Washington and Lee law professor Christopher Seaman presented a current work-in-progress, Property vs. Liability Rules in Patent Litigation Post-eBay: An Empirical Study, at the Fifth Annual Patent Conference (PatCon5) at the University of Kansas School of Law on April 11-12, 2015. The Patent Conference is the largest annual conference for patent scholars in the world.
From the Abstract:
In this paper, I empirically assess the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 388 (2006), on grants of permanent injunctions or, in the alternative, ongoing royalty awards, in patent litigation.
Prior to eBay, the Federal Circuit established a “general rule” granting injunctive relief after entry of a final judgment that the asserted patent was valid and infringed. Id. at 391. Overcoming this presumption required a significant showing of public harm that outweighed the patentee’s irreparable harm. In practice, however, this rarely occurred, and district courts routinely granted injunctions after a finding of infringement.
In eBay, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Federal Circuit’s “general rule” in favor of injunctive relief, instead holding that trial courts must apply “traditional equitable principles” in the form of a four-factor test. Id. at 391-94. However, in concurring opinions, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy offered seemingly divergent assessments regarding eBay’s likely impact in patent litigation. Chief Justice Roberts suggested that trial courts would continue to grant injunctive relief after a finding of infringement in “the vast majority of patent cases,” id. at 395, whereas Justice Kennedy asserted that injunctive relief may be inappropriate in situations that differed from traditional patent litigation, such as suits by non-practicing entities (NPEs) and cases involving business method patents. Id. at 396.
To test these predictions, as well as several other hypotheses about injunctive relief post-eBay, I am empirically studying all district court decisions where the patentee requested a permanent injunction following a finding of infringement (excluding uncontested injunctions) from the date of the eBay decision through the end of 2013. Each case is being coded for a number of variables that may have affected district courts’ decisions regarding whether to grant or deny injunctive relief, including the technological field of the asserted patent(s), whether the parties are competitors in a product market, and whether the accused infringer was found to have willfully infringed the patent. A summary of the results and data analysis from this empirical study will be presented at the conference.
Washington and Lee Law Professor Christopher Bruner presented his current book project on the role of small jurisdictions in cross-border corporate and financial services at the University of Washington School of Law on Thursday, April 16. Titled “Market-Dominant Small Jurisdictions in a Globalizing Financial World,” the workshop was a part of UW’s Faculty Colloquium Series.
Prof. Shannon Debates the Merits of “Issue Conflicts” in International Arbitration at the ASIL Annual Meeting
On Thursday, April 9, Professor Victoria Shannon debated the merits of arbitrator disqualification due to “issue conflicts” during a session entitled “ASIL-ICCA Task Force on Issue Conflicts in International Arbitration: Briefing and Discussion” at the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The term “issue conflicts” refers to the increasing number of proposals to disqualify arbitrators in international arbitration disputes on the ground of bias arising from views expressed in prior decisions and scholarship. ASIL and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) created a joint task force to explore the question of “issue conflicts” with the aim of developing some form of guidance for the international arbitration community. The Task Force has finalized its draft report, which is now posted on the websites of ASIL and ICCA for comments. This session at ASIL featured a mock debate about the merits of “issue conflicts” in which Professor Shannon served as one of the debaters. The session also invited participants in the ASIL Annual Meeting to comment on and discuss the draft report.
Washington and Lee law professor Christopher Seaman has just published a new article in the Virginia Law Review. The article titled “The Case Against Federalizing Trade Secrecy” appears in volume 101 published in April 2015.
From the abstract:
Trade secrecy is unique among the major intellectual property (IP) doctrines because it is governed primarily by state law. Recently, however, a number of influential actors — including legislators, academics, and organizations representing IP attorneys and owners — have proposed creating a private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation under federal law. Proponents assert that federalizing trade secrecy would provide numerous benefits, including substantive uniformity, the availability of a federal forum for misappropriation litigation, and the creation of a unified national regime governing IP rights.
This Article engages in the first systematic critique of the claim that federalizing trade secrecy is normatively desirable. Ultimately, it concludes that there are multiple reasons for trade secrecy to remain primarily the province of state law, including preservation of states’ ability to engage in limited experimentation regarding the scope of trade secret protection and federalization’s potential negative impact on the disclosure of patent-eligible inventions. Finally, it proposes an alternative approach — a modest expansion of federal courts’ jurisdiction over state law trade secret claims — that can help address the issue of trade secret theft without requiring outright federalization.
Washington and Lee Law professor Timothy MacDonnell’s 2002 article, “Military Commissions and Courts-Martial: A Brief Discussion of the Constitutional and Jurisdictional Distinctions Between the Two Courts” was republished in the 500th anniversary issue of The Army Lawyer. The 500th anniversary issue was published in January 2015. The editors acknowledge Professor MacDonnell’s work as “cited more frequently than any other appearing in this publication written by a judge advocate.”
On Tuesday, March 31, 2015, Professor Victoria Shannon presented her article, Judging Third-Party Funding, 63 UCLA L. Rev __ (2016) (forthcoming), at William & Mary Law School as part of the Junior Faculty Exchange Program. Professor Shannon’s article provides guidance to judges and arbitrators regarding how to reinterpret the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, evidentiary privileges, and international arbitration procedures in light of third-party funding. By interpreting the existing rules as suggested in this Article, judges and arbitrators will be able to gain a better sense of the prevalence, structures, and impact of third-party funding and its effects (if any) on dispute resolution procedures. Over time, these observations will reveal the true systemic impact of third-party funding and contribute to developing robust third-party funding regulations. The current draft is available here.
Read more about Professor Shannon’s scholarship here.
Washington and Lee law professor Timothy McDonnell published a new article in the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law. The article, “Justice Scalia’s Fourth Amendment: Text, Context, Clarity, and Occasional Faint-Hearted Originalism”, appears in volume three, issue one of the journal.
From the abstract:
Since joining the United States Supreme Court in 1986, Justice Scalia has been a prominent voice on the Fourth Amendment, having written twenty majority opinions, twelve concurrences, and six dissents on the topic. Under his pen, the Court has altered its test for determining when the Fourth Amendment should apply; provided a vision to address technology’s encroachment on privacy; and articulated the standard for determining whether government officials are entitled to qualified immunity in civil suits involving alleged Fourth Amendment violations. In most of Justice Scalia’s opinions, he has championed an originalist/textualist theory of constitutional interpretation. Based on that theory, he has advocated that the text and context of the Fourth Amendment should govern how the Court interprets most questions of search and seizure law. His Fourth Amendment opinions have also included an emphasis on clear, bright-line rules that can be applied broadly to Fourth Amendment questions. However, there are Fourth Amendment opinions in which Justice Scalia has strayed from his originalist/textualist commitments, particularly in the areas of the special needs doctrine and qualified immunity. This article asserts that Justice Scalia’s non-originalist approach in these spheres threatens the cohesiveness of his Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, and could, if not corrected, unbalance the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment in favor of law enforcement interests.