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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

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  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
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  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney

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“Raging Bull” may be a Fight in the Patent Ring and Beyond

May 29, 2014

​Fenwick & West partner Ilana Rubel was quoted by Law360 in a story on how the U.S. Supreme Court has eliminated the doctrine of laches defense against copyright infringement claims, through its decision in a case brought by the daughter of “Raging Bull” author Frank Petrella. 

Prior to the court’s decision in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., the “status quo” was that this legal doctrine “could coexist” with legislative statutes of limitations, Rubel told Law360. A claim filed within the applicable statutory time limit could “nevertheless be barred by laches” under the right circumstances, Rubel said.

“The Petrella ruling really cast doubt on that entire framework and approach,” she said. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decision might apply to many types of cases in which a laches defense is raised.

“While [Petrella] was a copyright case, the logic would seem to apply across the board, and I think it really calls into question whether you can ever have a bar based on laches where there is a statute of limitations,” Rubel added.

A more immediate ramification of the Court’s decision is that “authors of copyrighted materials may begin resurrecting long buried works and asserting infringement claims against current users,” Rubel wrote in a Fenwick Litigation Alert, co-authored by Fenwick attorney Sebastian Kaplan. 

“The doctrine of laches—a plaintiff’s unreasonable delay in bringing suit combined with prejudice to a defendant—had kept many infringement claims interred where the author had not filed suit within three years of discovering the infringement,” Rubel and Kaplan noted. 

The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).