Opinions / Supreme Court Activity

Opinion Summary – Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc.

This past Tuesday, June 29, the Supreme Court decided Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. In a five to four opinion, the Court upheld the doctrine of assignor estoppel but found that the Federal Circuit “failed to recognize the doctrine’s proper limits.” Justice Kagan authored the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer, Kavanaugh, and Sotomayor. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, as did Justice Barrett, who was joined by Justices Gorsuch and Thomas. Here is our summary of the Court’s opinions.

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News / Supreme Court Activity

Recent News on the Federal Circuit

This week and last the Supreme Court decided United States v. Arthrex, Inc. and Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., two patent cases appealed from the Federal Circuit. Here is a report on recent articles and blog posts related to these cases.

USPTO Provides Guidance on Director Review Process Under Arthrex – On IPWatchDog, Eileen McDermott and Steve Brachmann write about how after the Arthrex decision the Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would implement the Supreme Court’s remedy using an interim rule that gives the Acting Director the authority to consider requests for reconsideration of final decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

What Will Arthrex Review Look Like? – Bradley Roush and George E. Quillin posted an article on the National Law Review raising questions many are having about how the Patent and Trademark Office will implement the new Director-led review process.

Justices Uphold a Narrow Version of Patent Assignor Estoppel – On SCOTUSBlog, Eric M. Fraser discusses how the Supreme Court reached its decision in Minerva narrowing the doctrine of assignor estoppel.

Professor Kagan v. Professor Barrett, Round 1 of N – On the Volokh Conspiracy, Josh Blackman posts about how in the Minerva case “two former professors were on opposite sides of the docket.”

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Supreme Court Activity

Recent Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, this week the Court decided Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., in which the Court overturned the Federal Circuit’s approach to the assignor estoppel doctrine. Additionally, three cases were granted, vacated, and remanded based on the decision in United States v. Arthrex, Inc. regarding application of the Appointments Clause to administrative patent judges. As for petition cases:

Here are the details.

  • a reply brief was submitted in support of a petition in a government contract case;
  • the government filed a waiver of right to respond in a patent case;
  • the Court dismissed one petition; and
  • the Court denied five petitions, including four regarding application of the Appointments Clause to administrative patent judges.
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Featured / Supreme Court Activity

Breaking News – Supreme Court Overturns Federal Circuit’s Approach to Assignor Estoppel

This morning the Supreme Court issued its decision in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., a patent case reviewing the Federal Circuit’s approach to the doctrine of assignor estoppel. In a 5-4 split decision, the Court vacated and remanded the Federal Circuit’s judgment. In a majority opinion authored by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Circuit “was right to uphold” the doctrine but “failed to recognize the doctrine’s proper limits.” Here is a brief summary of the Court’s holding with quotations from Justice Kagan’s opinion as well as from dissenting opinions authored by Justices Alito and Barrett.

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Supreme Court Activity

Recent Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. The last week has been a busy one. As for granted cases, this week the Court decided United States v. Arthrex, Inc., agreeing with the Federal Circuit that the America Invents Act created an Appointments Clause violation with respect to the appointment and supervision of Administrative Patent Judges in inter partes review proceedings. As for petition cases:

  • three new petitions were filed in patent law, Tucker Act, and pro se cases;
  • two respondents filed briefs in opposition in vaccine and government contract cases;
  • a respondent filed a brief in support of a petition in a patent case;
  • a reply brief was submitted in supported of a petition in a patent case;
  • the government filed waivers of right to respond in a tax case and a pro se case;
  • a petitioner in a patent case filed a motion to dismiss; and
  • the Court dismissed thirteen petitions.

Here are the details.

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Supreme Court Activity

Recent Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Supreme Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petition cases, three new petitions were filed in patent, tax, and pro se cases; one petitioner filed a reply brief in a patent case; one respondent submitted its waiver of right to respond in a pro se case; and the Court dismissed one patent case and denied the petitions in two additional patent cases.

Here are the details.

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Supreme Court Activity

Recent Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petitions, a new petition was filed in a pro se veterans case; five petitioners filed reply briefs in cases presenting questions related to Tucker Act, patent, and takings law; one petitioner filed a motion to dismiss in a patent case; and the Court denied five petitions in cases involving patent, contracts, and veterans law.

Here are the details.

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Supreme Court Activity

Recent Supreme Court Activity

Here is an update on recent activity at the Supreme Court in cases decided by the Federal Circuit. As for granted cases, we are still waiting for the Court to issue opinions in the two pending patent cases. As for petitions, one new petition was filed in a patent case raising an Appointments Clause challenge; one respondent filed a brief in opposition to a petition raising questions related to an inmate’s right to assert patent infringement; the government submitted a waiver of its right to respond to a petition in a pro se case; and the Court requested a response to a petition raising questions related to preclusion. Additionally, four petitioners filed reply briefs in cases presenting questions related to the Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction, the Appointments Clause, and retroactivity in agency adjudication.

Here are the details.

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Argument Recap / Featured / Supreme Court Activity

Argument Recap – Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc.

On April 21, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. As we highlighted in our argument preview, the question presented to the Court was “whether a defendant in a patent infringement action who assigned the patent, or is in privity with an assignor of the patent, may have a defense of invalidity heard on the merits.” In other words, the parties argued for and against the doctrine of assignor estoppel. This is our argument recap.

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Argument Preview / Featured / Supreme Court Activity

Argument Preview – Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., the case that is predicted to determine the fate of the assignor estoppel doctrine. Specifically, the question presented to the Court is: “whether a defendant in a patent infringement action who assigned the patent, or is in privity with an assignor of the patent, may have a defense of invalidity heard on the merits.” This is our argument preview.

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