your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Law Article: Tribes immune from patent infringement suits

Filed Under: Business | Law
More on: immunity

Attorney discusses recent court decisions that protected tribes from lawsuits under patent infringement law:
In Home Bingo Network v. Multimedia Games, Inc., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34238 (N.D.N.Y Aug. 30, 2005), a patent infringement claim was alleged against a Native American tribe's business development authority. The court granted a motion to dismiss the action against the tribe's business development authority because the business development authority was an arm of the Native American tribe and, therefore, entitled to sovereign immunity. The court indicated that the immunity applies regardless of whether the business development authority was engaging in activity off the reservation or whether the activity was commercial in nature.

The court in Home Bingo pointed to the Supreme Court decision in Kiowa Tribe of Okla. v. Manufacturing Techs., Inc., 523 U.S. 751, 754 (1998), for the proposition that Native American tribes enjoy the same immunity from suit enjoyed by sovereign powers and are subject to suit only where Congress has authorized the suit or the tribe has waived its immunity. The court in Home Bingo further pointed to the Supreme Court decision in C & L Enters., Inc. v. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe of Okla., 532 U.S. 411, 418 (2001), for the proposition that to abrogate tribal immunity, Congress must "unequivocally" express that purpose. According to the court in Home Bingo, Congress has not expressly waived tribal immunity with respect to the enforcement of patents, so Native American tribes enjoy sovereign immunity from patent infringement suits.

The same conclusion of tribal sovereign immunity from patent infringement suits was reached in the more recent case of Specialty House of Creation, Inc. v. Quapaw Tribe of Okla., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9179, (N.D. Okla. Jan. 27, 2011). The court in Specialty House examined the federal patent law and concluded that the statute regarding patent infringement makes no waiver of the sovereign immunity of Native American tribes in its text. The Plaintiff in that case argued that federal patent law must waive tribal sovereign immunity because it is a statute of general applicability. Id. at *3. The court disagreed with the Plaintiff's argument, and stated that the fact that a general statute applies to tribes does not mean that Congress has waived tribal sovereign immunity from private suits brought thereunder. Id. As a consequence, therefore, the court reasoned that the defendant tribe was immune from private suits under federal patent law.

Get the Story:
Justin M. Sobaje: Native American Tribes Immune From Patent Infringement Suits ( 1/2)
Username: Password: indianz

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News Today: Sheriff makes biggest #NoDAPL roundup (10/27)
Democracy Now: Dakota Access security guards weren't licensed (10/27)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge youth center stresses safety (10/27)
James Giago Davies: Corruption keeps the privileged in power (10/27)
Dana Lone Hill: Indian people won't stop fighting for our rights (10/27)
Dave Archambault Sr.: Dehumanizing the #NoDAPL movement (10/27)
Steven Newcomb: Reconciliation means covering up the truth (10/27)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sees decline in business at casino (10/27)
Republican Donald Trump invested in Dakota Access Pipeline (10/27)
The Sioux Chef on track to open indigenous restaurant in 2017 (10/27)
Yakama Nation secures $30M loan to expand utility company (10/27)
Jury restarts deliberations in armed standoff on tribal territory (10/27)
Scotts Valley Band envisions casino as part of new homeland (10/27)
Seneca Nation on track to complete $40M expansion at casino (10/27)
Cowlitz Tribe spends $32M for highway project at new casino (10/27)
Native youth pressure Hillary Clinton to take a #NoDAPL stand (10/26)
Native candidate in South Dakota gets a big boost from Obama (10/26)
Landowners from Bad River Band see $6.6M in buy-back offers (10/26)
Navajo Nation lawmaker warns further action needed on hemp (10/26)
Former Obama administration official joins Native owned firm (10/26)
Justice Department opens criminal databases to more tribes (10/26)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates for Congress in final stretch (10/26)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe reacts to shootings (10/26)
Native Sun News Today: Pine Ridge football team impresses (10/26)
Brandon Ecoffey: Strong fixes needed for reservation crime (10/26)
Raúl Grijalva: Republicans still won't listen to Indian Country (10/26)
Steve Russell: The magic of Donald Trump's 'plan' for America (10/26)
Harlan McKosato: Film pays tribute to 'warrior' Elouise Cobell (10/26)
Haskell University expelled student who was victim of assault (10/26)
Jury deliberates verdicts in armed standoff on tribal territory (10/26)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe gets court date in gaming lawsuit (10/26)
Tule River Tribe gains support for moving casino to a new site (10/26)
First Nations casino in Saskatchewan pays out $1.5M jackpot (10/26)
Dakota Access ramps up spending on lobbying and politicians (10/25)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe presses Obama on Dakota Access (10/25)
Indian National Finals Rodeo gears up for big crowds in Vegas (10/25)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates benefit from Clinton landslide (10/25)
Lakota Country Times: Shooting pushes Pine Ridge into action (10/25)
Native Sun News Today: Sisters want police help for stolen car (10/25)
Delphine Red Shirt: Teach the language like our elders wanted (10/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.