We have one remaining Supreme Court patent case this term: Minerva Surgical Inc. v. Hologic Inc. (Supreme Court 2021) on whether the court will maintain the doctrine of assignor estoppel.
The court has been deciding other interesting cases. Here are a few notes:
- Mahoney Area School Dist. v. B.L.: In this free speech case, the school district punished a high school student for her limited-distribution Snapchat post stating “Fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” The post was copied and shared with school officials who suspended her from the cheer squad. In its decision, the Supreme Court found that the school overreached in its pursuit of “teaching good manners” since the speech here was “under circumstances where the school did not stand in loco parentis. . . . [and] the school has presented no evidence of any general effort to prevent students from using vulgarity outside the classroom.”
- Van Buren v. US: In this computer-hacking case, the Supreme Court narrowly interpreted the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in cases involving prohibited “exceeding authorized access.”
- Lange v. California: In this criminal procedure case, an officer flashed his lights at Lange who did not stop but instead to his house, entered his attached garage and began closing the garage door. The Office prevented the garage from closing and then conducted a sobriety test. Lange was over the legal limit and was arrested. The lower courts found no problem with the Officer’s warrantless invasion of the home based upon a categorical rule, but the Supreme Court has vacated — holding that a fleeing suspect does not always permit home invasion. “An officer must consider all the circumstances in a pursuit case to determine whether there is a law enforcement emergency. On many occasions, the officer will have good reason to enter—to prevent imminent harms of violence, destruction of evidence, or escape from the home. But when the officer has time to get a warrant, he must do so—even though the misdemeanant fled.”
- National Collegiate Athletic Assn. v. Alston: In this antitrust case, the Supreme Court found that the NCAA cannot prohibit schools from providing education-related benefits (internships; scholarships; laptops; musical instruments; etc.). The case did not decide the issue of direct payment for playing.
- Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: In this free-exercise-of-religion case, the City of Philadelphia barred Catholic Social Services (CSS) from serving as a private foster care agency because the organization categorically refused to certify any same-sex couples to be foster parents based upon CSS’s religious doctrine regarding marriage. The Supreme Court held that the City’s action violates CSS’s religious freedom.