Westlaw News

Supreme Court signals possible limits to patent law's assignor estoppel

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared open to the possibility of limiting the patent law doctrine of assignor estoppel during oral arguments Wednesday in a patent dispute between medical device makers Minerva Surgical Inc and Hologic Inc.

Seeming skeptical of the arguments on both sides, the justices pressed Robert Hochman of Sidley Austin on his assertion on behalf of Minerva that the doctrine – which bars a party that assigns a patent from later arguing the patent is invalid as a defense to infringement claims – should be abolished entirely, but also questioned the argument by Hologic’s counsel Matthew Wolf of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer to keep it unchanged.

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