Marilyn Neiman, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Intellectual Property Department, discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to address whether, and to what extent, the defense of laches may bar a claim for patent infringement in her Law 360 article “Issues High Court Will Address in Patent Laches Case.” On May 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products to address laches defense in patent cases. Marilyn notes that this is significant because, “laches (unreasonable, prejudicial delay in commencing suit) has been the law in patent cases for many years, barring a patentee from sitting silently on its rights while an innocent and unknowing infringer invests resources to bring a product to market. Without laches, an infringer may be caught by surprise years after its initial decision to commercialize its product.” Marilyn also notes that, “laches encourages a suit to be timely commenced. Then, a defendant will have notice of infringement and may switch to a non-infringing product and curtail its exposure to damages.”
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