The Seventh Circuit recently reversed a lower court’s decision to vacate a portion of an arbitration award in a patent dispute that the lower court found to be a “manifest disregard of the law.” The Seventh Circuit explained that “manifest disregard” is not an independent basis for vacatur, and can only support vacatur to the extent it reflects that arbitrators “exceeded their powers” under the applicable contract. Here, the underlying arbitration was authorized to determine the inventorship of certain patents, and the lower court failed to identify any manner in which the arbitrators exceeded that contractual authority. Noting that arbitrators are free to act without issuing written opinions, the Seventh Circuit held that the lower court committed a “logical error” by inferring “from silence” that the arbitrators relied on an extra-contractual ground. “Silence,” the Seventh Circuit explained, “is just silence.” Affymax, Inc. v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 11-2070 (7th Cir. Oct. 3, 2011).