High Court Laches Ruling May Be Much Ado About Nothing
Law360, New York (March 16, 2017, 12:19 PM EDT) -- Later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products LLC. The question in SCA Hygiene is whether laches is available as an equitable bar to presuit damages in patent infringement cases. Although there is a long history of defendants asserting laches in response to infringement allegations, the viability of this defense has been in doubt since the Supreme Court's decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Many have expressed concern that, if the Supreme Court does extend the Petrella holding to patent infringement cases, this will destroy a critical check on so-called "patent assertion entities," or "PAEs." But would a decision striking down laches as an equitable defense in patent cases really be likely to change the dynamic between PAEs and alleged infringers? This article examines recent district court decisions finding that infringement claims were barred by laches, and discusses potential strategies for dealing with a decision in SCA Hygiene that limits the applicability of laches....
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