Pratik Shah Reviews SCOTUS Term with Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Pratik Shah offered an in-depth interview to The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, reviewing the cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in its recent Term.

Among the topics and cases that Shah, who served as an assistant to the solicitor general for over five-and-a-half years before coming to Akin Gump, discussed are:

  • The Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry: Hollingsworth, a California case out of the 9th Circuit, teed up the broader question of whether states must let same-sex couples marry. For a lot of us, the fact that the Supreme Court did not reach that broader question was no surprise; indeed, I was more surprised by the initial grant of certiorari in that case. The Supreme Court tends to act incrementally, especially when it comes to significant issues of social change and civil rights.”
  • Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies (for which Akin Gump has filed an amicus brief on behalf of CTIA- The Wireless Association): “When it’s all said and done, this term may be remembered most for its impact on patent law. Limelight, one of five or so different patent cases the Supreme Court heard this year, essentially presents the question of whether a defendant can be held liable for “inducing” patent infringement when the conduct of multiple actors can be aggregated to satisfy all the steps of a single patent claim… The impact of this case is particularly significant on network-type technologies, which necessarily involve multiple actors.”
  • The amicus brief that Akin Gump filed on behalf of Johnson & Johnson, GE, 3M and Procter & Gamble in Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness: Octane Fitness is one of the cases sometimes characterized as about so-called patent trolls… The purpose of the amicus brief was two-fold. The first was that the standard for awarding fees in a case should be more flexible than the Federal Circuit’s relatively rigid and parsimonious approach for finding a case exceptional enough to justify an award of attorney’s fees. The second was more of a policy-oriented point: rather than using over-inclusive labels like ‘patent trolls,’ courts should focus on the conduct at issue in a particular case, not an ill-defined class of actors.”
  • “Sleeper” cases before the Court: “One really interesting case that hasn’t gotten a lot of press is U.S. v. Bond. Carol Bond is the defendant in this criminal case… the federal government decided to bring federal criminal charges against Ms. Bond, charging her not for any postal crime but under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act. Ms. Bond brought a constitutional challenge that applying that federal criminal law here would exceed Congress’s powers. The unique facts of this case thus present a significant constitutional question about the scope of the treaty and commerce clause powers and, in particular, their limitations with respect to traditional matters of state and local concern.”

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