Intellectual Property » “Laches” Circuit Decision A Jab At Trolls

“Laches” Circuit Decision A Jab At Trolls

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October 8, 2015

An attorney from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains why she thinks the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals did the right thing, coming down on the side of the alleged infringer in SCA Hygiene v. First Quality Baby Products – “a case about adult diapers that had the potential to harm myriad small business owners and innovators,” she writes. The case had to do with the doctrine of laches, which penalizes a rightsholder that takes too long to assert its rights against a potential infringer. The Supreme Court, in Petrella v. MGM, recently called that doctrine into question with regard to copyright cases, but the Federal Circuit ruling in SCA Hygiene did not extent that limitation to patent cases – correctly, the author argues. She also notes that, given the closeness of the decision, there is a chance this case could be appealed to the Supreme Court. “We hope,” she writes, “that the Supreme Court recognizes the importance of laches and does not give patent trolls even more ammunition by taking away this important defense.”

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