indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Falmouth Institute - December in Las Vegas
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
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Former Choctaw Nation employee plans appeal in criminal case (11/24)
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/24)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/24)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/24)
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Cornflakes every Sunday at Indian boarding school (11/24)
Charles Trimble: A time to give thanks -- For whatever reason (11/24)
Native Sun News: Four from South Dakota win big at rodeo final (11/24)
Crystal Willcuts: Keystone XL Pipeline just makes the rich richer (11/24)
PBS: VAWA helps tribes go after non-Indian domestic offenders (11/24)
Chippewa Cree Tribe swears in chairman more than a year later (11/24)
Florida Supreme Court declines Miccosukee child custody case (11/24)
Editorial: BIA fails to resolve Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (11/24)
Mille Lacs Band grows economy with Oklahoma hotel purchase (11/24)
Faction of Chukchansi Tribe walks away from casino mediation (11/24)
Tribal casinos cancel Bill Cosby shows as allegations resurface (11/24)
Editorial: Poarch Creeks control their own destiny with gaming (11/24)
Editorial: Renew Class III gaming compact with Seminole Tribe (11/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas (11/21)
House Natural Resources Committee passes three tribal bills (11/21)
Chaske Spencer: Changing the narrative for our Native youth (11/21)
Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
Leader of Navajo Nation signs bill for higher tax on junk food (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Little Traverse Bay Bands swear in interim leader after recall (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
Editorial: Work with Burns Paiute Tribe on land-into-trust bid (11/21)
Ex-employee of Passamaquoddy Tribe admits to drug charge (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
GAO report looks at tribal implementation of Adam Walsh Act (11/20)
FBI opens background check database to tribal law agencies (11/20)
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.