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.
The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs went into effect for the United States on May 13, 2015.
On March 24, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., ruling that federal court decisions on "likelihood of confusion" can be precluded by earlier rulings on the same issue from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision, affirming the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, holding that trademark tacking is an inquiry that operates from the perspective of an ordinary purchaser or consumer and is thus a question for a jury.
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 May 13, 2015, on remand from the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit held that Limelight did not directly infringe an asserted method claim under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) because the “sweeping notions of common-law tort liability” do not apply to direct infringement.
On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled once again in Biosig Instruments Inc. v. Nautilus Inc. that a Biosig heart rate monitor patent asserted against Nautilus is not indefinite.
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.
On Jan. 20, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed long-standing Federal Circuit precedent under which patent claim construction was reviewed wholly de novo. Specifically, the Court held that while part of a district court’s claim construction should be reviewed de novo, its factual findings are reviewed for clear error.