Posts in Federal Circuit

Google PTAB Wins Stand as CAFC Denies Patent Owner’s Bid for Director Rehearing

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today upheld in a precedential decision the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) denial of Director rehearing for two inter partes review (IPR) decisions in which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) found CyWee Group Ltd.’s U.S. Patent Nos. 8,441,438 and 8,552,978 unpatentable. The IPRs were brought by Google in 2018 challenging certain claims of the two patents, which cover 3D pointing devices. The PTAB instituted the two IPRs within three months of CyWee’s preliminary responses to the petitions, and following institution, the IPRs were joined by other parties, including Samsung, LG and Huawei. Because of the joinders, the PTAB extended the deadline for its response by one month beyond the statutory deadline of one year from institution, to January 10, 2020. The Board issued final written decisions (FWDs) in both IPRs on January 9, 2020, finding all claims unpatentable for obviousness.

Could In re Cellect Be the End of Patent Term Adjustments? The Federal Circuit Will Soon Tell Us

Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) was designed to serve an important purpose – to compensate patentees for time lost during examination due to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) delays. Most industries rely heavily on their patent portfolios to drive business strategies that ultimately impact their bottom line. The impact of patent term is especially acute in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where companies spend billions of dollars to develop new drugs. For these companies, every day that their patent is in force matters, generating millions in additional revenue. With so much at stake, companies strive to accrue all the patent term they are entitled to under the current statutory regime, including by way of PTA.

Does Hyatt v. Hirshfeld Mean That More than One-Third of Patents on the Top Pharmaceuticals are Presumed Invalid?

Case law has defined prosecution laches as an affirmative defense against an infringement assertion. Specifically, the case law indicates a patent that is being asserted is unenforceable when the patentee caused an unreasonable and unexplained delay in prosecution of the patent. Symbol Tech v Lemelson Medical, No. 04-1451 (Fed. Cir. 2005). There is relatively little case law on the specifics of laches. However, in 2021, the Federal Circuit said: “we now hold that, in the context of a § 145 action, the PTO must generally prove intervening rights to establish prejudice, but an unreasonable and unexplained prosecution delay of six years or more raises a presumption of prejudice”. Gil Hyatt v. Hirshfeld (Fed. Cir. 2021). What does this – or might this – mean beyond the Hyatt case?

Revolution Rope Inventor Tells Justices She Deserves Her Day in Article III Court

The inventor of a novel jump rope system (the Revolution Rope), Molly Metz, argued in a reply brief to the U.S. Supreme Court filed on behalf of her company, Jump Rope Systems, LLC, on Tuesday that her case against Rogue Fitness is justiciable and the company has standing despite the cancellation of her patent claims by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Jump Rope Systems filed the brief in reply to Rogue Fitness’s brief in opposition, which was filed on January 19. Metz and Jump Rope Systems originally sued Rogue Fitness in 2018. But after Rogue filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled that Jump Rope Systems’ two patents (US 7,789,809 B2 and US 8,136.208 B2) related to jump rope handle technology were unpatentable.

Kappos at PTAB Masters 2023: The PTAB Simply ‘Hasn’t Worked Out’ as Intended

During the PTAB Masters 2023 program, which was held this week on Tuesday and Wednesday at IPWatchdog’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director David Kappos explained on a panel about potential reform of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that the PTAB was meant to be an alternative to district court, but “that hasn’t worked out.” Kappos was Director during the enactment and implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA), which established the PTAB.

SCOTUS Sustains Blow to Patent Prosecution Practice in Denying Juno v. Kite Rehearing

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Juno v. Kite undermines effective prosecution practice and ultimately patent enforcement. The Juno panel held that to satisfy the written description requirement, a patent needs to demonstrate to a skilled artisan that the inventors possessed and disclosed in their filing the full scope of every genus being claimed. By denying rehearing to the Federal Circuit’s 2021 decision on the scope of the written description requirement, Juno v. Kite demonstrates how once again, the courts never consider anything from a prosecutor’s point of view. Here’s why Juno v. Kite is bad for patent prosecution practice.

‘Shenanigans’ Gone ‘Off the Rails’: PQA Asks CAFC to Step in on Vidal Director Review Sanctions

Following United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal’s December 2022 precedential decision that Patent Quality Assurance (PQA) abused the inter partes review (IPR) process in its case against VLSI Technology, PQA has filed a petition seeking mandamus relief in the matter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Vidal ruled in December that PQA abused the IPR process by filing an IPR and threatening to join a separate IPR against VLSI in order to receive a payout from the technology firm. Vidal also found that PQA misrepresented an “exclusive engagement” with a witness, Dr. Adit Singh, who was involved in another IPR petition against VLSI from OpenSky. She wrote in the decision dismissing PQA from the IPR that, “though the behavior here may not be as egregious as that of OpenSky… I find that PQA’s behavior, nonetheless, amounts to an abuse of process.”

