Supreme Court Set To Decide the Fate of the U.S. Patent System as We Know It

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Elyse Pendergrass.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit created shockwaves when it ruled in October 2019 that administrative patent judges are unconstitutional as currently appointed. On March 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Arthrex, Inc., and will soon decide whether or not the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s structure should be dismantled. America Invents Act (AIA) Restructures the Patent and Trademark OfficeIn 2011, Congress passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) to modernize the U.S. patent system. Among other reforms, the AIA established the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as an adjudicatory body within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. PTAB is composed of over 200 administrative patent judges appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The AIA grants PTAB the authority…
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The Best Surprise is No Surprises: An End to Surprise Medical Bills

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Brie Alford. At the close of 2020, Congress enacted the long-awaited No Surprises Act, a bill providing federal protections against surprise medical bills. The Act will fill gaps in protection caused by states’ patchwork legislation and help prevent American families from incurring crippling medical debt. For the past decade, medical debt has been the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies. This is largely due to surprise medical bills, which occur when a provider bills a patient for the difference between their fee for a service and the amount covered by the patient’s health insurance. Health insurance plans, most notably HMO’s, have a network of covered providers and facilities. When a patient visits an “in-network” physician or healthcare facility, the insurance company will cover the majority of the cost, and the…
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House Passes the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Catherine Swett.On February 26, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would protect nearly 3 million acres of public lands in the West. The Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act is a collection of eight different public lands bills, which together would designate 1.5 million acres of public lands as wilderness, as well as add 1,000 miles of river to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The bill passed mostly along party lines with a 227 to 200 vote, with Democrats making up 219 of the affirmative votes.Conserving U.S. LandsIn an executive order signed in January, President Joe Biden committed to conserving at least 30% of the country’s lands and waters by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, as only 12% of U.S. lands are…
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Not a Kid Anymore: What’s Next for Juliana v. United States

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Sarah Brunswick.Climatechange has had a rough few years. Last year, California saw a historic fire season, and Arizona had its hottest summer on record. Texas was recently devastated by an extreme winter storm that left millions without power or running water, and the aftermath quickly turned political.Rewinding a few years, disdain for climate change was a hallmark of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He proudly exited the Paris Agreement early in his presidency, pushed for fossil fuel development across the country, and opened federal lands for oil leases. Responding to Trump’s actions and growing concerns about climate change, House members introduced a sweeping climate change bill in early 2019, dubbed the Green New Deal.Then-President Trump was openly hostile to the plan, and now-President Biden was a vocal skeptic during primary…
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Transgender Equality in the Ninth Circuit: How the Court held in Parents for Privacy v. Barr, that transgender students are entitled to use school bathroom facilities associated with their gender identity.

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Sydney Finley. Brief Background on Transgender Discrimination in the U.S.About 1.4 million transgender individuals live in the U.S., which is less than 1% of the total population. Despite these seemingly low numbers, however, transgender individuals face significant amounts of prejudice and discrimination, often starting in early education environments and continuing throughout their lives. The unfortunate stigma that continues to surround transgenderism and gender nonconformity can lead to significant mental health concerns and increased rates of suicide in transgender individuals (especially in transgender youth). Although progress often seems slight, federal courts over the last two decades have slowly and systematically begun to chip away at transgender discrimination. For example, numerous federal courts have held that national sex discrimination laws such as Title VII, Title IX, the Fair Housing Act, and the…
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Is the Death Penalty Coming to an End?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Nyla Knox. After seventeen years without a federal execution, the U.S. Department of Justice recently executed thirteen people in a six-month period. In this six-month period, the federal government executed more than three times as many people than it did in the past six decades. In fact, prior to the seventeen-year hiatus, only three people were federally executed since 1963. These executions occurred in the wake of growing disapproval of the death penalty, as people across the country urge the Supreme Court to abolish capital punishment. The death penalty is currently legal in twenty-eight states, in the federal government, and in the U.S. military. However, capital punishment remains a hotly debated issue nationwide. In 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional because it constituted cruel and unusual…
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What is a Consumer Privacy Ombudsman?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Cole Cribari.A History of Protecting Customer DataThe internet age and advancements in technology have completely transformed our society over the last forty years, causing corporations to radically change their business practices. Digital advertising is king and has created some of the most valuable firms in the world. Data giants—Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple—constantly collect customer information to improve customer experience, provide better services, and generate ad revenue through targeted advertising.  However, this data collection phenomenon goes beyond the technology giants. Everything from basic websites to retail corporations like Borders and RadioShack also collect personally identifiable customer information in the course of conducting business.At the beginning of the internet era, companies placated consumers’ fears of giving their information out over the internet through self-policing in the form of “privacy policies.”…
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Delayed Disaster? Bankruptcy Filings and COVID-19

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By John ButzerIntroductionAs the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses across the United States, many experts expected a flood of business and individual bankruptcy filings. Instead, in 2020, bankruptcy filings across all chapters were the lowest they had been in thirty-five years. Some have argued that government stimulus programs have given companies and individuals a lifeline that have merely delayed these filings. Are we on the precipice of a deluge of bankruptcies as the economy reopens and congressional response to the pandemic withers?BackgroundFrankly, the economic situation of many businesses was not rosy even prior to the pandemic. Economic researchers found that many companies entered 2020 carrying historically heavy debt loads. By one estimate, corporations in the United States owed $10.5 trillion to creditors in 2020, reflecting debt levels thirty times higher…
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Zoom Zoom Zoom: From Cute Kitten Filters to Increased Economic Disparity, the Perils of Virtual Court

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Maria Raciti.“I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”Coming home from a particularly grueling day at law school (but I mean, what else is new?), I headed to bed with a tub of ice cream in tow. I was all set to binge The Office for the tenth time in a row when I received a text from a friend asking, “Have you seen the cat lawyer video?! .” Not knowing what she was talking about, but liking the sound of it, I googled “cat lawyer video.” Sure enough, a video with over a million views popped up. Much to my delight, the video was everything I hoped for and more. If you have not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch it right now. I myself have watched…
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Proposition 207: A Beneficial Change for Prior Convicts and Arizona as a Whole

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Madison Leake.Arizona, once the state with some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, has now legalized marijuana for recreational use. While the proposition passed after the November 2020 election, it was not until recently (the end of January) that the Department of Health Services approved licenses for facilities to begin selling recreational marijuana in the state. This dramatic shift in Arizona law is bound to impact the state’s entire criminal justice system, including prior convictions. Now that Arizonians can go buy marijuana almost as easily as liquor, what does this mean for those with prior marijuana convictions?What is Proposition 207?Proposition 207 dramatically changed marijuana policies in Arizona. Now, possession of up to an ounce and use of marijuana is legal for adults over twenty-one. Further, residents can…
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