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Supreme Court of the United States

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The US Supreme Court is the highest court in the USA.

Some important cases

Cases treating the most important topic, patentable subject matter:

Year Case Author Context Ruling Hearing Briefs Wikipedia
2014 Alice v. CLS Bank Thomas overview CLS ruling transcript Briefs Wikipedia
2013 Molecular v. Myriad overview Myriad ruling transcript - Wikipedia
2012 Mayo v. Prometheus Breyer overview Mayo ruling transcript - Wikipedia
2009 Bilski v. Kappos Kennedy overview Bilski ruling transcript Briefs Wikipedia
1981 Diamond v. Diehr overview Diehr ruling [ transcript] - Wikipedia
1978 Parker v. Flook overview Flook ruling [ transcript] - Wikipedia
1972 Gottschalk v. Benson overview Benson ruling [ transcript] - Wikipedia

For a complete list of pages on this wiki on the Court's rulings see:

The judges

The current judges are (as of July 2012):

Crude analyses coservative-liberal

Some suggest that conservative judges are more pro-swpat than the liberals.[1] This theory is very crude (and in light of Thomas's opinion in Alice v. CLS Bank seems to be disproven), but for what it's worth, one metric classifies the judges in a spectrum based on how conservative or liberal they are, with the four conservative judges slightly spread out, then Kennedy, then the four liberal judges bunched together with very similar scores:[2][3]

  • Thomas
  • Scalia
  • Alito
  • Roberts
  • Kennedy
  • Breyer
  • Kagan
  • Sotomayer
  • Ginsburg

Noteworthy ex-judges

Suitability for deciding policy questions

Former Chief Judge of the CAFC, Paul Redmond Michel had this to say about the Supreme Court's suitability for interpreting article 101 of the US Code which defines patentable subject matter:[4]

Take Bilski on 101. Nine Supreme Court justices, eight of them had never seen a 101 issue before in their entire time on the Supreme Court. Only Justice Stevens had ever seen a 101 issue before. Well, that shows the problem right there. The Federal Circuit has every issue under the sun come up again and again and again, month after month, year after year. So it has intense exposure to all these different issues and the interplay among all these different sections, and the Supreme Court doesn’t. And, frankly, I think the Supreme Court has often been misled by lawyers. For example, in eBay the Supreme Court was told that we had an “automatic” injunction rule, which was never the case. It was just absolutely false. In the KSR they were told that we had a “rigid” rule that didn’t allow any judgment, which was never the case. So in addition to their inexperience and unfamiliarity with patent law, they’re subject to being manipulated and misinformed by overstated claims by some advocates and they aren’t maybe as well equipped as Federal Circuit judges might be to know that the claim is baloney

Of course, the problems of the CAFC can be seen in cases like CLS Bank v. Alice (2012, USA), where the CAFC was so splintered that there was finally no majority opinion other than a single line saying they reject the patent.

Checking for new opinions

If there's an interesting case, the front page of shows the court's calendar. Opinions are usually published on Non-argument Days. Sometimes opinions are published the day after a non-argument day, especially if there are a lot of opinions to publish. The opinions are published at around 10am local time and are put immediately on-line here:

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links