Monday, June 22, 2015

Supreme Court decides Spider-Man case; Brulotte still lives.

By a 6-3 vote, with the four court "liberals" joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court decided to maintain the rule of Brulotte v. Thys. Marvel wins. Kimble loses.

USA Today: Supreme Court cuts the string on Spider-Man toy inventor's patent

Slate notes:

Then Kagan actually references the Spider-Man comic books:

What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “Spider-Man,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility”).

A comic book fanatic colleague of mine—who insisted I not use his name in this piece—lauds Kagan for correctly citing to Amazing Fantasy, the name of the issue that introduced Spider-Man. However, he notes that she did make one error: The story in that issue introduced a character named Spider-Man!, with an exclamation mark which Kagan omits. The authors of the Bluebook would be disappointed.


The Wall Street Journal noted:

Justice Kagan said that if the Supreme Court’s earlier interpretation of patent law was problematic, Congress was the branch of government best suited to change patent policy. She also said parties have other ways to craft business arrangements that allow for deferred payments after a patent expires.

Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented and would have overruled the 1964 decision, a ruling that Justice Alito called an “obvious mistake.”


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