On Sept. 16, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the most significant patent reform legislation implemented by Congress in the last 60 years.
On December 2, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., to determine what level of deference, if any, federal courts should give to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decisions on the likelihood of confusion between marks.
On December 3, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank et al. At issue in the case is the trademark doctrine of “tacking,” whereby a party may “tack” the use of an older mark onto a new mark for purposes of determining priority, allowing the trademark owner to make slight modifications to a mark over time without losing priority rights.
On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held in American Broadcasting Companies, et al. v. Aereo that Web-based video streaming service Aereo violates the copyrights of TV networks, but emphasized that cloud computing technologies and other emerging technologies should remain unaffected.
On June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l that all the patent claims in the case, meaning all method, system and “computer-readable medium” claims, were not patent eligible.
On June 2, 2014, in Limelight v. Akamai, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a defendant is not liable for inducing infringement when no one has directly infringed under Section 271(a) or any other statute.
On June 2, 2014, in Nautilus v. Biosig, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s articulation of the definiteness standard, which it said “tolerates some ambiguous claims but not others.”
On May 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the doctrine of laches could not be invoked to bar a copyright claim that was brought within the statutorily allowed three-year window from a particular act of infringement.
On April 29, 2014, in two unanimous decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court laid down a pair of pivotal changes to the rules governing court awarded attorney’s fees in patent litigations. The two cases centered on 35 U.S.C. § 285, which provides that district courts “in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.”
On Jan. 22, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Federal Circuit in Medtronic v. Mirowski Family Ventures. The high court held that the burden of proving infringement remains on the patent owner, even when a licensee seeks a declaratory judgment of noninfringement.