In late 2017, we learned that patent trolls (especially pharma patent gougers) were paying US Native Indian tribes to act as fronts for them in order to block review and cancellation of bogus patents -- the tribes have a treaty right to "sovereign immunity," which protects them from some forms of litigation.
The moved sparked Congressional investigations and dire warnings from pharma execs that the trick was so dirty it would hasten the day that the public decided enough was enough and demanded universal healthcare.
Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has unanimously held that sovereign immunity does not protect patent trolls, because reviewing a patent isn't a lawsuit, it's an "agency enforcement action," and that's not covered by sovereign immunity arrangements.
In short, an IPR isn’t a lawsuit. With no lawsuit, there can be no sovereign immunity.
As the three-judge panel concluded: "The Director’s important role as a gatekeeper and the Board’s authority to proceed in the absence of the parties convinces us that the USPTO is acting as the United States in its role as a superior sovereign to reconsider a prior administrative grant and protect the public interest in keeping patent monopolies ‘within their legitimate scope.’"
Allergan can now choose to appeal further to the Supreme Court of the United States, which only agrees to hear a tiny percentage of cases.
Court: Native American tribe can’t be a “sovereign” shield during patent review [Cyrus Farivar/Ars Technica]
Last September, Jessica Lundquist passed through a body-scanner at Burbank airport and was told by a TSA screener that they wanted to conduct a "groin search" on her.
For years, rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) has been scanning and posting proprietary elements of the law, such as standard annotations or building and safety codes developed by outside parties and then incorporated into legislation, on the theory that if you are expected to follow the law, you must be able to read, write and […]
Last week, just before everything shut down for Thanksgiving, the Republican-appointed Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina handed $2.5m to the white nationalist Sons of Confederate Veterans, claiming it would settle a lawsuit over the removal of a Confederate "Silent Sam" statue from campus -- but as local litigator T Greg Doucette […]
The bummers of adulthood are too many to count, but one of our least favorites is the inability to sit down and enjoy a nice bowl of cereal. When you’ve got a long commute ahead, let’s face it: That extra time it takes to pour the milk and chow down is too precious to spare. […]
Who are these people that have time for a job, social life, and actual healthy meals? With a nutrition segment on seemingly every talk show and entire networks devoted to food, it can sometimes seem like we’ve never left our mother’s house and her constant admonitions to “eat your vegetables!” And okay, she was right. […]
Every Christmas list has names you dread buying for. But hold up: Before you wave the white flag and get them yet another gift card, scroll down a few. We’ve got 15 items that run the gamut from stylish old-school lighters to cutting-edge audio tech, enough variety to please any Scrooge. And the best part? […]