October 7, 2011 13:18 Age: 3 yrs

Professor Holbrook on whether Supreme Court is pro or anti-patent

In today’s SCOTUSblog, Emory Law Professor Tim Holbrook was asked to write on the U.S. Supreme Court’s impact on patent law in recent years, what is expected in the future and whether the current court can be characterized as either for or against patents.

Holbrook discussed how the Supreme Court may rule in two major pending cases: Kappos v. Hyatt and Mayo v. Prometheus Labs.

“In Prometheus … the issues seem to push on to what extent laws or products of nature are eligible for protection, in contrast with Bilski’s focus on business methods and abstract ideas,” Holbrook wrote.

“Last term’s decisions have a distinctively pro-patent bent to them,” Holbrook continues. “In Microsoft v. i4i, the Court agreed with the Federal Circuit that patent claims can only be invalidated by clear and convincing evidence and not a mere preponderance. Even Global Tech v. SEB, the Supreme Court expanded the scope of induced infringement to include actors without actual knowledge of the patent, even though it articulated a higher standard than that of the Federal Circuit.”

He rejected the idea that the Supreme Court is anti-patent.

“Instead of being anti-patent, I view the Supreme Court as being concerned with maintaining balance in the patent system, especially when confronted with the Federal Circuit’s formalistic rules. Because the ultimate beneficiary of the patent system is the public, I think the Supreme Court’s intervention in patent law better accounts for that view point.”

Related links:

Read Holbrook’s comments and thread

Professor Holbrook’s profile

Holbrook’s letter on patent law reform cited by House Judiciary Committee

(See “legal analysis” link)


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