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IP Alert: Supreme Court to Hear First AIA Case and Consider Fee Awards in Copyright Cases

January 15, 2016

Today the United States Supreme Court granted writs of certiorari in two cases, Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The Cuozzo case will mark the first case under the America Invents Act to be considered by the Supreme Court. In July 2015, as previously reported here, the Federal Circuit held that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should apply the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard in matters under consideration at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”). The court further concluded that the decision to initiate an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding was unreviewable. The Supreme Court will consider both “[w]hether the court of appeals erred in holding that, in IPR proceedings, the Board may construe claims in an issued patent according to their broadest reasonable interpretation rather than their plain and ordinary meaning” and “[w]hether the court of appeals erred in holding that, even if the Board exceeds its statutory authority in instituting an IPR proceeding, the Board’s decision whether to institute an IPR proceeding is judicially unreviewable.”

The Kirtsaeng case marks the second time the disputing parties have appeared before the Supreme Court. In 2013, as reported here, the Court held that the “first sale” doctrine applies to the copyrighted works acquired abroad. The present dispute centers on Kirtsaeng’s request, as prevailing party, for his fees under the Copyright Act. The question to be considered by the Court in this appeal is “What is the appropriate standard for awarding attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party under § 505 of the Copyright Act?”

Fitch Even attorneys will monitor the progress of these cases before the Court and will report when the Court has rendered its decision in each case.

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