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A Symposium on the Court and Patent Law

Earlier today, First Impressions, the online companion to the Michigan Law Review, published a symposium on “The Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit, and Patent Law.” Following the Court’s three recent decisions in KSR v. Teleflex, Microsoft v. AT&T, and eBay v. MercExchange, the contributors explore whether the cases, considered together, represent an upheaval in patent law and redefinition of the relationship between the Court and the Federal Circuit.

University of Michigan Law Professor Rebecca S. Eisenberg contends that the Federal Circuit’s control over patent law remains little diminished by the Court’s recent foray into the patent jurisprudence. She argues that the most significant impact of KSR may be to embolden the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject more patent applications for obviousness without fear of reversal.

George Washington University Law Professor John F. Duffy argues that the Court’s reform of patent law substance and procedure was predictable and that KSR‘s importance derives from the fact that it highlights many separate trends that are reshaping the patent system.

Patent litigator Harold C. Wegner believes that the Microsoft case revealed the balkanized nature of the Federal Circuit and that KSR, through which the Court created a unified message, will therefore be crucial to the Federal Circuit under future Chief Judge Randal Rader.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Eli Lilly & Co. Robert A. Armitage proposes that Congress adopt the National Academy of Sciences’ recommendations for reforming patent law rather than pursuing “anti-troll” objectives. He also defends the judiciary’s successful track record of responding to common criticisms of anti-trolls without legislative intervention.

Patent litigators Stephen G. Kunin and Andrew K. Beverina explain KSR‘s effect on patent law and outline lessons it suggests for patent prosecution and litigation.