Posts in Federal Circuit

CAFC Panel Splits on Reasonable Expectation of Success Analysis

In a precedential decision authored by Judge Lourie, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s final judgment that certain claims of several patents owned by Salix Pharmaceuticals for a drug used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other ailments were invalid as obvious. The CAFC also affirmed an order of the district court that instructed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the effective approval date of generic company Norwich’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) may not precede the expiration dates of the claims of three other Salix patents that were found to be valid and infringed by Norwich. Norwich cross-appealed from that order and also from the denial of its motion to modify the district court’s final judgment.

Federal Circuit Upholds Mixed ITC Determination Authorizing Google Redesigns

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Monday affirmed an International Trade Commission (ITC) final determination that said Google infringed five of Sonos, Inc.’s patents but which also found three proposed redesigns did not infringe. Sonos owns U.S. Patent Nos. 10,439,896 (“’896 patent”), 9,195,258 (“’258 patent”), 9,219,959 (“’959 patent”), 10,209,953 (“’953 patent”), and 8,588,949 (“’949 patent”). Sonos filed a complaint with the ITC alleging certain Google audio players and controllers infringed the patents and the ITC agreed, issuing a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order (CDO) preventing Google from marketing the infringing products in the United States.

CAFC Precedential Decision on Rule 12(b)(6) Affirms Patent Ineligibility of Medical Scan Visualization Claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision decision authored by Judge Reyna today affirming a district court’s grant of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion alleging that AI Visualize’s patent claims were ineligible under Section 101. AI Visualize owns U.S. Patent Nos. 8,701,167 (’167 patent), 9,106,609 (’609 patent), 9,438,667 (’667 patent), and 10,930,397 (’397 patent), which all relate to visualization of medical scans. AI Visualize sued Nuance Communications, Inc. and Mach7 Technologies, Inc. for patent infringement. Nuance filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing the claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter. Since AI Visualize’s Amended Complaint provided no further information about the eligibility of the claims and neither party asked for claim construction, the district court reviewed the eligibility of the claims and concluded they were all ineligible.

CAFC Affirms District Court Dismissal of Pro Se Inventor’s Procedural and Patent Claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday affirmed a number of district court orders against inventor Urvashi Bhagat, whose patent application  was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Bhagat’s U.S. patent application No. 13/877,847 covers orally-delivered nutritional formulations containing omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants. The application was filed in 2013 and the USPTO examiner rejected all claims as obvious, two claims as lacking written description, several other claims as indefinite and others for improper dependency. On appeal to the PTAB, the Board summarily affirmed the dependency and indefiniteness rejections, affirmed the obviousness rejection on the merits and reversed the written description rejection. Bhagat then appealed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, claiming the USPTO erroneously rejected her patent claims and asking for damages due to the Office’s bad faith and for taking her property.

SCOTUS (Unsurprisingly) Declines Invitation to Clarify Alice

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 1, dismissed a petition asking the Court to revisit and clarify its seminal holding in Alice v. CLS Bank. The petition stems from a 2023 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruling upholding a district court’s grant of summary judgment that certain claims of Ficep Corporation’s U.S. Patent 7,974,719 (’719 patent) were patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The ‘719 patent covers a method of manufacturing industrial steel.

CAFC Sends Janssen Schizophrenia Treatment Claims Back to District Court for New Obviousness Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled in a precedential decision authored by Judge Prost on Monday that certain claims of Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s patent for a schizophrenia drug are not indefinite but vacated and remanded the district court’s finding that Teva Pharmaceuticals had not proven all of the claims obvious.

No Presents for Gift Card Patent Owner from Federal Circuit

AlexSam, Inc. lost its patent infringement cases against Simon Property Group/Blackhawk Network and Cigna Corporation in two separate decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Monday, April 1. AlexSam owns U.S. Patent No. 6,000,608, which discloses a “multifunction card system.” Essentially, the invention is a type of gift card that “can serve a number of functions, thus allowing the consumer to have one card which may act as their card for financial transactions, long-distance telephone calls, loyalty information, and medical information.”

Rader’s Ruminations – Patent Eligibility III: Seven Times the Federal Circuit Has Struck Out

The U.S. Supreme Court’s flimsy eligibility jurisprudence offers the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) several “softball pitches” to avoid a patent bloodbath. To date, the Federal Circuit has struck out at preserving the patent system — at least twice without really even taking a swing! The first softball pitch appears in the High Court’s initial decision to exalt judge-made “exceptions” over the 200-year-old statutory rule, namely, Mayo v. Prometheus.

