December 30, 2014
Today the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered rehearing en banc in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products., LLC. The court will reconsider the doctrine of laches in patent law in light of a U.S. Supreme Court case earlier this year that ruled on the laches doctrine in copyright law.
Specifically, the court announced that it will consider the following issues:
(a) In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 134 S. Ct. 1962 (2014) (and considering any relevant differences between copyright and patent law), should this court’s en banc decision in A.C. Aukerman Co. v. R.L. Chaides Constr. Co., 960 F.2d 1020 (Fed. Cir. 1992), be overruled so that the defense of laches is not applicable to bar a claim for damages based on patent infringement occurring within the six-year damages limitations period established by 35 U.S.C. § 286?
(b) In light of the fact that there is no statute of limitations for claims of patent infringement and in view of Supreme Court precedent, should the defense of laches be available under some circumstances to bar an entire infringement suit for either damages or injunctive relief? See, e.g., Lane & Bodley Co. v. Locke, 150 U.S. 193 (1893).
Fitch Even attorneys will report on the outcome of the SCA Hygiene case in a future alert.
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