Federal Circuit Significantly Relaxes The Requirements for Declaratory Judgment Actions in Patent Cases

March 29, 2007 Advisory

On March 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, taking its lead from a recent Supreme Court decision, lowered the bar considerably with respect to the requirements for bringing a declaratory judgment action challenging a U.S. patent. SanDisk Corp. v. STMicroelectronics, Inc., Appeal No. 05-1300 (Fed. Cir., March 26, 2007). This ruling will have substantial implications on heretofore routine and "safe" practices regarding the sending of "cease-and-desist" letters by patentees, the offering of licenses and the conduct of license or other pre-suit settlement discussions.