The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the highest proportion of intellectual property cases in its history this year in its nine-month term ending in June, according to Reuters. The justices will hear eight cases on intellectual property issues. Six of them are on patent law, two of which were argued on Feb. 26, and the remaining two are on copyright law.
In total, these cases represent 11.4 percent of the 70 oral arguments the court will hear this term. In the previous session, the court heard 6 intellectual property cases, or 7.7 percent of its total caseload. According to data from Edward Lee, a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, the court heard three or four such cases over the previous three terms, and only two or three per term in the previous decade.
This development illustrates the increasing importance of intellectual property law for U.S. businesses, especially in the technology sector. It is also a result of differences in rulings between particular justices, and a failure of a specialized patent appeals court to reach consensus on certain elements of intellectual property law.
"This is absolutely a blockbuster year," Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School, told Reuters.