Monday, May 2, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether Laches Remains a Defense to Patent Damages Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court today granted cert in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, Case No. 15-927.  Here is the question presented in the petition for certiorari:
Whether and to what extent the defense of laches may bar a claim for patent infringement brought within the Patent Act’s six-year statutory limitations period, 35 U.S.C. § 286.
Back in September I blogged about the Federal Circuit decision that led to the cert petition, in which the majority held that "Congress codified a laches defense in 35 U.S.C. § 282(b)(1) that may bar legal remedies," notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that "the equitable defense of laches (unreasonable, prejudicial delay in commencing suit)" does not bar a claim for damages occurring within copyright's three-year limitations period.  The Federal Circuit just recently reaffirmed the holding in SCA Hygiene in its March decision in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., which I blogged about here. 

Here is the docket page for SCA Hygiene as maintained by Scotus Blog.  The Court also granted cert today in a copyright case Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., to address the question "What is the appropriate test to determine when a feature of a useful article is protectable under § 101 of the Copyright Act?"

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