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On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., No. 20-440 (June 29, 2021) (slip opinion). Minerva involves a challenge to the “assignor estoppel” doctrine, which is an equitable or “court-created” rule that prevents a party who assigned a patent from later challenging the validity of the assigned patent in district court. The Court first gave the doctrine its seal of approval in 1924, by ruling that principles of fair dealing should limit an inventor’s ability to assign a patent to another for value and then later argue in litigation that the patent is invalid. Westinghouse Elec. & Mfg. Co. v. Formica Insulation Co., 266 U.S. 342, 349 (1924).
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By Li-Jen Shen, Cory Smith and George C. Chen
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has finally filled a gap left by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the standard for finding deceptive intent when trying to prove fraud on the USPTO.
By Robert W. Clarida and Robert J. Bernstein
The Ninth Circuit ruling in Flo & Eddie may turn out to be last stop on the long and winding road the owners of pre-1972 recordings have traveled in their efforts to obtain compensation for public performances through platforms like Sirius.
By Willem Klein
Patent marking is an important step in the patent lifecycle as it is generally required to seek damages from infringers prior to the date the suit is filed. While virtual marking has somewhat reduced the overhead of marking, it suffers from the same problems all Internet-based evidence runs into in court: websites are ephemeral and have intermittent accessibility, as well as poor public logging of when information existed where, and for how long. NFTs on a digital blockchain could potentially overcome these hurdles, while still providing the benefits of virtual marking via websites.
By Joshua R. Stein and Jeffrey S. Ginsberg
Pair of Federal Circuit Decisions Address Standing to Appeal Adverse IPR Decision