indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Youth take on lead role in Dakota memorial ride (12/17)
Mark Trahant: NCAI launches new campaign against racist mascot (12/17)
Norm DeWeaver: Job market is a disaster zone in Indian Country (12/17)
Amanda Blackhorse: Fake chiefs and fake headdresses must go (12/17)
DOI makes $9M in buy-back offers on Coeur d'Alene Reservation (12/17)
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes see success with two bills in Congress (12/17)
Boyd Cothran: Torture justified by treatment of Indian prisoners (12/17)
Rep. Gosar faces criticism over bill that benefits Hualapai Tribe (12/17)
Navajo Nation's highest court dismisses challenge to candidate (12/17)
Column: Tribal voices often minimized in environmental debate (12/17)
Column: Chief Cliff still an undeniably spiritual place in Montana (12/17)
Native activists in Brazil protest land bill with bows and arrows (12/17)
Shakopee Tribe funds Eastern Shoshone Tribe casino expansion (12/17)
Stillaguamish Tribe welcomes first guests to $27M casino hotel (12/17)
Jamul Band finishes excavation work for $360M gaming facility (12/17)
Catawba Nation casino opponents meet with BIA officials in DC (12/17)
Column: No rush on marijuana sales at Eastern Cherokee casino (12/17)
Tim Giago: Think unity and fun at Olympics of Indian basketball (12/16)
Doug George-Kanentiio: War of 1812 solved nothing for Mohawk (12/16)
Karla General: Putting words into action for indigenous peoples (12/16)
Native Sun News: Native women launch business in Rapid City (12/16)
Steven Newcomb: US still holds colonial attitude towards tribes (12/16)
Southern Ute Tribe holds inauguration for chairman after run-off (12/16)
California supports non-Indian man in reservation boundary case (12/16)
Cherokee Nation court backs workers who lost jobs after election (12/16)
Menominee Nation declares emergency due to flooding conditions (12/16)
Two tribes in Michigan to rebury ancestors removed decades ago (12/16)
Opinion: DOJ marijuana policy in Indian Country raises questions (12/16)
Supreme Court rejects suit over Yavapai-Apache casino contract (12/16)
Appeal set in Pojoaque Pueblo Class III gaming compact dispute (12/16)
Santa Ysabel Band ordered to shut down online bingo operation (12/16)
Interview with Morongo Band chairman on anniversary of casino (12/16)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community voters reject new casino plan (12/16)
Native Sun News: First Peoples Fund connects artists to economy (12/15)
Ivan Star: Being Lakota is something that comes from the heart (12/15)
Alex Jacobs: Nuclear industry leaves mark on Native community (12/15)
Congress passes bill with mine on sacred Apache land in Arizona (12/15)
Defense measure opens sacred site in Washington to the public (12/15)
Navajo Nation buys sacred masks from auction house in France (12/15)
VAWA jurisdiction provision poses special issue for Alaska tribes (12/15)
Senate joins House in approving $1.1T appropriations measure (12/15)
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.