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Justices' Laches Decision Could Be Boon For Patent Owners

Law360

21 Mar 2017
Reprinted with permission.

In this Law360 article, “Justices' Laches Decision Could Be Boon For Patent Owners”, Wesley E. Overson, who has a trial-oriented practice that focuses on intellectual property and other commercial litigation involving complex issues, was mentioned regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that laches cannot be used as a defense in many patent cases could strengthen the hand of patent owners and lead to larger damages in certain instances, while forcing companies who might be targeted with infringement claims to be more wary of older patents.

Much of the concern about potential abuse revolves around nonpracticing entities — pejoratively referred to as patent trolls — as opposed to pharmaceutical cases or disputes between competitors, where companies are often motivated to act quickly to keep a competing product off the market.

But there are other issues that can creep up the longer it takes for a lawsuit to be filed, including the loss of evidence, attorneys said. Wes Overson, a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, said companies could also be hurt if they thought they were in the clear of an infringement claim with the passage of time. “There could be a ‘gotcha’ effect to this,” he said. “Defendants are never out of the woods within the six-year limitations period.”

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