Posts Tagged ‘patent litigation’

Transferring drug patents to Indian tribes, cont’d

More on the controversy that erupted in September: By ruling the patent invalid due to obviousness, a federal judge may have mooted Allergan’s innovative move to transfer its patent over a successful dry-eye drug, Restasis, to the St. Regis Mohawk tribe. “The Restasis patents are at the center of a novel legal strategy that involves using Native American sovereignty rights to avoid certain types of patent reviews, called inter partes reviews, or IPRs….But this ruling won’t be the last time sovereign immunity is used to defend patents.” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica] And for something contrarian, Joanna Shepherd at Truth on the Market offers context on the bypassing of inter partes reviews, saying IPR is a process itself unbalanced in favor of patent challengers.

September 27 roundup

  • Welcome news: U.S. Department of Education withdraws notorious Dear Colleague letter on Title IX and misconduct accusations [Hans Bader, CEI; ABA Journal]
  • Kaspersky Lab turns tables, forces E.D. Tex. patent claimant to pay to end case [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica] Following unanimous SCOTUS ruling easing fee awards for ill-grounded patent litigation, firm told to “pay $1.6 million in attorney’s fees for filing an unwarranted patent lawsuit against a competitor.” [same, Octane Fitness vs. Icon]
  • Activist litigation with taxpayer imprimatur: “University Of North Carolina Law School’s Civil Rights Center Closes Following Board Of Governors Vote” [Paul Caron/ TaxProf, Bainbridge, earlier]
  • Another positive review for Ben Barton and Stephanos Bibas’s Rebooting Justice [Jeremy Richter, earlier]
  • Appeals court rejects constitutional challenge to North Carolina homewrecker tort (“alienation of affection”) [ABA Journal, Eugene Volokh, earlier]
  • Social engineering often seen as intrinsically anti-liberty. Rightly so? [Cato Unbound: Jason Kuznicki, Alex Tabarrok and others]

Defamation suit after being called patent troll

David Barcelou and his company Automated Transactions, which have sued banks charging patent infringement over their use of Internet-connected automated teller machine technologies, in December filed a defamation suit in New Hampshire state court against the American Bankers Association, Crain’s Communications, and a variety of banks and other defendants. The suit contends that the defendants have engaged in a “smear campaign” intended to discredit the plaintiffs, prominently through use of the pejorative term “patent troll.” [Automated Transactions LLC v. ABA via IP Watchdog]

The patent court where you can’t check out?

Is the notorious E.D. Texas, unwilling to release its clutch, coming up with new rules that will let it keep hearing its enormous patent docket? “In a recent decision, Eastern District of Texas Judge Rodney Gilstrap developed a broadly-sweeping four-factor ‘totality’ test seemingly aimed at keeping patent-infringement suits in his jurisdiction.” [Ryley Bennett, WLF]

After SCOTUS rulings, less forum-shopping

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas fell from 36% of all patent filings to 21% [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal] “Quick trials, big verdicts favoring consumers, and a state law that allows nonresidents to easily join mass litigations made St. Louis a destination of choice for attorneys going after companies that do business nationwide. Those days may be over” following the high court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb [Margaret Cronin Fisk and Jef Feeley, Bloomberg]

More: Multidistrict litigation sought in more patent cases [Amanda Bronstad, Texas Lawyer]

Soon, tumbleweeds in E.D. Tex.? SCOTUS strikes at patent forum-shopping

This morning’s Supreme Court opinion in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, hinging on what I described in January as a dry point of statutory interpretation, is likely to stand as a landmark win for defendants in patent litigation – and, on a practical level, for fairer ground rules in procedure. A unanimous Court (8-0, Thomas writing, Gorsuch not participating) rejected the broad reading of a venue statute by which the Federal Circuit had empowered lawyers to forum-shop disputes from all over the country into a few decidedly pro-plaintiff venues, above all the largely rural Eastern District of Texas. From here out, defendants can still be sued in a district such as E.D. Tex. if they have a regular and established place of business in it, but the decision is likely to shrink what I called in my January preview a “jackpot patent litigation sector… that shifts around billions of dollar.” By redirecting cases into more neutral venues, it should bring outcomes closer to reflecting cases’ actual merits, which would in turn do much toward restoring confidence in this sector of the law.

If Congress believes the Court has erred it is free to restore patent venue to a more shopper-friendly set of rules. But after the experience of recent years, it is unlikely that a Congress of either party or any likely political complexion will have an appetite for doing that.

[cross-posted from Cato at Liberty] More: Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Daniel Nazer, EFF. [& welcome SCOTUSBlog, Washington Post readers]

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.