June 01, 2010

In this edition of The Spotlight, we highlight a number of interesting recent developments, including several decisions from the Supreme Court as it wraps up its October 2009 Term. As we discuss, the Supreme Court has recently held that conduct by the National Football League to jointly market the intellectual property of all of its teams can constitute concerted action within the scope of § 1 of the Sherman Act. This decision has interesting implications for the status of other joint ventures under the antitrust laws. The Court has also ruled that under the Federal Arbitration Act a party cannot be compelled to submit to class arbitration unless there is a contractual basis for concluding that the parties agreed to class arbitration. Addressing ERISA, the Court has decided that where a plan grants a fiduciary discretion to interpret the plan, the fiduciary’s interpretation is entitled to deference, even if the fiduciary’s initial interpretation of the same plan terms was found to be unreasonable. And in a case involving an award of attorneys’ fees, the Court has held that there is a strong presumption that lodestar amounts are a sufficient award, and that enhancements are proper only in rare and exceptional circumstances supported by specific evidence that the lodestar fee is inadequate.

Several high-profile cases from this Term remain to be decided, including a case on the patentability of business methods, and we will report on those in upcoming editions. In addition, Jenner & Block's next Spotlight Live event will cover the leading business cases from the Supreme Court's 2009 Term. More information on this event and how to register is included below.

This edition also discusses other developments of note in the lower courts, including an interesting First Amendment decision from the Fourth Circuit, a change of course in the closely watched Qualcomm sanctions matter, and the Federal Circuit’s decision to consider en banc a number of questions related to the inequitable
conduct defense.

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