Patent Suit Over Gemstone Authentication Blockchain Fizzles Out at CAFC Under Section 101

On March 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a decision in Rady v. The Boston Consulting Group affirming a lower court’s invalidation of patent claims covering improvements to physical asset provenance via blockchain. The ruling, though marked non-precedential, arguably expands the application of the abstract idea exception to patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for blockchain technologies even when those patents are claiming the use of specialized, non-generic computer hardware.

Federal Circuit Clarifies WesternGeco Approach to Foreign Damages

In a lengthy, precedential opinion authored by Judge Taranto, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday, March 27, affirmed a district court’s decision invalidating the claims of two of Trading Technologies’ (TT’s) patents as being patent ineligible under Section 101 and also clarified the application of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling on foreign damages. Harris Brumfield, as Trustee for Ascent Trust, is the successor to TT, which sued IBG LLC in 2010 for infringement of four patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,766,304; 6,772,132; 7,676,411; and 7,813,996. All of the patents’ specifications describe “assertedly improved graphical user interfaces for commodity trading and methods for placing trade orders using those interfaces.”

CAFC: Jury Instructions Must Address Each Objective Indicia of Nonobviousness Raised by Patent Owner

On March 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential ruling in Inline Plastics Corp. v. Lacerta Group, LLC, on appeal from the District of Massachusetts. Judge Richard Taranto authored the opinion and held that an improper jury instruction given at trial by the district court required vacatur of the court’s final judgment that Inline’s patent claims were invalid for obviousness. The Federal Circuit remanded that portion of the case for a new trial so that the jury can properly consider each objective indicia of nonobviousness raised by Inline at trial.

Victory for Virtek Patent as CAFC Schools PTAB on Proper Motivation to Combine Analysis

In a precedential decision authored by Chief Judge Moore, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday partially reversed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that certain claims of Virtek Vision International’s patent on a method for aligning a laser projector were unpatentable, finding the Board erred as a matter of law in its analysis. The court also affirmed the PTAB’s finding that other claims were not proven unpatentable. Aligned Vision challenged various claims of Virtek’s U.S. Patent No. 10,052,734, which is titled “Laser Projector with Flash Alignment,” arguing claims 1, 2, 5, 7, and 10–13 would have been obvious over prior art references titled Keitler and Briggs (Ground 1), and over Briggs and another reference, Bridges (Ground 3). It also argued claims 3–6 and 8–12 would have been obvious over Keitler, Briggs, and  ‘094 Rueb (Ground 2), and over Briggs, Bridges, and ‘094 Rueb (Ground 4).

Lourie Dissents from CAFC View that Heart Valve Transport was Not Infringing

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today held in a precedential split decision authored by Judge Stoll that the safe harbor provision of 35 U.S.C.§ 271(e)(1) applied to Meril Life Sciences’ importation of two demonstration samples of its transcatheter heart valves to a medical conference. Judge Lourie dissented, explaining that both the district court and the Federal Circuit have erred in interpreting the statute, specifically by failing to adequately consider the word “solely,” under which interpretation it could be reasonably held that Meril “at least partially” imported the valves for commercial reasons.

‘Tic Tac Fruit’ Gaming System Claims Fail CAFC’s Eligibility Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday, March 21, affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment that claims of a patent for an electronic gaming system were ineligible under Section 101. U.S. Patent No. 7,736,223 is owned by Savvy Dog Systems and POM of Pennsylvania (Savvy Dog) and is directed to a “more skill-based and less chance-based” version of a popular electronic game called “Tic Tac Fruit.” Savvy Dog sued Pennsylvania Coin and PA Coin Holdings (Pennsylvania Coin) for infringement in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Coin moved to dismiss the case, in part because it said the claims constituted patent ineligible subject matter.

CAFC Denies Apple Transfer Out of Albright’s Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied Apple’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking the court to compel Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer its case to the Northern District of California. Carbyne Biometrics sued Apple for infringement of six patents via Apple’s “Secure Enclave” and Apple Cash platform features. Apple moved for transfer in July 2023, the motion was briefed in November 2023 and the district court denied the motion in December 2023 and said it would soon issue a decision. Apple filed the petition for writ of mandamus when no decision had issued by January 31, 2024 asking the CAFC to either stay the proceedings until a decision had issued or to compel transfer.