Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date




Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. asks whether Article III's restriction on the jurisdiction of the federal courts only to "cases" and "controversies," as required by the "actual controversy" limitation of the Declaratory Judgment Act, necessitates that a patent licensee terminate or breach its license agreement before seeking a declaratory judgment to hold the underlying patent invalid, unenforceable, or not infringed. Breaking with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the MedImmune majority clearly establishes a patent licensee's legal right to challenge the validity and enforceability of a patent without actually breaching or terminating the underlying licensing agreement for the challenged patent. Thus, a challenge to the validity of a patent is now a justiciable controversy for which a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction.