A scientific analysis.
I would also nominate another case, Peter v. NantKwest Inc., about whether patent litigants who bring cases in district court instead of straight to the Federal Circuit owe PTO's attorneys fees as part of their obligations to pay "all expenses of the proceedings."
The facts are not interesting, it only illuminates that there was a patent dispute but nothing about it. 0 points.
The argument was novel but also not novel. It involved a statute on the books since the early 1800s but which the PTO had not interpreted as requiring attorney's fees until the very litigation at issue in this case. The district court rejected that position in light of the American Rule. The en banc Federal Circuit (over a dissent admittedly) rejected the PTO's position in light of the American Rule. And the Supreme Court opinion was short (10 pages) and unanimous only two months after argument with no concurrences, affirming that the PTO was wrong because of the American Rule. 1 point for the PTO's audacity.
The case was not difficult. The American Rule long requires that attorney's fees are not paid by another party unless a statute says so, and "all expenses of the proceeding" does not mention attorneys so no fees. 0 points.
The case had low legal significance because it only involved this one statute which already requires parties (even prevailing parties) to pay "expenses" and whether that also means attorneys fees. So the party is paying money anyway. And it only applies in patent / trademark cases which are brought to district court instead of direct to the Federal Circuit. 0 points.
Practical significance is also low because there could be no circuit split because the case would go to the Federal Circuit no matter what, and the Federal Circuit already ruled against the PTO. And this was a theory only brought up for the first time in this very litigation and rejected at all levels. Like why even grant cert? No court (except for a minority of the en banc FedCir) ever entertained this theory. 0 points.
Discretionary points: the oral argument made me chuckle a bit, and also it seemed like the SG's attorney kind of gave up the case in the first five minutes. 1 point.
So overall 2 points but only because of pity points for audacity and chuckles. lol
Do you agree at all? I'm curious.
I was thrilled to see your mention of _Texas v. New Mexico (2020)_ because, while I don't know too many Supreme Court cases, I did know that one and even blogged about it back when it was fresh! I agree that it is legally uninteresting: the River Master ruled that, according to the manual, NM did not have to hand over the evaporated portion of Texas's water, then Texas appealed to SCOTUS, and SCOTUS ruled that, according to the manual, NM did not have to hand over the evaporated portion of Texas's water. But I was fascinated to learn that there is guy in Colorado whose job title is Master of the Pecos River and that he has a River Master's manual to guide his decisions.
It has been claimed that Mallory's famous comment should be transcribed, "because it is There" - according to some accounts, for Mallory, "There" also meant somewhere beyond normal experience, or almost "otherworldly". And this of course puts a very different spin on his comment.
Hold on a second. Please reconsider the final ranking. Solis (No. 1) could assist those employees and advocates trying to navigate the Rube Goldberg world of federal civil service and employment discrimination laws. Justice Kagan, who knows a thing or two about supervising employees, including federal employees, seems to have spotted an employer scam. Good for her. In the end, a terminated employee, not necessarily the claimant in this dispute, who is out of work and seeking her job back can avoid jumping through the extra time consuming hoop the government employer favored.
Ok, that’s a little too much time on your hands. Have a great holiday.
Witty column on subject not previously covered. A column of first impression