This patent case raised the question of whether the defense of laches is available in patent litigation. Laches is a legal doctrine that says rightsholders can't sit on their rights. It protects defendants who are prejudiced by long delay (for example, by investing heavily in a product while the patent owner waits in secret to sue). EFF filed amicus briefs in both the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court arguing that the laches defense should be retained. Ultimately, the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that patent owners may lie in wait before suing.
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