📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Chief Justice John Roberts Calls U.S. Patent Challenge Process Bizarre The Supreme Court is hearing a case about an invalidated speedometer patent.

By Reuters

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Reuters

Reuters | Joshua Roberts
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday described as bizarre the legal process used by companies to challenge competitors' patents as the Supreme Court heard a case involving a vehicle speedometer that alerts drivers if they are driving too quickly.

The eight justices heard an appeal filed by Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC, whose speedometer patent was invalidated in a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office review board procedure after being challenged by GPS device maker Garmin Ltd. in 2012.

The issue before the justices during a one-hour argument in the case was whether the U.S. government has made it too easy for companies to pursue challenges to the patents of other companies.

New Jersey-based Cuozzo challenged the board's action in federal court, and an appeals court last year upheld the agency's action. Cuozzo then asked the Supreme Court to reverse the appellate decision. Garmin is no longer involved in the case.

Roberts was the most outspoken critic among the eight justices of the current system in which companies can adopt a dual-track strategy by challenging patents simultaneously in federal court and through the agency review board.

Roberts described the system as a "bizarre way to ... decide a legal question" and a "very extraordinary animal in legal culture to have two different proceedings addressing the same question."

Justice Stephen Breyer appeared more sympathetic to the patent office. He said the 2011 law that set up the review board procedure may have intended to counter criticism that the patent office issues "too many patents that shouldn't have been issued in the first place."

So-called patent trolls, entities that hold patents only for the purpose of suing firms seeking to develop new products, have benefited from that generosity.

Breyer indicated that the patent office views the law as allowing a second bite at the question of whether a patent should have been issued. Breyer called it a "partial-Groundhog Day statute," referring to the 1993 film "Groundhog Day" in which Bill Murray's character repeatedly re-lives the same day.

Companies that are frequent targets of patent suits, including Apple Inc and Google Inc, have turned to the patent office procedure, known as "inter partes review" (IPR), to try to fight off patent challenges.

Google and Apple joined court papers backing the patent office.

Cuozzo told the justices that in nearly 85 percent of cases some or all of the patents challenged were canceled.

A ruling is due by the end of June.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley. Additional reporting by Andrew Chung.)

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Health & Wellness

You Won't Be a Successful Entrepreneur Until You Adopt These 3 Habits

Being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint!

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Science & Technology

More Companies Are Rushing to Hire A Chief AI Officer — But Do You Need One? Here's What You Need to Know.

Companies are appointing executives to oversee AI. A better approach: infuse the technology throughout the organization.

Business News

Here's What Millions of Small Businesses Have in Common, According to a New Survey

A majority of the businesses surveyed, almost three in five, have been running for at least six years, and 15% were operational for over a quarter of a century.

Marketing

This Google Update Could Be Tanking Your Traffic. Follow These Steps to Significantly Boost Your Page Views and Revenue Now.

This crackdown demonstrates Google's commitment to enhancing search result quality and combating manipulative tactics like AI content spam. But it also raises an important question: How can website owners increase organic traffic significantly in this new reality?