SCOTUS Patent Scorecard Update

On Mar. 21, 2017, the Supreme Court issued SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC. SCA eliminates laches as a defense against damages where the patent infringement occurred within the 6-year period set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 286. So, score one for plain statutory language, stream-lined patent litigation (as to at least one defense) and patent owners.

In the past 12 years, the Supreme Court has issued 29 patent decisions.

The tally: 17 decisions are not Pro-Patent; 7 decisions are Pro-Patent; and 5 decisions are Patent Neutral.

The trend: Intellectual property (IP) rights continue to be front and center. The Supreme Court has averaged more than 2 patent opinions/year for the past 12 years. In 2016, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

The takeaway: As to SCA, time periods and dates matter. So, when an IP right is born, do you have a plan, a time-line or a life-cycle in mind for that asset? Don’t shelve the asset; keep on top of it.

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