Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. Partnership - 10-290 (2010)
564 U. S. ____ (2011)
MICROSOFT CORP. V. I4I LTD. PARTNERSHIP
564 U. S. ____ (2011)
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
MICROSOFT CORPORATION, PETITIONER v. i4i LIMITED PARTNERSHIP et al.
on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the federal circuit
[June 9, 2011]
Justice Thomas, concurring in the judgment.
I am not persuaded that Congress codified a standard of proof when it stated in the Patent Act of 1952 that “[a] patent shall be presumed valid.” 35 U. S. C. §282; see ante, at 7. “[W]here Congress borrows terms of art,” this Court presumes that Congress “knows and adopts the cluster of ideas that were attached to each borrowed word … and the meaning its use will convey to the judicial mind.” Morissette v. United States, 342 U. S. 246, 263 (1952). But I do not think that the words “[a] patent shall be presumed valid” so clearly conveyed a particular standard of proof to the judicial mind in 1952 as to constitute a term of art. See, e.g., ante, at 12, n. 7 (“[S]ome lower courts doubted [the presumption’s] wisdom or even pretended it did not exist”); Philip A. Hunt Co. v. Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, 72 F. Supp. 865, 869 (EDNY 1947) (“[T]he impact upon the presumption of many late decisions seems to have rendered it as attenuated … as the shadow of a wraith”); Myers v. Beall Pipe & Tank Corp., 90 F. Supp. 265, 268 (D Ore. 1948) (“[T]he presumption of [patent] validity … is treated by the appellate courts as evanescent as a cloud”); American Hoist & Derrick Co. v. Sowa & Sons, Inc., 725 F. 2d 1350, 1359 (CA Fed. 1984) (“[I]n 1952, the case law was far from consistent—even contradictory—about the presumption”); cf. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC, 562 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2011) (slip op., at 9–10) (Congress’ use of a word that is similar to a term of art does not codify the term of art). Therefore, I would not conclude that Congress’ use of that phrase codified a standard of proof.
Nevertheless, I reach the same outcome as the Court. Because §282 is silent as to the standard of proof, it did not alter the common-law rule. See ante, at 6 (“[§282] includes no express articulation of the standard of proof”). For that reason, I agree with the Court that the heightened standard of proof set forth in Radio Corp. of Amer- ica v. Radio Engineering Laboratories, Inc., 293 U. S. 1 (1934)—which has never been overruled by this Court or modified by Congress—applies.