Roberts recuses from patent case after discovering conflict

WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says he will no longer participate in deciding a patent infringement case because he discovered he owns shares in the parent company of one of the parties.

Roberts took part in arguments in the dispute between California-based Life Technologies Corp. and Wisconsin-based Promega Corp. on Dec. 6.

A letter Wednesday from court clerk Scott Harris says Roberts has learned Life Technologies is owned by Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., and Roberts owns shares valued at about $175,000. Harris says the ordinary conflict check "inadvertently failed to find this potential conflict."

Federal law prohibits judges from hearing a case if they have a financial interest in a participating company.

The case involves a dispute over the international reach of U.S. patent laws.

Published: Fri, Jan 06, 2017