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The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in Lee v. Tam, the much-anticipated case over trademark registration, free speech, and disparaging names. The Slants, an Asian-American "Chinatown dance rock" band, had its trademark rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Slants' name, the PTO explained, was the sort of "scandalous, immoral, or disparaging mark" for which the Lanham Act denies trademark protection.

That decision eventually led the Federal Circuit to strike down the act's "disparaging marks" provisions as unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. That's a ruling that could reach well beyond The Slants -- and straight to the Redskins, the Washington, D.C. football team that has been fighting its own offensive name dispute for years.

If you want to look thinner, try stripes, Court watchers learned yesterday. For extra slimming, look for clothes with "waist-narrowing V's."

No, the justices weren't advising Alito on the best way to wear a black robe. They were hearing oral arguments in a dispute over copyright protection for cheerleader uniform designs, arguments which quickly turned to how Kate Winslet chooses clothing to flatter her figure.

Will Samsung be able to blow up Apple's $399 million patent infringement award against it, or will its legal arguments spontaneously combust in front of the Supreme Court? The company, which is currently struggling to keep its Galaxy Note 7 phones from literally exploding, came before the Court yesterday to challenge the massive infringement award meted out after Samsung was found to have copied design features from the Apple iPhone in its own Galaxy line of smartphones.

The case is the culmination of a fiery legal battle that has lasted five years and which could carry significant implications for the design and technology industries.

So far, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear just over 30 cases during the upcoming term, but that number is sure to balloon in the coming weeks and months. Next week, for example, the Court will begin its "long conference," going through the cert petitions that have accumulated over the summer, followed by more cert reviews as the term goes on.

But the Court's makeup could be pushing it to accept some petitions while passing on others. The "shorthanded and ideologically divided Court," Reuters' Lawrence Hurley reports, is "showing a keen interest in more technical cases," such as intellectual property disputes. Among the drier cases that the Court could take up is a dispute over a dancing baby and a controversy over an offensive band name.

The Supreme Court has been in a generous mood this week. On Monday, the Court made it easier for patent holders to get treble damages for patent infringement and yesterday a unanimous Court ruled that the reasonableness of a party's claims should not be the determining factor when awarding attorney's fees under the Copyright Act's fee-shifting provisions.

The opinion, written by Justice Kagan, revived a $2 million claim for attorney's fees by Supap Kirtsaeng, a former Thai student who had been sued by an American textbook publisher. The ruling marks the second Supreme Court win for Kirtsaeng -- and his best chance at recovering legal fees after years of litigation.

The Patent Act authorizes courts to impose triple damages in cases of infringement. But the Federal Circuit's Seagate test makes those damages hard to come by, imposing a relatively complicated two-part test to determine when damages are warranted, subject to trifurcated (yes, trifurcated) appellate review.

The Supreme Court tossed out that test yesterday, ruling unanimously that the Seagate requirements were not consistent with the Patent Act. The ruling is a boon to patent holders, who could see much more money coming from litigating patent infringement now. It's also on track with the Court's recent trend of striking down tests which "impermissibly encumber" a court's discretion to allow enhanced damages.

There's a massive showdown coming to the Supreme Court -- over cheerleader uniforms. On one side is Star Athletica, an upstart purveyor of spirited outfits for spirited squads. On the other is Varsity Brands, hometown heroes and long-time reigning champs, at least when it comes to everything cheerleading. Caught in the middle are thousands of peppy high schoolers who just want to waive some pompoms and scream "go team!"

And last Monday, the Supreme Court decided it would play referee in the competition between the two companies, granting cert to a dispute over whether cheerleading uniform designs are entitled to copyright protection. So, cheerleaders, get ready to "bring it on!" On to the Supreme Court, that is.

Once upon a time, to read a book you had to travel to the local bookstore, or, for the penny wise, the library. If you needed information from a rare or out of print work, you might have to go halfway across the world to secure a copy. Today? You can just Google.

Google Books, the search behemoth's attempt to digitize all the world's printed matter, already has 25 million titles online, searchable and available for free. But four million of those titles are copyrighted, leading to a long-running class action lawsuit by the Authors Guild, which argued that Google was engaged in "massive copyright infringement." The authors lost that challenge in the Second Circuit and, on Monday, the Supreme Court wrote the final chapter to the dispute, denying cert and allowing that decision to stand.

When Marvel Comics brought a super hero with them to the Supreme Court recently, they were hoping a pulp hero could help them defeat "outdated" patent rules. Spiderman's powers, however, were no match for stare decisis. As the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, stare decisis required them to uphold patent precedent, even if they thought, hypothetically, that it was wrongly decided.

In particular, Marvel was asking the Court to overrule Brulotte v. Thys Co., a 1964 case that applied a bright line prohibition on the payment of royalties after a patent had expired. Marvel wanted to continue an agreement where it paid royalties on certain toys -- particularly, one Spiderman figurine which shot foam string from its palm -- and urged the Court to reject what it thought was outdated economic reasoning behind the Brulotte rule. The High Court declined.

Belief in Patent's Validity Not a Defense to Inducing Infringement

The end-of-term madness continues as the Supreme Court today issued four new opinions, dealing with bankruptcy, bankruptcy, whistleblowing, and patents. It's this last case that concerns us today.

Commil USA has a patent on a particular method of extending the range of wireless networks. It sued Cisco Systems, claiming infringement of its patent in Cisco's network equipment. Commil also claimed that Cisco induced others to infringe its patent by selling the network equipment containing the allegedly infringing technology.