Two recent Supreme Court decisions have sharply curtailed the ability of intellectual property owners to sue individual states for violations of property rights. In the two decisions announced on June 23rd, a five-person majority of the Court held that states could assert sovereign immunity in suits brought for patent infringement or for false and misleading advertising. These cases form part of a series of close decisions upholding the sovereign immunity of states from federal laws. Whether these decisions will be extended by the Supreme Court or lower courts to provide for sovereign immunity from other federally created intellectual property actions remains to be seen.


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