In the advent of new technologies emerging every day, it is by no surprise that the number of IP cases are being heard more than ever before in the lower courts. The discord in the holdings in the Districts Courts have required the Supreme Court to hear 8 cases on intellectual property, out of the 70 this term, making it 11.4%, while it was 7.7% during the previous session, and thus making it the most number of IP cases per session heard at the Supreme Court since the mid-20th century. Having the Supreme Court settle such hotly-debated disagreements will provide more structured guidance for future patent prosecution and litigation, as well as for copyright and trademark law.
An interesting fact is that “[o]f the 23 IP cases decided from 2005 to 2013, a total of 15, 12 of them patent cases, were decided without a single dissenting vote, a Reuters review of the rulings found.” Thus even though these cases seemed to be contentious in the lower courts, the Supreme Court has had a good grasps of where the middle ground should lie. However, the Supreme Court also tended to rule on a very narrow scope, rather than broadly setting precedent to expand the scope of the influence of the cases that reach them beyond what the case-by-case facts suggest the issues to be. The Supreme Court may act differently for the upcoming software patent case and present a broader holding; only time will tell.