[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments Wednesday in Bustillo v. Johnson and Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon [Duke Law case backgrounder], a pair of consolidated cases that could expand the Miranda rights [ABA backgrounder] of foreign nationals. The cases involve two convicted foreign nationals - a Honduran and a Mexican - who claim their arresting officers' failure to notify them of their right to speak to their government was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations [text]. The treaty provides that aliens arrested in the US and US citizens arrested in foreign signature countries have the right to be represented by their consulates. Even Justice Stephen Breyer [OYEZ profile], however, was dismissive of the assertion that the police - as opposed to a court-appointed lawyer - need to notify defendants of their rights under the treaty. AP has more.
The court also heard arguments in Ebay, Inc. v. MercExchange [Duke Law case backgrounder; merit briefs], a case that will determine if the court should abandon its ninety-eight year old precedent that allows dormant patent holders the right to exclude others from benefiting from their patents. Justices heard lawyers from eBay argue that the courts should not grant injunctions on behalf of holders that have no intention of practicing their patents. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Thomas Woolston, the founder of MercExchange [official website; news release], who was awarded three patents in 1998 for his development of software that facilitates online collectibles trading. MercExchange won a $35 million jury verdict - later reduced to $5.5 million - but failed to convince the district judge to grant an injunction against eBay. The federal appeals court reversed in part and granted an injunction, but its holding was stayed pending the current appeal. AP has more.