Key Court Cases Which Have Impacted US Patents – An Infographic

Key Court Cases Impacting US Patents

It can be difficult to keep straight all of the court cases which have had an impact on patents in the US. Most patent practitioners, when they talk about these cases, normally only use one of the parties of interest as a placeholder for the entire proceeding. Recently, for instance, there has been a lot of talk about KSR or eBay and for years now attorneys have talked about Graham or Benson. What cases are associated with these names? What is the significance of these particular rulings? What impact have these cases had on the ways that patents are prosecuted and have they had an influence on the value of US patents after the decision? These questions are addressed in a new infographic which looks at 30 significant court cases which had or will have an impact on US patents.

Some of the decisions covered in the graphic are still pending but will likely have a major influence on the business of patents while others were decided before the 1900’s and played a significant role in determining how patents would be filed for and used even to this day. The graphic is laid out as a timeline so the user can see when the cases occurred during the course of US patent history.

For each example the year of the decision and the court involved is provided along with a summary of what significance the case had. Finally, there is a link to Wikipedia or an alternate source where more information on the case can be found for those of you who would like to know even more about it.

The cases included are ones I chose after reviewing a number of lists which discuss various important US patent decisions including the following:

List of United States patent law cases

List of patent case law

Top ten pending patent cases

The list is based on my own personal research and should not be construed as a full or comprehensive one. A colleague of mine has already suggested that I include the Georgia-Pacific case, which established rules for establishing injunctions, for instance. I plan on updating this graphic in the future so feedback on cases which shouldn’t make the cut and others that were not included would be appreciated. Feel free to comment on this post or email me if you would like to suggest alternatives.

If the graphic is scaled to 47% it prints nicely on two sheets of US Letter paper so feel free to print a copy and display it on your desk for easy reference. Hopefully it will help you recall that MedImmune is the decision which held that a licensee retains the right to challenge a licensed patent and the right is not forfeited upon signing the license agreement the next time you hear the term mentioned.

This is the second of a series of infographics on patent related topics. The first on using US Public PAIR can be found here.

On a related note, I have been sharing some of the infographics produced by ClearViewIP as part of the collection of infographics available on the site. I found out recently from Clio Davies at ClearView that she has put up the infographics she has found on Pinterest. You can access them by clicking here. I wasn’t sure how Pinterest could be used in the patents arena but this seems like a very good use of the service.

Download the full file by clicking below:

Comments 4

    1. Thank you Nilesh. I am happy to see that the graphic is useful to you.

      Speaking of Bowman v. Monsanto have a look at the news item I posted about a write up I did on the case for Pharmaceutical Patent Analyst.

      Thanks again,

  1. Tony, have you considered whether any significant decision have come out of cases heard before the ITC? I’m not even sure whether they count as precendent to the CAFC, but I am becoming aware of more infringement cases being heard there, rather than in District Courts.

    1. Hello Stephen,

      Great question. The ITC has become a favorite venue for organizations who want to assert patents since they are typically faster in determining validity and infringement than the District Courts and they potentially have the authority to block imports from entering the US (especially important after eBay and its impact on injunctions). It has become a popular strategy with the monetization of patents in the US to simultaneously file at the ITC as well as the District Court levels. So there have certainly been many cases at the ITC which have been significant from a business perspective but with regards to ruling on the patenting process and its scope they don’t really do that. Regarding the CAFC and the ITC I found the following Patently-O article which specifies that the CAFC can review ITC determinations.

      What I think will be really interesting is how the new post-grant review procedures will impact an assignee’s decision to file at the ITC. Theoretically, post-grant review should allow a faster determination of validity but won’t address infringement or allow for an injunction.

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