There are millions of lawsuits filed in the U.S. every year, which lead to tens of thousands of appeals of the various state and federal court decisions. Of those tens of thousands of appeals, about 7,000 in a typical year will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear and issue opinions in fewer than 100 cases each year. Consequently, the Supreme Court's decisions are of incredible importance not only for their relative scarcity, but also because they end up being all-encompassing documents outlining how the law is to be applied. Since it is the highest court in our system, its decisions have national impact.
In the intellectual property (IP) area, this is even more pronounced, as the annual number of IP cases that the Supreme Court decides can usually be counted on one hand. Because of this, its copyright, patent, and trademark decisions carry incredible weight and will usually be analyzed ad nauseum by courts, lawyers, legal scholars, industry analysts, and commentators (like me).
GOOGLE V. ORACLE
The Supreme Court's April 5, 2021, decision in Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc. is already proving to be one of the most significant copyright rulings in recent years. The decision resolved more than a decade of litigation between Google and Oracle over Google's copying of programming code from Oracle's Java SE software in creating the programming platform for its Android smartphone OS. The court determined that Google's copying was a fair use of the programming code and was not copyright infringement.