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SCOTUS: Timing is everything in patent infringement cases


SKU: IIPas171. Category: .


Abstract: Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “laches” — a plaintiff’s unreasonable delay in pursuing an infringement claim — couldn’t preempt a claim for damages sustained within the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations. Now the Court has extended its reasoning to patents, eliminating the laches defense for infringement allegedly committed within the Patent Act’s six-year statute of limitations. This article discusses the Court’s decision, which rejected the position long taken by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears all appeals involving patent infringement. A sidebar notes that the doctrine of equitable estoppel might offer an alternative to a laches defense. SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, No. 15-927, March 21 2017 (U.S.) Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., No. 12–1315, May 19, 2014 (U.S.)

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