Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Supreme Court term without a patent case?

The Supreme Court has had quite a patent law run over the first half of the decade, with major patent cases in 2011 (Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. Partnership), 2012 (Mayo v. Prometheus; Bowman v. Monsanto), 2013 (Assn. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad), 2014 (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International), and 2015 (Teva Pharmaceuticals v. Sandoz).

As of now, it appears that the Supreme Court does not have a patent case on its docket for the upcoming term.  As a matter of public policy, some argue that changing too many aspects of patent law at once results in a far higher risk of unintended consequences (I agree with that position).

However, we can still expect some significant changes to patent law this year as various patent bills make their way through Congress.  At this point, it appears likely that H.R. 9 aka the "Innovation Act", will pass in some form.  Also pending are the PATENT Act, S. 1137, the STRONG Act, S. 632, the TROL Act, H.R. 2045, the Demand Letter Transparency Act, H.R. 1896, and the Innovation Protection Act, H.R. 3349.

Of course, the Supreme Court can always decide to take a case later, but at this point it look like the action on patents take place on Capital Hill (and in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals as they try to figure out how to harmonize and understand all of the Supreme Court's recent decisions).

UPDATE:  The Supreme Court has announced it will decide the standard for enhanced damages for intentional patent infringement.  The Supreme Court's focus on patents continues.

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