Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. With respect to granted cases, a brief for the petitioner was filed in Vidal v. Elster, a trademark case raising a question related to the First Amendment. With respect to petitions, two new petitions were filed, one in a trade case and one in a pro se case. Here are the details.

Granted Cases

The government filed its merits brief for the petitioner in Vidal v. Elster, a trademark case. In this case, the Supreme Court is reviewing whether the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s “refusal to register a mark under Section 1052(c) [of the Lanham Act] violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment when the mark contains criticism of a government official or public figure.” In its brief, the government argues this case raises the question of “’how to evaluate viewpoint-neutral’ bars on trademark registration under the First Amendment.” It also contends the Supreme “Court’s First Amendment precedents have long distinguished restrictions on speech (which are subject to heightened scrutiny) from conditions on government benefits (which are not).” It also asserts the Federal Circuit “erred in holding Section 1052(c) [also known as ‘section two of the Lanham Act’] unconstitutional as applied to marks that criticize a government official or public figure.”

Petition Cases

New Petitions

New petitions were filed in two cases.

In PrimeSource Building Products, Inc. v. United States, PrimeSource Building Products asked the Court to review the following two questions:

  1. “Whether separation of powers principles require courts to resolve ambiguity in statutory limits on delegations of vast legislative power to the Executive in a way that constrains the delegation or, as the Federal Circuit holds, courts must uphold the President’s actions absent ‘a clear misconstruction of the governing statute.'”
  2. “Whether, under the proper standard of review, the Trade Expansion Act of 1968 permitted the President to impose tariffs on steel derivatives without complying with the statute’s procedural prerequisites.”

A new petition was filed with the Court in Becirovic v. Vidal, a pro se case.