Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Two rulings today

The Supreme Court decided two cases today. Well, they decided one, and punted on the other.

In the first ruling, the Court held that paying royalties to a putative patentee under a license agreement does not foreclose the licensee from challenging the validity of the patent at issue in the license itself. This is a great turn of events for innovation- patent trolls have basically choked the system, and anyone developing new technologies is at risk from the increasingly frivolous patent system.

In the second case, the Court granted cert to decide one question (whether a defect in the indictment can be harmless error), but decided a different question altogether (that the indictment wasn't really defective after all). This is the second case this term in which the Court dodged an important Constitutional question, the first being Musladin. I sense in this the work of the Chief Justice, who wants the Court to issue narrowly crafted decisions on the most minute of grounds. Meaning useless precedent.

Back to regular blogging tomorrow.