Coll. Sav. Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd.

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Coll. Sav. Bank v. Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd.
Court U.S. Supreme Court
Citation 527 U.S. 666 (1999)
Date decided June 23, 1999
Appealed from U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit

Facts

Congress amended the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act, which subjects states to suits brought under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act for false and misleading advertising and expressly abrogated the States’ sovereign immunity from claims of patent infringement.

Procedural History

College Savings filed an action alleging that Florida Prepaid violated section 43 of the Lanham Act by making misstatements about its tuition savings plans in its brochures and annual reports.

Issues

  1. Does the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act (TRCA) permit suits against states for alleged misrepresentations of their own products by providing a constitutionally permissible abrogation of state sovereign immunity?
  2. Does the TRCA permit suits against states for alleged misrepresentations of their own products by operating as a waiver of sovereign immunity when a state engages in activities regulated by the Lanham Act?

Holding

  1. No.
  2. No.
The Court held that "the federal courts are without jurisdiction to entertain this suit against an arm of the State of Florida."

Reasons

"the sovereign immunity of the State of Florida was neither validly abrogated by the Trademark Remedy Clarification Act, nor voluntarily waived by the State's activities in interstate commerce."

Rule

Only where a State provides no remedy, or only inadequate remedies, to injured patent owners for its infringement of their patent could a deprivation of due process result.

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