High court says patent suit over adult diapers can proceed

AP News
Posted: Mar 21, 2017 11:44 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a company that makes adult diapers did not wait too long to sue a rival for copying its patented design.

The justices ruled 7-1 Tuesday that Sweden-based SCA Hygiene Products AB could take legal action against New York-based First Quality Baby Products LLC for violating patents on its adult incontinence products.

A federal appeals court had ruled that SCA's delay in bringing the lawsuit was unreasonable. But SCA pointed to a 2014 Supreme Court case that said unreasonable delay is not a defense to copyright infringement claims. The company argued that the same reasoning applies to patent cases.

The justices agreed, saying unreasonable delay cannot be used to defend a damages claim case that is filed within the six-year time limit authorized by federal patent law.