[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments Wednesday in two cases. In Young v. United Parcel Service [transcript, PDF] the justices considered whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act [EEOC backgrounder] requires an employer that provides work accommodations to non-pregnant employees with work limitations to provide work accommodations to pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. In 2006 the petitioner requested light-duty work to limit her package assignments to 20lbs or less on the grounds that other United Parcel Service (UPS) workers were given light-duty work. UPS refused [Guardian report] to accommodate Young and she left the company in 2009. Young’s counsel argued [SCOTUSblog report] for a textural reading of the statute, while counsel for UPS defended the light-duty policy for certain types of employees. A decision is expected by June.
In Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank [transcript, PDF] the issue before the court is whether a judge or the jury should determine whether the use of an older trademark may be tacked to a newer one, thereby rendering them legal equivalents [Arent Fox, LLP backgrounder] in a determination of legal trademark priority. The doctrine of tacking [SCOTUSblog report] involves the ability of a trademark user to “tack” the priority of an early mark onto a later mark, which has the effect of giving the later mark priority over an intervening mark of a third party. There is a split among the federal circuit courts over the division of labor between the court and the jury regarding patent infringement in a trademark tacking dispute. This is the second trademark case [JURIST report] before the court in as many days; while the most recent court opinion on the tacking doctrine was decided almost 90 years ago.