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Patents The Courts United States

US Supreme Court: Patent Holders Must Prove Infringment 143

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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  • Costly discovery? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:54PM (#46047201) Homepage

    I can see this leading to some pretty costly discovery for companies being sued.

    Because it's going to amount to "in order for us to prove you violated our patent, we need you to hand over all of your information so we can find the proof".

    I hope there is a provision for saying "OK, but we're going to charge you $100 million for our time in getting this" -- because otherwise this just allows the patent trolls to cause the people they accuse to incur massive costs which might make settling cheaper.

    You shouldn't be able to make someone bear the cost of you suing them based on something you can't prove without them doing the work for you.

    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?

  • Yawn.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American Patent Guy ( 653432 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:55PM (#46047219) Homepage

    A plaintiff always bears the burden of proof in showing that he is entitled to the relief requested from the court. For patent infringement, that means showing a patent has been infringed.

    The only reason this is in the news is because the appellate court (the CAFC) screwed it up one time, and the Supreme Court had to make a return to sanity.

  • Re:Yawn.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:04PM (#46047341)
    RTFA. The Supreme Court ruled that the defendant has the burden of proof in this case
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:05PM (#46047357)

    This is EXACTLY the problem right now: filing an infringement claim is trivial, it only requires the plaintiff to assert infringement (not detail it). That currently triggers discovery which is costly for the defendant. Defendants thus settle for less than the cost of discovery. That is the essence of legal blackmail/patent trolling.


    The markup happens in March. There is a hearing today as well.

    Stay early discovery or require costs to be borne by the plaintiff.
    Permit fee shifting when plaintiff's lose.
    Identify the real party in interest and REQUIRE a bond - shell companies currently do most of the trolling and are judgment proof (have no assets).
    PROTECT END USERS - using an API can get you a patent infringement lawsuit (if the API is alleged to infringe), offering wireless in your cafe gets you sued (because Cisco allegedly infringed on someones patent and you are using their device).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:15PM (#46048093)

    If there is any federal agency paying any employee anything close to minimum wage, I'd like to see it.

  • by multimediavt ( 965608 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:56PM (#46048427)

    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.

    That $10k price is actually not bad, as the due diligence search has to be done first by the patent attorney. Typically, I've seen patents average closer $20k to file. [] They may also be searching and filing in other countries as well, CYA. So, if he's getting a 10k price he's doing ok. I would not try to self apply if you want the patent to stick. You need a good patent attorney.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents