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Florida Prepaid Post Secondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank

Florida Prepaid Post Secondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank

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Florida Prepaid Post Secondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank

The issue of sovereign immunity was raised in the Florida Prepaid Post-Secondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank case from 1999. The plaintiff, College Savings Banks, filed a patent infringement suit against the defendant, Florida Prepaid. The defendant was a State entity. The Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that State sovereignty could not be taken away even though the Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act says differently.

Case Description

The plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant which happened to be a State entity. The plaintiff claimed the Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act takes away sovereign immunity -- or immunity from liability -- from states. The defendant claimed the Seminole Tribe v. Florida outcome declared sovereign immunity could not be taken from the State.

The plaintiff relied on the 14th Amendment which gave the State no power to take away property without due process, which included patent properties. The defense claimed no law passed by Congress shall be able to curtail the protection held by the states from patent infringement suits.

Ruling

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled the Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act could not take away sovereign immunity from the State of Florida. The Court said only a consistent disregard for the property rights and patent rights of citizens could permit Congress to take away sovereign immunity from a State. Since the plaintiff could not prove the defendant demonstrated consistent patent violations, the State’s protection in the form of sovereign immunity would remain.

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