The Supreme Court is gearing up to enter a long-running debate on whether a person who sells the patent rights to an invention can later turn around and attack the patent’s validity.

The justices on Friday granted certiorari in Minerva Surgical v. Hologic, putting patent law’s doctrine of assignor estoppel squarely before the court. Some academics and a few Federal Circuit judges have been calling for a rethink for a number of years, though patent owners argue that eliminating it would work a fundamental unfairness.

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