Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

‘Raging Bull’ heiress knocks out MGM’s laches defence

By Colin T Kemp, Kevin A Fong, Bobby Ghajar and Stephen E Berge

In Petrella v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, the Supreme Court holds that laches cannot bar claims for damages for copyright infringement brought during the three-year limitations period.

On 19 May 2014, in a case concerning the copyright in the screenplay that led to the critically acclaimed movie Raging Bull, the US Supreme Court held that laches cannot be invoked to preclude adjudication of a claim for damages brought within the three-year statute of limitations. Writing for the six-justice majority, Justice Ginsburg explained that laches is an equitable defence that cannot be applied to bar legal relief (such as claims for damages) in the face of Congress’s clear limitations period.

Petrella v MGM concerns whether the affirmative defence of laches can be applied during the statute of limitations period applicable to a copyright infringement claim. Before focusing on that issue and the court’s analysis, however, a brief overview of the applicable statute of limitations and the affirmative defence of laches may be helpful…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Pillsbury briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.


Tower 42, Level 23
25 Old Broad Street