Thursday, January 11, 2007

SCOTUS Ruling Could Spark Surge in Patent Challenges SCOTUS Ruling Could Spark Surge in Patent Challenges

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday in MedImmune v. Genentech drastically changed the patent infringement and licensing landscape. The Court reversed the Federal Circuit's rulings that a patent licensee had to breach (and infringe) in order for standing to sue for declaratory judgment that a licensed patent was invalid.

The problem had been that getting an infringement case into federal court had become a high risk endeaver for potential infringers. That is because if they had licensed a patent, they were on notice of it, and if they then breached and infringed to get standing, any finding of infringment would be willful. But w/o the infringement, there would be no Case or Controversy, and, thus, no standing.

The Bush Administration had supported the ultimate victor here, arguing that the Federal Circuit precedent discouraged litigating the validity of questionable patents, and, thus, hurt efficient licensing, hindered competition and undermined incentives for innovation.

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