Thursday, March 2, 2006
The Supreme Court handed down its much anticipated decision in Illinois, overturning the Federal Circuit and overruling the presumption of market power in antitrust tying arrangements involving patents. In an 8-0 opinion, authored by Justice Stevens with Justice Alito not participating, the Supreme Court held that the ownership of a patent in a tying arrangement does not create a presumption of market power, contra dicta in its 1984 Jefferson Parish decision. In a short, too the point opinion, the Court pointed out that presumption arose out of its patent misuse jurisprudence and that Congress had overruled this presumption for patent misuse in its 1988 amendments to the Patent Act. In Illinois Tool, downloadable below, the Court removes the presumption of market power in the antitrust context, creating parity with the market power issue in the patent misuse context.