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State Universities Not Immune from Patent Challenges (Corrected)

June 14, 2019, 4:01 PMUpdated: June 17, 2019, 3:09 PM

State universities can’t claim sovereign immunity to avoid administrative patent challenges, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled June 14 that the University of Minnesota must face challenges to patents covering chip and wireless technologies at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ruling applies to any state-owned patent holder looking to dodge validity proceedings, known as inter partes reviews (IPR), by claiming the immunity.

The Federal Circuit cited its 2018 decision denying sovereign immunity protection to Allergan Plc through the Saint Regis Mohawk Indian Tribe to evade patent challenges on the...

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