Supreme Court weighs simplified patent challenges


On Monday, the most liberal judges of the court apparently were not affected by the procedure. They noted that there was nothing new in the administrative re-examination of whether the patents were validly granted.

"There must be some means by which the patent office can correct the mistakes it has made," said Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [19659003] Allyson N. Ho, a lawyer for the oil states, said there was a difference between the new review, which is the work of an executive agency, and the adjudication, which is the work of the courts.

Justice Elena Kagan said that allowing an agency to conduct something like a trial made it more likely that it would come to the right conclusion.

"The government wants to put in place a series of procedures that will actually increase the government's accuracy in determining whether it made a mistake," he said.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor added that the administrative court's decisions were subject to judicial review. "What saves this," he said of the court's procedure, is that "even a finding of invalidity can be appealed to a court."

But a member of the liberal wing of the court, Judge Stephen G. Breyer, expressed concern.

"Suppose the patent has existed without being reexamined for 10 years and, in addition, the company invested $ 40 billion in its development," he said. "And then, all of a sudden, someone comes in and says:" Oh, I want him to reexamine himself, not in court but in the patent office. "

. He later suggested that the Supreme Court could maintain the procedure in the previous case but "leaves open the question of what happens if there has been a large investment."

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Chief Judge John G. Roberts Jr. appeared concerned about the court procedure. He asked Christopher M. Kise, a lawyer for Greene & # 39; s Energy, if his position was that "you have to take the bitter with the sweet."

The president of justice elaborated. "If you want the sweetness of having a patent," he said, "you must take the bitterness that the government could re-evaluate it at some later time."

Mr. Kise agreed with that characterization of his position.

The President of the Court Roberts responded that the precedents of the court say that "you can not put someone in that position."

Malcolm L. Stewart, an badistant attorney general who was defending the trial court, said it was not unusual for administrative agencies to act as judicial bodies. "It happens all the time that the agencies of the executive branch receive information from private persons before making their decisions," he said.

"When the attorney general is deciding whether to file an amicus report," he said, referring to friends. Court reports, "We are going to read the documents that were submitted to this court, we will have meetings with the parties that resemble the oral arguments."

"Although our procedures may resemble the court proceedings," he said. Mr. Stewart, "The decision we made is the decision to file an amicus brief on behalf of the United States, provided it is an appropriate exercise of executive branch authority, the fact that we receive contributions from private parties can not convert it. in a constitutional defect "

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