Posts Tagged ‘patent litigation’

SCOTUS will look at patent forum-shopping

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of T.C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods, which turns on a minor detail of statutory interpretation but raises high stakes indeed: if the Court agrees that a 2011 enactment narrowed venue in patent suits, it could end the current arrangement in which plaintiffs are free to steer most such suits into just a few friendly jurisdictions. My write-up at Cato concludes:

My own suspicion is that not in a thousand years would a thoughtful deliberative process have entrusted the future care of intellectual property in America’s tech sector to the bench and bar of Marshall, Texas, population 24,501. But that’s in no way a reflection on the quality of the able if wily legal talent to be found in East Texas. It’s a reflection on the quality of the lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.

Supreme Court roundup

Supreme Court roundup

“New Hedge Fund Strategy: Dispute the Patent, Short the Stock”

Like a sports team getting to bet on its own game? “A well-known hedge-fund manager is taking a novel approach to making money: filing and publicizing patent challenges against pharmaceutical companies while also betting against their shares.” [WSJ; ten years ago on selling short, then suing] More: Bainbridge on an academic paper analyzing the effects when a litigant holds long or short positions in its opponent.

Patent litigation: “Could the Eastern District of Texas’s Reign Come to an End?”

Federal law has allowed patent suits to be filed wherever a defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction, and as a result something like 40 percent of suits are filed in the rural Eastern District of Texas, known for its pro-plaintiff rulings and procedures. Now, in a Federal Circuit appellate case called In re: TC Heartland, LLC, a defendant is asking for a case to be transferred (in this case not from E.D. Tex., but from D. Del.) to the southern district of Indiana, where it is headquartered, citing what it says are the implications of a 2011 Congressional enactment, the Federal Court Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act. Others say that it is up to Congress to restrict forum-shopping by clear instruction should it choose to do so, and that it did not do so in the 2011 law. [Mintz Levin] More: WLF.

“How Singer Won the Sewing Machine War”

The “Sewing Machine War” originated from legal combats amid one of the first “patent thickets,” while a pioneering 1856 patent pool ended it. “As licensing fees dropped from $25 per machine (almost half the total price) to $5 about a decade after the pool went into effect; dozens of new manufacturers entered the industry.” [Smithsonian, earlier; related discussion, Adam Mossoff, 2009; Robert Merges, 2015]

Intellectual property roundup

  • Supreme Court suggests sanctions against patent practitioner over eccentric if not incomprehensible certiorari petition [Will Baude]
  • Some copyright and patent owners pursue market-based self-help remedies against infringement [Glenn Lammi/WLF, more]
  • DC Comics sues Spain’s Valencia soccer team because its bat logo is too similar to that of Batman [Yahoo]
  • Federal judge dings California lawyer $87K, finding suit against online news aggregator to be baseless [ABA Journal]
  • “Evidence from opera on the efficacy of copyright” [Michela Giorcelli/Petra Moser, SSRN via Tyler Cowen]
  • Go ask Alice: patent litigation takes a hit after SCOTUS ruling [Legal Ethics Forum, Alex Tabarrok]
  • Adam Carolla managed to crowdfund defense against patent plaintiff, usual cautions against trying this at home [Above the Law]

Intellectual property roundup

  • Supreme Court tackling patent law in several cases this term [Sartori and Aga, WLF; Richard Epstein; Kristen Osenga/Prawfs] New fee-shifting regime announced in Octane Fitness already bringing relief to litigants [Ars Technica on Lumen View/FindTheBest case]
  • Copyright claims on intrinsically newsworthy material: curious claim concerning suicide note [Eugene Volokh] “Is it copyright infringement to post a lawyer’s cease-and-desist letter?” Australian university seems to think so [same]
  • Fate of Prenda Law model spirals downward [Ars Technica, Volokh, EFF]
  • Comedian Adam Carolla has “decided to make himself the focus of the Personal Audio suit against podcasters.” [Steven Malanga]
  • Why, as a textbook author, Alex Tabarrok has concluded copyright law is out of control [Marginal Revolution]
  • Remembering when patent examiners were celebrities (in the 19th Century) [Slate]
  • Someone sends Jim Harper a dubious DMCA takedown notice, and this is his response [Cato]

“How the patent trolls won in Congress”

Sen. Harry Reid seems to have been central:

“We felt really good the last couple of days,” said the tech lobbyist. “It was a good deal—one we could live with. Then the trial lawyers and pharma went to Senator Reid late this morning and said that’s it. Enough with the children playing in the playground—go kill it.”…

Trial lawyers are heavy donors to Democratic politicians, including Reid. … The long history of the divide over other kinds of legal tort reform loomed over the bill, which was dubbed the Innovation Act in the House. The fact that it was the trial lawyers’ lobby that reportedly delivered the death blow suggests that the rift only got wider as debate dragged on.

Key Litigation Lobby allies like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) spoke out against the legislation on the Senate floor. [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]