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Standard Essential Patents

This case study addresses standard essential patents (SEPs) and is based on the litigation in Microsoft v. Motorola, litigation which resulted in a decision in 2015 over a dispute related to the licensing of technology for the well-known Xbox video game system.  This case study raises key contractual issues surrounding standard-setting organizations (SSOs) and about the implications of “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms for standard-essential patents. The case study introduces students to the world of SSOs and walks them in a concise, accessible fashion through the complex issues presented to the district court and resolved in its voluminous opinions. The case study distills a 207-page decision and still longer court record down into a manageable case (including attachments and exhibits), making it possible for students to learn about standard essential patents in a typical 80-minute class through engagement with the issues raised by this litigation.

Federal Preemption of State & Local Green Building Codes

This case study addresses jurisdictional conflicts and preemption challenges between local building codes and federal energy efficiency regulations of heating, ventilation and air conditioning appliances. It draws on litigation challenging a green building code adopted by the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Construction industry groups went to court to argue that U.S. Department of Energy efficiency regulations preempted the state and local efforts. The federal judge found that the Albuquerque code was preempted. This case provides a promising opportunity for students not only to understand and debate preemption, but also to consider what levels of government are best suited for addressing different kinds of public policy problems and effective strategies for addressing the problem of climate change.