You should read this case if: you want to know how the Federal Circuit will treat assignor estoppel post-Minerva
You have to feel a little sorry for a party that beats the incredible odds of getting Supreme Court review only to end up with the same result. That’s what happened in our case of the week. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or the proverbial equivalent of a rock in patent-land—the MPEP maybe), you’re no doubt aware of one of the few relatively recent Supreme Court patent cases:
Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. (And once again, here’s where a few readers shed a tear for what could have been in American Axle.) As a recap, the Supreme Court granted cert to decide whether the doctrine of assignor estoppel found any support in patent law. Assignor estoppel precludes an assignor of a patent from later challenging that patent’s validity. At least initially, smart money was on the “no” side, as nothing in the U.S. Code expressly provides for assignor estoppel, and this is supposedly a textualist Supreme Court.