Thursday, July 09, 2015

          In Kimble v. Marvel, Supreme Court Follows Logic Encouraged by Professors Feldman and Armitage

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          The UC Hastings Institute for Innovation Law followed Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises from the beginning.

          By contributing an amicus curiae brief, offering public commentary, and publishing related scholarship, the work of the Institute helped shape arguments in the case. And the Supreme Court’s decision closely follows the logic of the brief submitted by Professors Robin Feldman and Alice Armitage.

          The Court upheld a ban in Kimble on agreements to pay royalties tied to the post-expiration use of a patent. Mirroring the language the professors used in their amicus brief, the Court said that “allowing even a single company to restrict its use of an expired or invalid patent” is against the spirit of the Patent Act, where protected inventions must eventually flow into the public domain. The Court also agreed with the professors’ argument that patent law is not antitrust and should not be treated as such.

          The language referring to the detrimental restraint of a “single company” or “one potential innovator” reflected academic articles published by Professor Feldman. In fact, briefs submitted by both the petitioners and the respondents cited Professor Feldman’s 2003 article, “The Insufficiency of Antitrust Analysis for Patent Misuse,” published in the Hastings Law Journal.

          “This historic decision is essential for the integrity of the patent system,” said Professor Feldman. “The Court confirmed that all good things must come to an end, and that includes patents.”

          In addition to their influential amicus brief and cited publications, faculty and staff at the Institute for Innovation Law made further contributions to the discussion around the case. On the day of oral arguments, Professors Feldman and Armitage, along with Institute Research Fellow Evan Frondorf, contributed an op-ed to the Daily Journal explaining the case. Armitage and Frondorf followed up with another Daily Journal piece unpacking the decision once the opinion was handed down.

          The Institute for Innovation Law

          The Institute for Innovation Law (Institute) is a public interest academic center at UC Hastings. The Institute engages in academic research and education to encourage innovation through the practice and development of law and policy. The Institute’s mission is to identify and promote the tools, knowledge, and skills needed to encourage innovation through the practice and development of law and policy.

          Dedicated to promoting Data-Driven Law-Making, the Institute seeks to empower regulators to make informed decisions using reliable and objective analysis. Importantly, the Institute is developing a set of resources, skills, and knowledge applicable to other areas of the law. Research on legal issues that limit entrepreneurship is one part of a purpose driven initiative to study Data Driven Law Making. The Data Driven Law Making initiative is part of a greater effort by the Institute to support all aspects of innovation, legal and technical, at the intersection of the law and technology.

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