Delay isn’t always the enemy, says Supreme Court in latest patent ruling

Procrastinators can rejoice in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that the defense of “laches” no longer applies in patent cases. Derived from an old French term for “delay,” laches is a centuries-old English common law doctrine that bars a legal claim whose pursuit was unreasonably delayed. In general, if a claimant waits too long before filing suit, it would be unfair to the defendant to allow the case to move forward when she reasonably assumed the claimant had relinquished his claim. It would burden the legal system to handle evidence and witnesses when substantial time had passed after the events in question occurred, and it would reward the claimant for acting dilatorily.