Practice Highlight: Appellate

Practice Highlight: Appellate

S&C Partner Garrard Beeney and Special Counsel Jeffrey Wall argued the two patent cases before the Supreme Court in the October 2015 Term.

S&C represented Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC before the Supreme Court in a case that addressed for the first time the inter partes review (“IPR”) process established by Congress in the America Invents Act. The issue before the Court was the proper claim-construction standard to be used by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in IPR proceedings.

Mr. Beeney argued that the Board was required to use the same standard for construing patent claims that is used in district courts, and not the broader standard used by the Board that has led to the cancellation of 10,000 patent claims since 2011. Mr. Beeney’s oral argument was quoted by news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Politics and IPWatchdog.

S&C also scored a significant win for patent owner Stryker, a Fortune 500 medical-technologies firm, when the Supreme Court invalidated the Federal Circuit’s test for awarding enhanced damages to patent owners in infringement actions. Mr. Wall and the S&C team persuaded the Court to establish a standard that provides greater discretion to district courts in determining whether to award enhanced damages. 

Bloomberg commented on the significance of the case, stating that "[t]he Supreme Court handed patent owners a major victory today.” In addition, a peer law firm noted to Law360 that “this decision arguably enhances the value of U.S. patents by removing the rigid test to prove and sustain enhanced damages for egregious infringing conduct.”

Both Mr. Beeney and Mr. Wall have argued in the Supreme Court before (a combined total of 13 times), and their work together on the two patent cases exemplifies S&C’s seamless integration among practice groups: Mr. Beeney co-heads the Firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Group, and Mr. Wall co-manages S&C’s Appellate Group. 

In addition to these two matters, lawyers in both of the practices have secured other significant victories for clients during the last year and continue to advise on cutting-edge issues before the Court.