What is patent laches?

What is patent laches?

Laches (lach-iz) “is the legal doctrine that an unreasonable delay in seeking a remedy for a legal right or claim will prevent it from being enforced or allowed if the delay has prejudiced the opposing party” [1].

Is laches still a defense to patent infringement?

Laches is no longer available as a defense where the infringement occurred within the six-year time period prescribed by 35 USC § 286.

What is the limitation period of patent?

six years
The clearest limitations period comes directly from the U.S. Patent Act, specifically 35 U.S.C. § 286: “Except as otherwise provided by law, no recovery shall be had for any infringement committed more than six years prior to the filing of the complaint or counterclaim for infringement in the action.”

What does the legal term laches mean?

A doctrine in equity that those who delay too long in asserting an equitable right will not be entitled to bring an action.

How is the laches defense used in patent litigation?

Laches is a frequently raised, but seldom successful, equitable defense in patent litigation. Laches basically arises from a patent owner unreasonably delaying its assertion of a patent right during a period of time when the accused infringer made investments and the infringer would be prejudiced by the delayed assertion of the patent.

What are the Supreme Court rules on laches?

Supreme Court rules laches cannot preclude statutory damages within the 6 year period before a patent suit is filed (SCA v. First Quality)

When does a laches defense have an impact?

In such circumstances, a laches defense could have a substantial impact because it would bar the bulk of the damages period (six years prior to the lawsuit) and would bar injunctive relief. This would leave a remedy of only a future royalty for the short period of time remaining in the patent’s life.

What is the purpose of the laches doctrine?

As Petrella recounted, the “principal application” of laches “was, and remains, to claims of an equitable case for which the Legislature has provided no fixed time limitation. Laches is a gap-filling doctrine, and where there is a statute of limitations, there is no gap to fill.