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Mossoff Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Patent Rights

On May 27, 2016, Professor Adam Mossoff, along with twelve other law professors including Professor Eric Claeys, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in MCM Portfolio LLC v. Hewlett-Packard Company, a case appealed from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding the nature of patent rights.  

Professor Adam Mossoff
Professor Adam Mossoff
In their brief, the professors argue that the Court should grant certiorari because the decision by the Court of Appeals did not provide adequate protection to the constitutional rights of patent holders. “This failure violates the separation of powers doctrine and undermines the constitutional function of the patent system in promoting innovation.”  

In the case, Hewlett-Packard filed a petition with the Patent and Trademark Office seeking inter partes review of claims in a patent owned by MCM Portfolio for flash memory card technology.  The Patent Trial and Appeal Board rejected MCM’s argument that inter partes review violates Article III and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. The Court of Appeals agreed, saying that patent rights are public rights, which may be adjudicated in non-Article III courts. In the professors’ brief, they argue that though the public has an interest in the validity of all property rights, including patents, this public interest provides no rationale for classifying private property rights as public. They describe existing precedent establishing patents as private property rights, and encourage the Court to hear the case and address the constitutional issue.