Novartis Asks SCOTUS to Rein in CAFC and Ninth Circuit Approach to Panel Rehearing Decisions

Last week, Novartis Pharmaceuticals followed through on its  September 2022 promise that it would appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) June 2022 decision invalidating its patent for a dosing regimen for its multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya to the U.S. Supreme Court, after the CAFC denied its request to rehear the case.

Federal Circuit Upholds Albright’s Ruling on Denial of Transfer for GM

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied General Motors’ petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel Judge Alan Albright to transfer a patent infringement case brought against GM by Intellectual Ventures (IV) to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. IV sued GM in Albright’s Western District of Texas court for infringing 12 patents covering services and products installed in GM cars, including certain features of GM’s OnStar service. GM moved to transfer the case to Michigan, arguing that “the employees most knowledgeable about the design and development of the accused products and certain third-party component suppliers” are based there. IV countered that GM has “an IT Innovation Center” in Austin, Texas, where employees knowledgeable about the accused technology work.

Apple Scores Win at CAFC in Split Ruling on Prosecution Laches

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled today in a split precedential decision authored by Judge Reyna that a district court properly found Personalized Media Communications’ (PMC) patent unenforceable due to prosecution laches. Judge Stark dissented, arguing that, although he agreed PMC’s delay in prosecuting its patent was “unreasonable and inexcusable,” Apple failed to establish that it suffered prejudice during the period of delay. PMC sued Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2015, alleging that Apple’s digital rights management software, FairPlay, infringed claim 13 of PMC’s U.S. Patent No. 8,191,091. A jury found that Apple infringed at least one of claims 13-16, but in a subsequent bench trial the district court found that the patent was unenforceable due to prosecution laches under Hyatt v. Hirshfeld.

New Vision Gaming Tells CAFC Final GAO Findings Warrant Dismissal of CBM Institution

Earlier this month, patent owner and casino game innovator New Vision Gaming & Development filed a reply brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in its latest bid to challenge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) institution of covered business method (CBM) review proceedings brought by gambling product company SG Gaming. New  Vision alleged violation of a forum selection clause in an agreement between the two parties and now also points to a final report of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) as further support for dismissal. New Vision’s most recent brief comes nearly two months after appellee SG Gaming and intervenor USPTO Director Kathi Vidal both filed briefs in the Federal Circuit backing the PTAB’s institution of CBM review proceedings.

High Court Asks for SG Views on Apple’s Petition Challenging Federal Circuit Approach to IPR Estoppel

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday invited the U.S. Solicitor General to provide its views on Apple’s petition asking the High Court to clarify the proper application of estoppel in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The case stems from a February, 2022, decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in which the court issued a mixed precedential decision that affirmed, vacated, and remanded in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. That ruling related to a patent infringement suit filed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) against Broadcom Limited, Broadcom Corporation, and Avago Technologies (collectively “Broadcom) and Apple Inc.

Federal Circuit Upholds Two Courts’ Findings that Remote Training Patents are Ineligible

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today affirmed one district court decision and dismissed another as moot, finding that Riggs Technology Holdings, Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 7,299,067 for remote education and training systems is patent ineligible as it is “plainly drawn to an abstract idea.” Judge Chen authored both opinions. Riggs sued Cengage Learning, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for infringement of the ‘067 patent, but the district court granted Cengage’s Motion to Dismiss based on patent ineligibility. The court held that the patent “is plainly drawn to an abstract idea,” and that “the concept underlying the claims of the ’067 patent—providing, managing, and/or documenting training completed remotely on a handheld device—is akin to those found in claims the Federal Circuit has deemed abstract and ineligible.”

Albright Gets OK from CAFC on Denial of Transfer for Amazon

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) earlier this week shot down a petition for writ of mandamus filed by Amazon.com, Inc. asking the court to vacate an Order by Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denying Amazon transfer of a case to the Northern District of California. VoIP-Pal sued Amazon in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of its patents through the sale of Amazon’s “’communications platform,’ including the server structure, Alexa calling devices, and Alexa software applications running on those devices.” Amazon sought transfer to California, claiming that the middleware of the accused products was developed by employees based there. In its opposition, VoIP-Pal submitted evidence that “[t]echnical documentation relating to the work of the DeviceOS and Echo Platform Software teams is maintained at the Austin offices.”

Federal Circuit Says Texas Court Erred in Finding Viscometer Patent Claim Indefinite

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today ruled in a precedential decision that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas incorrectly found the term “enlarged chamber” indefinite, but affirmed the court’s construction of another claim term. The case stems from Grace Instrument Industries, LLC’s May 19, 2020, suit against Chandler Instruments Company, LLC for infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 7,412,877 through the sale of Chandler’s Model 7600 viscometer. The ‘877 patent is titled “High Pressure Viscometer with Chamber Preventing Sample Contamination.”