The Supremes Speak to Patent Issues Twice This Past Term

July 3, 2021

Many US Supreme Court terms pass without a single patent-related decision; however, at the end of this past one, the court, twice divided, handed down two decisions in the patent space. In United States v. Arthrex, the court preserved the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) system for inter partes review (IPR), granting the USPTO director much more power over the PTAB along the way. Roughly a week later, the court upheld assignor estoppel but outlined new limits on the equitable doctrine, limits that the Federal Circuit had “failed to recognize”.

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