Compliance » Spate Of “Intent” Cases On SCOTUS Docket

Spate Of “Intent” Cases On SCOTUS Docket

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December 15, 2014

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Commil v. Cisco, a case that will consider whether a good faith belief that a patent is invalid will be sufficient to preclude a charge of induced infringement. A Morrison & Foerster post notes this becomes the fourth case before the Court this term dealing with questions of “intent or knowledge standards under federal law.” In Omnicare v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, the question is whether a defendant needs to know that an opinion in a securities disclosure is false for there to be a valid claim under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, or, alternatively, whether the fact the opinion proved to be false is sufficient. The other two cases address what constitutes a threat under a federal law, and how an employer’s knowledge about a person’s religious practice and need for accommodation can or cannot serve as the basis for a civil rights violation following a refusal to hire. The defendants in all four cases, the authors write, “contend that fairness interests should preclude a finding of liability for conduct they did not understand as wrongful (or at least not illegal) at the time they acted, while the plaintiffs and the government “counter that legitimate enforcement interests should not be frustrated by difficult to establish intent standards (or difficult-to-disprove intent defenses).”

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