In the sixth episode of S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review series, hosts Judd Littleton and Julia Malkina are joined by Dustin Guzior, co-head of S&C’s Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation practice, to discuss three intellectual property cases that the Supreme Court decided last Term and key takeaways for businesses.
In United States v. Arthrex, the Supreme Court sidestepped an issue that had the potential to affect significantly patent litigation: whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s administrative patent judges must be appointed by the President with approval of the Senate. The Court instead held that PTAB’s structure violated the Appointment Clause of the Constitution because the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not have sufficient power to review the PTAB’s decisions. In Minerva Surgical v. Hologic, the Court narrowed the scope of “assignor estoppel,” which precludes the assignor of a patent from later challenging the patent’s validity, by holding that assignor estoppel does not extend to circumstances that did not exist at the time of the assignment. Lastly, in Google v. Oracle, the Court held that Google’s copying of some of Oracle’s application program interface code for Java was fair use. Because the Court assumed without deciding that such code can be copyrighted in the first place, it left that important question for another day.