What patents, leaky pipes, and supreme court decisions have in common

by.  Henry Meier

It’s an exciting day at the Meier homestead. The bad news is that there is a swamp soon to be an ice rink in front of my driveway and my wife just looked out the upstairs window to see Town employees tearing up the front lawn of my new house.

The good news is that because the pipe broke under the street, the expense of this demolition is on the Town. (Sorry fellow taxpayers) However, with the water in my house about to be turned off any second a whole bunch of great news will have to wait until Monday.

I did want to highlight one Supreme Court argument that took place earlier this week involving the standard to be used by courts in determining when to make Patent Troll Attorneys pay a defendant’s legal bills when they bring unsuccessful legal claims based on — euphemistically speaking — aggressive interpretations of a patent’s scope. See Octane Fitness, Inc. v. Icon Health and Fitness, Inc. (2014).

Right now, a defendant in a patent case is only entitled to attorney fees in exceptional cases. The patent defendant in this case argued that fees should be shifting any time a lawsuit is objectively unreasonable.” Many credit unions feel they have been shaken down by attorneys who threaten lawsuits if the credit union doesn’t agree to start paying a license for the continued use of its ATMs, for example. That’s why this case offers the potential of a modicum of relief from patent trolls.

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