Victory! EFF Defends Public’s Right to Access Court Records About Patent Ownership

“The public’s right of access to court proceedings is well-established as a legal principle, but it needs constant defending. In part, that’s because private parties keep asking publicly-funded courts to resolve their disputes in secret. As we and others have written before, this problem is especially great in patent cases, where parties on opposite sides of a case often agree with each other to keep as much of the litigation as possible hidden from view. That deprives the public of material it has every right to see that could affect its rights to engage, like documents establishing (or undermining) a patent owner’s right to bring suit on the basis of a patent which they claim to own….

The Federal Circuit’s decision is a victory for the public, which has waited far too long to see court records to which it has a strong presumption of rightful access. It is also a defeat for Uniloc, which tried, but failed, to avoid the default rule of public access throughout these proceedings. We hope this outcome sends a strong message to Uniloc and other patent litigants that their preference for secrecy cannot overcome the public’s right to know what happens in our courts.”