Tech companies and app developers everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief after Monday’s major Supreme Court ruling on a topic that’s close to their hearts: patents. More specifically, patent lawsuits — a rising number of which analysts say are bogus and threaten to strangle new start-ups and inventions before they have a chance to succeed.
The ruling could wind up having a significant effect on which companies and innovations thrive and which get sued into oblivion. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the name of the case?
The case is called TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods. Kraft had sued Heartland over a type of product that’s called a “liquid water enhancer,” which is essentially a package of flavoring that you can dump into a bottle of water to change its color and taste. Kraft said that Heartland had basically stolen its idea. But while the case may have begun as a straightforward patent infringement suit, it eventually took on national significance as it called into question where cases like these could be tried.