Patterson Intellectual Property Law

Firm Update

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Supreme Court Obliterates Laches Defense in Copyright Cases

On May 19th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella, wrote a screenplay that allegedly served as the basis for Martin Scorcese’s classic film Raging Bull.  The Court held that Petrella’s eighteen (18) year delay in filing suit did not bar recovery of damages occurring within the three (3) year statute of limitations period, such that Petrella could recover damages for the three years prior to bringing suit.  The Court held that laches may bar equitable relief, in extraordinary circumstances.  Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., No. 12-1315 (S.Ct. May 19, 2014).

The opinion can be found here.