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Federal Circuit to University of Minnesota: No State Sovereign Immunity For You

The Federal Circuit today ruled that The University of Minnesota (UMN)—an arm of the state of Minnesota—is not protected by state sovereign immunity from a number of inter partes review (IPR) petitions filed against UMN patents. Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corporation and Avago Technologies U.S. Inc (Fed. Circ., 2018-1559). The Court, in an opinion authored by Judge Dyk, relied heavily on its 2018 decision in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., 896 F.3d 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2018), which found that “tribal sovereign immunity cannot be asserted in IPRs.” Despite UMN’s arguments to the contrary, the Federal Circuit answered a question left open in its decision in Saint Regis Mohawk by concluding today that “the differences between tribal and state sovereign immunity do not warrant a departure from the reasoning in Saint Regis.”

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