indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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 (Mondaq.com 1/2)
Username: indianz@indianz.com. 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:
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
National Indian Gaming Association honors Native casting director (3/21)
Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again (3/21)
James Giago Davies: It's time to take a trip to the Great Upstairs (3/21)
Smith and Wakefield: Obamacare repeal is bad for Indian Country (3/21)
Steve Russell: Domestic status of Indian nations invented in 1831 (3/21)
Steven Newcomb: Pope Francis must address domination legacy (3/21)
Tulalip Tribes install 1st leadership board with women in majority (3/21)
Osage Nation passes referendum to legalize same-sex marriage (3/21)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe returns to court to seek federal recognition (3/21)
Lawmakers pushing for federal recognition of six tribes in Virginia (3/21)
Cowlitz Tribe casino seen as impacting lottery revenues in Oregon (3/21)
Mohegan Tribe announces plan for $80M casino convention center (3/21)
North Dakota Republican keeps pushing bill for non-Indian casinos (3/21)
Supreme Court nominee fares well in review of Indian law record (3/20)
Dakota Access won't reveal latest status of pipeline to the public (3/20)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sees another Dakota Access setback (3/20)
Hopi Tribe and Native activists lose cases over aging power plant (3/20)
Supreme Court considers petition in tribal land-into-trust dispute (3/20)
Oneida Nation prevails as Supreme Court declines immunity case (3/20)
Tim Giago: Indian Health Service fails to abide by treaty obligation (3/20)
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe battles uranium mining (3/20)
Mary Annette Pember: It's sugar bush time across Ojibwe country (3/20)
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.