Sullivan & Cromwell’s annual Supreme Court Business Review analyzes key corporate cases from the Supreme Court’s October 2020 Term, including Ford Motor Company v. Montana, Google v. Oracle and California v. Texas. Partners in our Supreme Court & Appellate practice succinctly explain in plain language the critical takeaways for businesses from these decisions.
These rulings cover issues involving products liability, intellectual property, cybersecurity, antitrust, criminal defense and investigations, and healthcare and life sciences.
Our appellate lawyers also discuss these rulings in a series of podcasts listed below.
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In the sixth episode of S&C’s Supreme Court Business Review series, hosts Judd Littleton and Julia Malkina are joined by Dustin Guzior, co-head of S&C’s Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation practice, to discuss three intellectual property cases that the Supreme Court decided last Term and key takeaways for businesses.
In United States v. Arthrex, the Supreme Court sidestepped an issue that had the potential to affect significantly patent litigation: whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s administrative patent judges must be appointed by the President with approval of the Senate. The Court instead held that PTAB’s structure violated the Appointment Clause of the Constitution because the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not have sufficient power to review the PTAB’s decisions. In Minerva Surgical v. Hologic, the Court narrowed the scope of “assignor estoppel,” which precludes the assignor of a patent from later challenging the patent’s validity, by holding that assignor estoppel does not extend to circumstances that did not exist at the time of the assignment. Lastly, in Google v. Oracle, the Court held that Google’s copying of some of Oracle’s application program interface code for Java was fair use. Because the Court assumed without deciding that such code can be copyrighted in the first place, it left that important question for another day.
Judson Littleton is a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s Litigation Group and co-head of the Firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice. His diverse practice includes complex commercial litigation and criminal defense and investigations. He has represented leading multinational companies and financial institutions and has also represented individuals facing serious allegations in high-profile matters. Judson was recognized by The National Law Journal as a D.C. Rising Star. Prior to joining the Firm, he served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He clerked for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.Contact Judson
Julia Malkina is a partner in S&C’s Litigation Group and the Firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice, as well as co-lead of S&C’s Securities Litigation Practice. Julia represents prominent corporations, financial institutions and individuals in their most complex and high-stakes matters. Her practice comprises appellate court litigation, trial court litigation and regulatory proceedings in a number of areas, including securities, commodities and criminal law. She was named a 2020 Rising Star by the New York Law Journal for her representations in precedent-setting cases across those areas. Prior to joining the Firm, she served as a law clerk to Justices Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) and Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice and a law clerk to then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.Contact Julia
Led by former Acting Solicitor General of the United States Jeff Wall—who has argued more than 30 times before the U.S. Supreme Court—and drawing on the experience of 13 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks and more than 75 former federal circuit court clerks, S&C’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice adeptly handles challenging and high-profile appeals around the country. Our Supreme Court and Appellate lawyers collectively have significant experience before the Supreme Court and scores of other federal and state courts of appeals.
A distinctive feature of our practice is that S&C’s appellate lawyers have handled every phase of litigation. They have tried and arbitrated cases, conducted internal investigations, and represented clients in governmental investigations. This broad experience gives them a valuable perspective from which to develop more effective arguments based on their experience in those other contexts, and enables them to work collaboratively with trial teams to frame those arguments persuasively at every stage of a case. Clients appreciate that this structure allows the same teams to handle motions, trials and appeals. Even in matters that S&C has not handled in the initial stages, clients also often seek out our team’s tailored appellate expertise, skilled advocacy and strategic advice.
Our appellate experience covers virtually all of our litigation practices, including antitrust, bankruptcy, criminal defense, intellectual property, labor and employment, M&A litigation, products liability and securities litigation.
For additional discussion, including presentations for CLE credit, please contact Judd Littleton or Julia Malkina.
Our Litigation Group draws upon S&C’s deep experience in corporate, financial and transactional law, forming integrated teams that handle any related or follow-on matters that arise. We manage issues through every stage of the litigation life cycle, before any court, arbitration panel or regulatory agency.
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