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