The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

In a ruling handed down Monday morning, the Supreme Court cited one of the great sources of moral authority in America: The original Spider-Man comics, created in the early 1960s by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

The case, Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, involved a dispute over patent royalties, in which Marvel Entertainment had invoked a 1964 case to declare that it no longer had an obligation to pay royalties to Stephen Kimble, the inventor of a toy imitating Spider-Man’s web shooters, once the patent itself had legally expired. (Marvel had previously bought the patent from Kimble, as part of a settlement from an infringement lawsuit he had filed in 1997.)

Thus, Kimble needed the Supreme Court to overturn that 1964 decision, which they declined to do for him — saying instead that Congress is the proper venue to change the patent law in this manner.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion, in which she was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. The decision was based on the principle of stare decisis — which states that the court should respect past decisions in the absence of deeply serious and compelling reasons to overturn them:

What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “SpiderMan,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility”). Finding many reasons for staying the stare decisis course and no “special justification” for departing from it, we decline Kimble’s invitation to overrule Brulotte.

For the reasons stated, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

It is so ordered.

Kagan also wrote earlier in the opinion, on the key issue of patent law itself: “Patents endow their holders with certain superpowers, but only for a limited time.”

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Joni Mitchell

Los Angeles (AFP) - Singer Joni Mitchell said Friday she was pulling her music from Spotify over "lies" on the streaming service about Covid-19, just days after fellow musical titan Neil Young did the same.

In a post on her website, the "Big Yellow Taxi" singer said she was supporting Young, who clashed with Spotify over its wildly popular "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. Bennie Thompson

Photo by Customs and Border Protection (Public domain)

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Friday afternoon announced the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has issued subpoenas to 14 Republicans from seven states who submitted the forged and "bogus" Electoral College certificates falsely claiming Donald Trump and not Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election in their states.

The Chairman appeared to suggest the existence of a conspiracy as well, noting the "the planning and coordination of efforts," saying "these so-called alternate electors met," and may know "who was behind that scheme."

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}