Federal Circuit Panel Reaffirms Viability Of Laches Defense In Patent Cases

A three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit held this week that laches continues to be available as a defense to claims for patent infringement damages, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's ruling in Petrella v. Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (2014) that the defense cannot be invoked in most copyright cases. According to the Federal Circuit panel, the high Court in Petrella left laches intact for patent matters, and only a subsequent Supreme Court decision or an en banc ruling of the Federal Circuit can change that. Laches, which, if successful, completely bars a claim for past infringement damages, thus remains a powerful weapon for defendants in patent cases.