Supreme Court sides with Alabama company in patent dispute

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is siding with an Alabama company over the U.S. Postal Service in a patent dispute.

The justices said Monday that the government can’t use a 2011 law to challenge a patent held by Birmingham-based Return Mail. The dispute involves a patent Return Mail got for a system that processes mail that gets returned as undeliverable.

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The Postal Service initially expressed interest in Return Mail’s invention but ultimately developed its own, similar system.

Postal Service officials tried to use the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to challenge Return Mail’s patent. The law says that a “person who is not the owner of a patent,” can file a patent challenge using the law. But the justices ruled that the Postal Service isn’t a “person” who can file a patent challenge.

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