by Dennis Crouch
Each summer, the Supreme Court takes a recess and patent cases begin to pile-up in the high-court’s docket. Only a handful of intellectual property petitions are granted certiorari each year, but almost all of the petitions raise interesting and important issues of law and policy.
The following is a comprehensive list of Patent cases pending before the Supreme Court. I have excluded a small handful that have (in my estimation) no shot at certiorari and also fail to raise interesting patent law issues.
- Prior Art – On Sale Bar: Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al., No. 17-1229. This case questions whether 102(a) prior art under the AIA is limited to publicly available prior art. Particularly, does a pre-filing sale of the invention count as “on sale” prior art where the sale was a private sale that did not publicly disclose the invention? Merits briefing should be complete in October with oral arguments likely held in November 2018.
Petitions for Writ of Certiorari Pending:
- Inequitable Conduct: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Merus N.V., No. 17-1616. The question presented is “Whether a patent right can be fully extinguished based on misconduct committed by the patentee’s counsel during federal district court litigation to enforce the patent right.”
- Validity – Indefiniteness: American Technical Ceramics Corp. v. Presidio Components, Inc., No. 17-1497 (Can a patent’s definiteness be proven based wholly upon post-filing evidence?)
- Damages – Enhanced Damages: Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., et al. v. Arctic Cat Inc., No. 17-1645 (Can treble damages for “willful infringement” be based upon a “should have known” standard?)
- Validity – Obviousness: Nichia Corporation, et al. v. Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd., et al., No. 17-1707 (Treating obviousness as a question of fact vs law).
- Validity – Obviousness: B/E Aerospace, Inc. v. C&D Zodiac, Inc., No. 17-1252 (Process of obviousness analysis — is there first a prima facie obviousness analysis followed by consideration of objective indicia of non-obviousness?)
- Procedure – Standing for AIA Trials: Return Mail, Inc. v. United States Postal Service, No. 17-1594 (Whether the government is a “person” who can petition to institute a CBM; Does a 1498(a) action count as an infringement action?)
- Procedure – Standing of AIA Trials: RPX Corporation v. ChanBond LLC, No. 17-1686 (What is required for a petitioner to have standing to appeal an AIA Trial final decision?)
- Procedure – Impact of Factual Stipulation: Allergan Sales, LLC v. Sandoz, Inc., et al., No. 18-21 (may the court “ignore a factual stipulation”).
- Procedure – Federal Court Patent Jurisdiction: Alexsam, Inc. v. Wildcard Systems, Inc., et al., No. 17-1483 (Does a breach-of-patent-license lawsuit arise under the Federal Patent laws?)
- Procedure – Joinder of Co-Owner: Advanced Video Technologies LLC v. HTC Corporation, et al., No. 18-77 (When we have co-owners of a patent, can one co-owner use Fed. R. Civ. Pro. R. 19 to force joinder of the other co-owner in an infringement lawsuit?)
- Procedure – Timing of New Trial Motion: Promega Corporation v. Life Technologies Corporation, et al., No. 17-1669.
- Inventor Rights: Leitner-Wise v. LWRC International, LLC, et al., No. 18-52. Leitner-Wise (the inventor) assigned his patent rights as part of a royalty agreement that have not been by the subsequent assignee. May he now sue the assignee for infringement?
- Patent Eligibility: Integrated Technological Systems, Inc. v. First Internet Bank of Indiana, No. 17-1590 (“Does 35 U.S.C. § 282 allow for challenges to a patent’s validity based on patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101?”)
- AIA Trials and Appeals: Stambler v. Mastercard International Inc., No. 17-1140 (Can Congress revoke a patent owner’s right to have the validity of his patent determined by a jury trial before an Article III forum after his patent issues; and (2) whether Federal Circuit Rule 36 contravenes 35 U.S.C. § 144.).
- Infringement — Ensnarement as a Defense: Jang v. Boston Scientific Corporation, et al., No. 17-1332 (“Whether the Federal Circuit’s “ensnarement” defense to infringement [under the doctrine of equivalents] violates patent holders’ Seventh Amendment jury-trial rights.”)
- Prior Art – Effective Date of Prior Art: Ariosa Diagnostics Inc. v. Illumina Inc, No. 18-****. (“If a patent discloses but does not claim an invention, does that disclosure qualify as prior art as of the date of the application in which it was first made, such that no one else may patent the same invention based on a later-filed application?”)