Supreme Court Upholds Clear and Convincing Standard for Showing Patent Invalidity

Posted Thursday, June 09, 2011.

In February, I wrote about the Microsoft v. i4i case, being heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, the Court has handed down its decision. In an 8-0 judgment (Chief Justice John Roberts did not take part because he has stock holdings in Microsoft), the Court upheld the lower court verdict for i4i and against Microsoft.

For the broader patent community, however, the decision is more significant. Microsoft had argued that the burden of proof that should be required for a showing that a patent is invalid was the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, rather than the higher “clear and convincing evidence” standard. You can read more about the argument in my earlier blog posting, but the Court rejected the proposition.

That is good news for patentees. Essentially, the Court was being asked to make it easier to show after the fact that a patent is invalid. If it became easier to invalidate a patent, patents in general would not have as much value.

More will be written about this important decision, but for now, it can be accessed at the website of the Supreme Court.

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