US Supreme Court Eliminates Laches Defense in Virtually All Copyright Infringement Claims | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
US Supreme Court Eliminates Laches Defense in Virtually All Copyright Infringement Claims

US Supreme Court Eliminates Laches Defense in Virtually All Copyright Infringement Claims

In Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the US Supreme Court resolved a circuit split and ruled that the equitable defense of laches does not bar a plaintiff's claim for damages brought within the Copyright Act's three-year statute of limitations.[1] The Court held that the owner of a screenplay could seek to recover damages from a movie studio for the film Raging Bull after waiting 18 years to file suit.[2] In doing so, the Court all but eliminated the laches defense in copyright infringement actions and established a precedent that allows copyright owners to seek damages even if they waited many years to bring suit and the defendant invested significant resources in reliance on that delay.

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[1] - Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 U.S. __, slip op. at 1 (2014).
[2] - Id. at 11 – 22.

 

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