Is Lear Still King?

In a recent decision, the Second Circuit crowned Lear, Inc. v. Adkins, 395 U.S. 653 (1969), but a petition to the Supreme Court has the possibility of dethroning this ruling and Lear. In Lear, the Court held that a licensee could challenge the validity of patents despite an agreement to the contrary. Contract law, the Court noted, must yield to the public’s interest in ensuring monopolies do not go unchecked. Lear, Inc., 395 U.S. at 670-71. Since that decision, courts have taken varied approaches to Lear. See, e.g., Licensee Patent Validity Challenges Following MedImmune: Implications for Patent Licensing,. 3 HASTINGS SCI. & TECH. L.J. 243-439 (2011).