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U.S. Supreme Court Increases Review of Intellectual Property Cases

San Diego – Historically speaking, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has heard relatively few intellectual property cases. However, in recent years this trend appears to be changing. In fact, the October 2018 term has five IP cases on the docket. The outcome of the cases could have huge ramifications for businesses and their ability to protect intellectual Property assets.

Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC
This case concerns issues related to the effect of bankruptcy on intellectual property licenses and more specifically how bankruptcy effects a trademark license. The case will resolve a circuit split regarding ongoing trademark usage pursuant to a license agreement following the rejection of such agreement under 11 U.S.C. §§ 365(a) and (n).

Rimini Street Inc. v. Oracle USA Inc.
Justices will consider whether the Copyright Act’s allowance of “full costs” to a prevailing party is limited to taxable costs under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821, as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 8th and 11th Circuits have held, or whether the act also authorizes non-taxable costs, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held.

Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com
This case involves when a Copyright Infringement lawsuit can be filed since separate federal courts have come to different conclusions on the question. The primary issues is whether a copyright infringement case can be brought immediately after filing a copyright application, or only after the copyright office acts on the application.

Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Arguments are being heard regarding the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and what pre-sale type activities constitute “prior art” for purposes of determining the patentability of an invention.

Return Mail Inc. v. U.S. Postal Service
This case also involves the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The question at hand is whether the government can be considered a “person” in regard to petitioning for review proceedings under the law.

The Supreme Court increasingly taking intellectual property cases shows the importance of intellectual property to America and American businesses, and appears to be a legal trend that will continue.

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