalition for Patent Weakness.” That is what its massive PR/lobbying campaign relentlessly sought and the result CPF members ultimately got, including at the Supreme Court. But how did it happen? To see it emerging, one need only look at three opinions of retired Justice Anthony Kennedy:  eBay in 2006, KSR in 2007 and Bilski in 2010. Then compare his many factual assertions, although unsupported, except for two, to the widely publicized narrative of the CPF.

Google v. Oracle: The High Court Holds the Future of IP in Its Hands

In what many regard as the intellectual property case of the century, the United States Supreme Court has—on October 7, 2020—presided over oral arguments in Google v. Oracle. The decade-long dispute between two of Silicon Valley’s behemoths centers on Google’s unauthorized use of 11,500 lines from Oracle’s Java APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) declaring code in its Android operating system. Given the global ubiquity of smartphones, roughly three-quarters of which use the Android operating system, the financial stakes have never been higher. As we await the outcome of the October 7 proceedings, there are important questions to contemplate, including the uncertain impact of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. In particular, can the attorneys for Google convincingly argue that the unauthorized use of the JAVA APIs’ declaring code is justified? It may be justifiable if these particular API packages are not copyrightable. On the other hand, if Google accepts Oracle’s claim of copyright protection, can Google then assert a fair use defense for its use of 11,500 lines of declaring code?  

Federal Circuit Denies AAM Request to Stay Mandate Pending Supreme Court Review

On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential order in American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. v. Neapco Holdings denying American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.’s (AAM’s) motion to stay issuance of the mandate pending the filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. AAM’s motion to stay was the result of the CAFC’s precedential modified opinion that issued on July 31, 2020 modifying a prior October 3, 2019 opinion.  In the July 31 opinion, the CAFC vacated the prior judgment with respect to claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 7,774,911
and remanded to the district court to address eligibility with respect to claim 22 and related claims.

Will SCOTUS Tell Bad Spaniels to Roll Over?

Sometimes a dog toy is just a dog toy. Maybe that’s how Sigmund Freud would have put it; certainly, that’s the message from our client, the International Trademark Association (INTA), to the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is a Ninth Circuit decision that extends First Amendment protection to ordinary commercial goods like dog toys, at the expense of trademark rights. INTA, Jack Daniel’s competitors, alcohol beverage industry associations, and other trademark advocates this week asked SCOTUS to step in and reverse.

The Price of Paice and Complexity: Rules, Standards and Facts for Post-Judgment Royalty Consideration

The Supreme Court and Federal Circuit permit prevailing patentees to obtain a higher royalty rate for an infringer’s post-judgment infringing sales. But whatever the reason, district courts have oft-resisted, even establishing presumption-like rules that a court’s post-judgment rate will merely match the pre-judgment rate determined by the jury. While the Federal Circuit recognized the availability of post-judgment running royalties more than a decade ago, litigators addressing the issue at the trial level still have leeway to urge many of the principles that govern and can shape this process. We outline the developments in this area of law since its 2007 inception, including various open issues left for the Federal Circuit’s precedential consideration. 

‘Myspace Laws in a Tik Tok World’ – Tillis asks Amy Coney Barrett about Patent Eligibility and Copyright Law

This afternoon on Capitol Hill, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Chair of the Senate Intellectual Property Intellectual Property Subcommittee, had the opportunity to question Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the United States Supreme Court. During his time, Senator Tillis spent several minutes speaking with Judge Barrett about her views on both patent and copyright law.

Patent Stakeholders Weigh in on High Court Decision to Hear Arthrex

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in three cases involving Arthrex, Inc. focusing on the question of whether the administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) were constitutionally appointed. The Court has consolidated the cases and limited the questions to question one and two in the United States government’s memorandum of July 22 in both Smith & Nephew, Inc., et. al. v. Arthrex, Inc. et. al. and Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., et. al.

SCOTUS Denial of TCL v. Ericsson Petition Means Juries Decide Damages for SEP Infringement

On October 5, the United States Supreme Court denied TCL Communication’s petition for certiorari in TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. V. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson. Of course, the issue wasn’t quite as simple or straight forward as TCL suggested. While Ericsson was under a FRAND obligation, TCL was engaging in infringing activities during a period in which they had no license to use the Ericsson patents. Thus, the threshold question was really whether the relief sought was equitable or legal in nature. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in an opinion authored by Judge Raymond Chen and joined by Judges Pauline Newman and Todd Hughes, determined that the payment for past infringing activities sought a legal remedy requiring a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision not to grant certiorari lets stand this decision.

Justices Look for Reassurance That the Sky Won’t Fall When They Rule in Google v. Oracle

Google and Oracle each got to have their say in U.S. Supreme Court today, when eight justices heard oral argument in the closely-watched battle between the two tech giants. The questioning revealed some strong skepticism of Google’s arguments, but also potent fear that a ruling for either side might upend industry practices in computer programming. Both sides claim that a ruling for the other will harm innovation.  The High Court agreed to hear Google’s petition for a writ of certiorari last year. The Court is considering the questions: 1) Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and 2) Whether Google’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.

Rently Makes Section 101 Bid to High Court

Consumer 2.0, Inc. d/b/a Rently has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision holding its patent claims ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The claims are directed to “the use of lockboxes able to recognize time-limited codes and coordination of those codes with software to facilitate secure automated entry.” Rently’s petition was filed just as the High Court kicked off its new term by denying certiorari yesterday in Chamberlain v. Techtronic, which also sought review of a Section 101 eligibility decision.

Google’s Fair Use Shell Game

Google has admitted it copied over 11,000 lines of Oracle’s creative Java code to build its Android smartphone platform, that it makes commercial use of the code it copied, and that it uses the code for the same purpose as Oracle and those who license its products. Now, Google wants the Supreme Court to hold that this is fair use under American copyright law. Stripping away the diversions that Google and its amici offer the Court, these are the core facts which show how extreme Google’s invocation of fair use in this case truly is…. As the October 7 oral argument date nears in Google v. Oracle, I’d like to build on the fair use discussion by Washington, D.C. attorney Terry Campo published in August to further analyze Google’s claims of fair use to excuse its copying. The company’s claims aren’t just insufficient, they’re undermined by Google’s own arguments.

Morse Code: Is There a Message Behind the Federal Circuit Split in American Axle v. Neapco? (Part I of II)

It may seem surprising that the patent eligibility of making an axle for a motor vehicle could be so divisive among judges of a court tasked by design with the most difficult questions of patent law. And this internal division might appear particularly surprising given that the roots of the views expressed among the judges in the split decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in American Axle & Mfg., Inc. v. Neapco Holdings LLC et al., Case No. 2018-1763, slip op. (Fed. Cir., July 31, 2020) pre-date a famous 170-year old Supreme Court decision involving Samuel F. B. Morse’s telegraphy method, which was featured by the concurring opinions in the denial of the petition to rehear the case en banc. When viewed in a larger context, however, the most significant realization might be a unifying and constructive underlying message from the Federal Circuit bench.