U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2018 Term

Oral Argument Date

February 20, 2019


Questions Presented

Whether the government is a “person” who may petition to institute review proceedings under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

Case Updates

Supreme Court holds that the federal government is not a “person” authorized to file an inter partes review petition challenging the validity of a patent

June 10, 2019

In a 6-3 opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court held that the federal government is not a “person” able to challenge the validity of a patent under the American Invents Act (AIA). Return Mail sued the U.S. Postal Service for allegedly infringing its patent. The Postal Service responded by challenging the patent’s validity under the AIA, which allows only a “person” to bring such challenges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the government is a person, but the Supreme Court reversed, explaining that there is a “longstanding interpretive presumption” that the word “person” does not include the government. This decision will help level the litigation playing field when the Chamber’s members seek compensation from the government for patent infringement. The Chamber filed a brief at the merits stage supporting this result.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief arguing that the government lacks authority to seek administrative review of patents’ validity under the America Invents Act

December 17, 2018

Click here to view the Chamber’s brief.

Pratik A. Shah, James E. Tysse, and Martine E. Cicconi of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP served as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

Case Documents