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Patents The Courts United States

US Supreme Court: Patent Holders Must Prove Infringment 143

Posted by timothy
from the telling-mom-what-you-did dept.
jfruh writes "The Supreme Court issued a ruling that might help marginally curb patent madness. Ruling on a case between Medtronic and Mirowski Family Ventures, the court rules that the burden of proof in patent infringement cases is always on the patent holder. This is true even in the specific case at hand, in which Medtronic sought a declaratory judgement that it was not violating the Mirowski patents."
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US Supreme Court: Patent Holders Must Prove Infringment

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  • Re:Yawn.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Uninvited Guest (237316) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:22PM (#46047537)
    Correct. The long version: The plaintiff in a patent case is usually the patent-holder, who is seeking damages for infringement. In those cases, the patent-holder-plaintiff already had the burden of proof. In this case, the (potentially infringing) plaintiff is seeking protection from patent infringement lawsuits by suing the patent holder, requiring the (patent holder) defendant to prove that the patents are valid and/or that the plaintiff infringes the patents. Normally (and the appeals court found), the plaintiff would have the burden of proof. According to the appellate ruling, the plaintiff (potential infringer, seeking protection) would have to prove that they were not infringing, or prove that the patents were invalid. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the lower court ruling: The patent holder, whether plaintiff or defendant, must prove that the other party (plaintiff or defendant) infringed the patents, and that the patents are valid.
  • Re:Haha wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by fast turtle (1118037) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:31PM (#46047653) Journal

    Now Google can fight MS in regards to their claims of Patent Infringenment in Android and force them to prove it. If they fail, then MS is going to be out lots of money for the licenses they've charged for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:31PM (#46047657)

    I am not a fan of the current patenting system, but this is BS, a patent application costs $10,000

    LOL...if someone is charging you $10K to file it for you, then you are getting ripped off.

    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee010114.htm

  • Re:Costly discovery? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Karzz1 (306015) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:49PM (#46047841) Homepage
    This reminds me of the SCO lawsuit, where the most they ever found was, what, 7 lines of infringing code which SCO themselves had nicked from AT&T UNIX?

    A little off-topic I know, but IBM was never found to have infringed on any code from SCO. SCO tried to *claim* some code that was already licensed under a FLOSS license was the same as their code and thus infringed on their IP. They made a big deal of this to the press forcing them to sign NDA's & "showing them the code". [theage.com.au]
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:38PM (#46048299)

    Without the court order you also aren't going to get very far in that process as they aren't exactly going to welcome you into their office, sit you down at a console, and give you access to their code.

    That's only really valid for software patents. Since you could just buy one of their widgets and pull it apart.

    If it makes software patents less appealing to file and more costly to pursue and harder to troll, good. They shouldn't be patents in the first place

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:58PM (#46048455)

    It took me about 30 seconds to find this using something called "Google":

    http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/pay-systems/federal-wage-system/

    The Federal Wage System is the pay scale used for low-wage, hourly government workers. I'm not going to do _all_ the work, but the lowest rate I could find--before I got bored--related to FWS is $10.27/hour. (http://www.cpms.osd.mil/Content/AF%20Schedules/survey-sch/045/045R-17Sep2013.html)

    Where I come from that's less than minimum wage. Granted, it's not the federal minimum wage. But there may be other, lower pay scales. Alternatively, maybe nobody is actually paid that $10.27. I dunno. And neither do you. All you have are your myths and prejudices to inform you.

  • by pavon (30274) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:27PM (#46048865)

    If you sue someone for patent infringement you have always had the burden of proof, even before this ruling. All this ruling is saying is that if you threaten to sue someone, and they go to a judge first asking you to put-up or shut-up, the burden is still on you as the patent holder, same as if you had sued them.

    Secondly, this ruling does nothing to limit the discovery process. As a small inventor suing a big company you still have the same subpoena powers during discovery as you did before.

    In other words, the Supreme Court simply reaffirmed that accused infringers are innocent until proven guilty, regardless of the procedural nuances of how the lawsuit is initiated. None of the concerns you voiced will become worse due to this ruling.

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