Patent Law

The Role of Congress and Executive Agencies in 21st Century IP Regimes - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Sandra Aistars, John F. Duffy, David S. Olson, Arti K. Rai, Thomas B. Griffith November 19, 2015

The Constitution specifically vests power in Congress to grant authors and inventors exclusive rights in their writings and inventions. The first Congress passed laws setting forth the requirements and procedures for granting patents and copyrights. In these early days, copyrights were granted for registered works, and Thomas Jefferson himself examined patents as a member of President George Washington's cabinet. As IP laws developed, however, they gave substantial deference to both the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and the Copyright Office, on matters of reviewing, granting, limiting, and defining IP rights. These agencies have come to wield significant influence over the U.S. IP regime. Recently, and notwithstanding its delegations of power, Congress has been particularly active in passing new patent and copyright legislation. Sometimes Congress specifies how the law shall be interpreted and administered, and other times it delegates this to the relevant agencies, or to the courts. By considering specific examples, this panel will examine the role of Congress, Congressional delegation, and executive agencies in crafting and administering our modern intellectual property systems.

Intellectual Property: The Role of Congress and Executive Agencies in 21st Century IP Regimes
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
State Room

  • Prof. Sandra Aistars, Clinical Professor, George Mason School of Law and Sr. Scholar and Director, Copyright Policy & Research, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property
  • Prof. John F. Duffy, Samuel H. McCoy II Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Prof. David S. Olson, Associate Professor, Boston College Law School
  • Prof. Arti K. Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law and co-Director, Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy
  • Moderator: Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

An Opportunity Missed?: Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Gregory Dolin June 25, 2015

In Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, citing stare decisis, the Court held that a patent holder cannot charge royalties for the use of his invention after its patent term has expired. In so holding, the Court affirmed a 60 year-old case along the same lines. But in yesterday’s decision, three justices dissented, stating that “[t] he Court employs stare decisis, normally a tool of restraint, to reaffirm a clear case of judicial overreach.” Should the Court have reversed course?

  • Prof. Gregory Dolin, Co-director, Center for Medicine and Law, University of Baltimore School of Law

Administrative "Death Squads" for Patents? Assessing the New Administrative Procedures for Challenging Patents - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Peter Cicala, Gregory Dolin, Robert Sterne, Mark F. Schultz June 17, 2015

Property rights in patented inventions are being struck down at an unprecedented rate in a new administrative forum. This new post-grant review procedure (PGR), instituted in late 2012, takes place not in a court, but rather in an administrative forum known as the Patent Trials and Appeals Board. The Board has invalidated the vast majority of the patent claims it has reviewed, around 80% by some measures.

The US Patent and Trademark Office appears to have erected a vast and expensive system for granting rights with one hand and taking them away with the other. The former Chief Judge of the nation's patent appeals court, Randall Rader, has called the Board a "death squad" for patents. Many businesses and their attorneys have commented that investors and corporate decisionmakers are re-evaluating their investments in R&D whose value is secured by patents.

Are these criticisms confirmed by the actions of opportunistic hedge funds and law firms? PGR challenges have no standing requirement -- they can be instituted by anyone. Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass has filed a PGR challenge against Jazz Pharmaceuticals after shorting the company's stock. PGRs are viewed as so deadly by investors that they reacted just as Bass hoped -- the stock's value plummeted. Similarly, law firms have been contacting innovative companies and demanding payments not to file PGR challenges against their patents.

This Teleform discussed the expansion of the administrative powers of the Patent Office in establishing the Board, and whether this is another example of overreach by the executive branch that should be reined in via reform measures currently under consideration in Congress.

  • Mr. Peter Cicala, Vice President of Intellectual Property, Chief Patent Counsel, Celgene Corporation
  • Prof. Gregory Dolin, Associate Professor of Law, Co-Director, Center for Medicine and Law, University of Baltimore, School of Law
  • Mr. Robert Sterne, Partner, Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox
  • Moderator: Prof. Mark Schultz, Senior Scholar, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law, Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law

Does Patent Litigation Need a Federal Solution? - Podcast

Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
Eli Dourado, Jay Kesan May 13, 2015

The America Invents Act, the first substantial legislative changes to patent law, took effect two years ago. Late last year, attempts to reform patent law stalled when late opposition to the proposed act was voiced. This year, a number of legislative proposals are under consideration in both houses of Congress. Some proponents of patent reform cite increasing patent litigation as a key indicator that reform is necessary, while opponents argue that the empirical evidence used to support those claims is faulty. Our experts debated new and old empirical evidence, and the underlying need for further patent reform.  Professor Kesan referred to a PowerPoint prseentation available for download on this page.

  • Eli Dourado, Director of Technology Policy Program, Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Jay Kesan, H. Ross & Helen Workman Research Scholar, Director, Program in Intellectual Property and Technology Law, University of Illinois College of Law

Should a royalty agreement exceed the life of a patent?

Short video featuring Greg Dolin
Gregory Dolin May 12, 2015

Professor Greg Dolin of the University of Baltimore School of Law discusses the dispute in Kimble v. Marvel, a case argued before the Supreme Court in March.  Petitioner Kimble invented and patented a toy.  Respondent Marvel contractually agreed to pay royalties on that patent that included a period of time after the expiration of the patent.  The Court is being asked to overrule a precedent dating back to 1964 which held such agreements to be unlawful per se.  

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.