U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Take Up Federal Circuit Ruling, Finalizing Win for Amazon and its Clients

As reported by Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court said in an order list issued on May 16 that it won't review the Federal Circuit's decision to block litigation against clients of Amazon Web Services Inc. over data processing patents held by PersonalWeb Technologies LLC.

In June 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in a precedential opinion that PersonalWeb Technologies cannot relitigate a failed patent infringement suit over Amazon's cloud-based storage system by pursuing the claims against the tech giant's customers, finding that the suits were barred by claim preclusion including the Kessler Doctrine, a rule stemming from the 1907 Supreme Court decision holding that a defeated party in a patent suit can't bring follow-up suits against the winning party's customers asserting the same patents and accusing the same technology.

As reported by Law360, “the patent-holding company then asked the Supreme Court to take a closer look at the appellate ruling… arguing that “the Kessler doctrine should not have been applied since the suit against Amazon was voluntarily dismissed.”

In May 2021, the Justices asked Amazon and its customers to respond to the petition. According to Law360, “they responded the following August that PersonalWeb was wrongfully attempting to overturn a century-old precedent. According to the respondents, the patent-holding company lodged ‘objectively unreasonable infringement claims.’”

Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, weighing in on the petition, advised the justices not to review the Federal Circuit's ruling, saying that the high court's review wouldn’t "affect the ultimate disposition of petitioner's suits," according to an April 2022 Law360 article.

Amazon was represented by Fenwick litigation partners J. David Hadden, Saina S. Shamilov and Todd R. Gregorian.

The case is PersonalWeb Technologies LLC v. Patreon Inc. et al., case number 20-1394, in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The full article is available on Law360 (subscription required).​​


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