Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Block, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss a complaint brought by AuthWallet, LLC against it for failure to state a claim. The district court found that the claims of AuthWallet’s patent were invalid because they claimed patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. AuthWallet’s U.S. Patent No. 9,292,852 relates to systems and methods for processing financial transaction data. Block provides online platforms, products, and services that facilitate financial transaction data. Specifically, Block offers mobile payment options that provide a means for customers to earn and redeem rewards for multiple vendors. In its complaint, AuthWallet alleged that Block’s payment platforms infringe on one or more of claims of the ’852 patent, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. Specifically, AuthWallet alleged that Block put the inventions claimed by the ’852 patent into service (i.e., used them) and, therefore, Block benefited financially and commercially.
On April 18, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s decision dismissing Apple Inc.’s complaint for declaratory judgment of noninfringement for lack of personal jurisdiction. Apple brought the complaint against patent owner Zipit Wireless, Inc. The CAFC found the district court erred in interpreting precedential cases as applying a bright-line rule that patent infringement notice letters and related communications can never form the basis for personal jurisdiction.
On April 6, the UK High Court issued a judgment of non-infringement in favor of artist Ed Sheeran over his 2017 song, “Shape of You.” The court held that Sheeran did not copy a part of Defendant Sami Chokri’s 2015 song called “Oh Why.” The ruling came nearly four years after co-writers Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue (collectively, Defendants) first accused Sheeran and his co-writers, Snow Patrol’s John McDaid and producer Steven McCutcheon (collectively, Plaintiffs) of deliberately and consciously copying from a part of “Oh Why.” Alternatively, the Defendants contended that he did so subconsciously.
On Friday, April 1, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to once again voice his concerns about several sources advancing data on the effects of pharmaceutical patents on drug pricing. Tillis is specifically troubled that the data seems to be based on opaque methodologies and to contain inaccurate or incomplete information that may mislead policymakers. In a previous letter to these organizations, he requested the agencies conduct an independent assessment of the accuracy and reliability of those sources. In the present letter, Tillis again highlights his concern about work from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK). He had previously written to Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of I-MAK, requesting that I-MAK provide a detailed explanation of its methods to allow others to check the accuracy of I-MAK’s patent data and to assess the credibility of its other assertions.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas that Dyfan, LLC’s claims were invalid as indefinite. The CAFC concluded that the disputed claim limitations were not drafted in means-plus-function format, and therefore 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6 did not apply. Patent owner Dyfan sued Target Corp. for infringement of various claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,973,899 and 10,194,292. Following a claim construction hearing, the district court found that the disputed (1) “code”/“application” limitations and (2) “system” limitations of the patents-in-suit were invalid as indefinite. Specifically, the district court found that: (1) these claim limitations of the patents-in-suit are in means-plus-function format under Section 112 ¶ 6 and (2) the specification does not disclose sufficient structure corresponding to the recited functions. Dyfan subsequently appealed.
On March 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Precedential Opinion Panel’s (POP’s) decision allowing patent owner DynaEnergetics Europe GmH to amend its claims, and also affirmed the PTAB’s decision that the original claims of the patent were unpatentable. Hunting Titan, Inc. petitioned for inter partes review of claims 1–15 of the U.S. Patent No. 9,581,422, asserting grounds of unpatentability based on anticipation and obviousness, including allegations that the claims were anticipated by U.S. Patent No. 9,689,223 (Schacherer). The Board instituted trial on all grounds and found all of the original claims unpatentable.
On March 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) obviousness determination and its denial of patent owner Hoyt Fleming’s motion to amend the asserted claims of the U.S. Patent No. RE47,474. Cirrus Design Corp. petitioned for inter partes review of multiple claims, including claims 135-139, of the ’474 patent. During the proceeding, Fleming moved to amend, seeking to replace the asserted claims with proposed substitute claims. The Board concluded that claims 137-139 were unpatentable as obvious over the combination of Cirrus Design’s Pilot Operation Handbook for the SR22, Revision A7, (Oct. 10, 2003) (POH) and U.S. Patent No. 6,460,810 (James). The Board further found that Fleming’s proposed amended claims did not meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for patentability because they lacked written description support and thus constituted new matter. On appeal, Fleming argued the Board erred in determining that the asserted claims are unpatentable and in denying his motion to amend.
On March 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed decisions by the International Trade Commission (the Commission) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board or PTAB) both 1) declining to ban Renesas Electronics Corporation and other companies from importing into the United States products alleged to infringe upon Broadcom Corporation’s two patents and 2) finding certain claims of Broadcom’s patents obvious. Broadcom filed a complaint at the Commission alleging a violation of 19 U.S.C. § 1337 (Section 337) based on the importation of products by Renesas and other companies that are asserted to infringe U.S. Patents 7,437,583 and 7,512,752. Broadcom’s ’583 patent is “directed to reducing power consumption in computer systems by ‘gating’ clock signals with circuit elements to turn the signals ON and OFF for downstream parts of the circuit.” The ’752 patent is “directed to a memory access unit that improves upon conventional methods of requesting data located at different addresses within a shared memory.”