The Catholic University of America



Experts Offer a Crystal Ball for Upcoming Patent Litigation

Patent law students and practitioners who track major developments in that practice area were treated to a bit of nirvana on Sept. 19, as five leading experts served as panelists for “Patent Litigation Preview 2012,” at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. 

A detailed account of the symposium was offered by BNA's Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal on Sept. 28.

Organized by faculty Professors Megan La Belle and Elizabeth Winston, the two-hour discussion offered detailed insights into some of the leading patent law issues and cases that will be heard or decided in the near future.
Panelists included:
  • Shara L. Aranoff, commissioner, United States International Trade Commission
  • Raymond Chen, deputy general counsel for intellectual property law and solicitor,
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Donald P. Dunner, partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
  • Daryl L. Joseffer, former principal deputy solicitor general; partner, King and Spalding
  • Gail F. Levine, vice president and associate general counsel for intellectual property, Verizon Communications Inc.
As leadoff speaker, Commissioner Aranoff brought the audience up to date on the ITC’s work regarding Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which for 82 years has provided the commission’s authority to conduct investigations into allegations of certain unfair practices in import trade.
Once a relatively obscure provision, Aranoff noted that it has become a popular device among high-tech companies in recent years, and the basis for filing infringement lawsuits that made 2011 the busiest year in the history of the ITC.  
Aranoff also discussed how pending court challenges or decisions in such areas as the domestic industry requirement, standard essential patents and e-discovery will shape the landscape within the coming year or two.
Raymond Chen of the United States Patent and Trademark Office spent much of his allotted time providing an analysis of Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., a case that one legal blog sums up as the “Supreme Court forcing Nike to defend its right not to defend its trademarks."
Nike had contemplated but ultimately dropped a trademark infringement suit against a rival sneaker company on the grounds that pursuing the litigation just wasn’t worth the time or effort.
In turn, the competitor wanted Nike’s trademark canceled so it decided to move ahead legally. Nike filed a petition to dismiss the claim, arguing that since there was no existing conflict over the trademark, there was no legal issue and therefore, no jurisdiction for the District Court to be involved.  The question has now moved to the United States Supreme Court.
The patent law preview program, which applied for Virginia CLE credit, was followed by a networking reception.