Monday, June 10, 2019

Justice Sotomayor and the conservatives deliver blow to the government in Return Mail

From within the opinion written by Justice Sotomayor in Return Mail vs. USPS:

Given the presumption that a statutory reference to a
“person” does not include the Government, the Postal
Service must show that the AIA’s context indicates otherwise.
Although the Postal Service need not cite to “an
express contrary definition,” Rowland, 506 U. S., at 200, it
must point to some indication in the text or context of the
statute that affirmatively shows Congress intended to
include the Government. See Cooper, 312 U. S., at 605.

The Postal Service makes three arguments for displacing the presumption.
First, the Postal Service argues that
the statutory text and context offer sufficient evidence
that the Government is a “person” with the power to petition for AIA review proceedings.
Second, the Postal Service contends that federal agencies’
long history of participation in the patent system suggests that Congress
intended for the Government to participate in AIA review
proceedings as well. Third, the Postal Service maintains
that the statute must permit it to petition for AIA review
because §1498 subjects the Government to liability for
infringement. None delivers.


The vote was 6 to 3.


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