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Justices Split on Letting Government Mount Patent Challenges

Feb. 19, 2019, 6:48 PM

U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared split Feb. 19 over whether government entities can try to kill patents through an administrative procedure created by Congress in 2011.

Return Mail Inc., an automated mail services provider, told justices during oral argument that the government isn’t a “person” who can attack patents in Patent and Trademark Office administrative review procedures.

Return Mail wants the high court to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that the U.S. Postal Service could use a procedure known as covered business method review to challenge Return Mail’s patent.

The justices scrutinized arguments by both sides as to whether...

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