Posts in Federal Circuit

CAFC Partially Affirms for VLSI on Infringement But Vacates and Remands for New Trial on Damages

On December 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential ruling in the ongoing patent battle between computer chip patent owner VLSI and major chipmaker Intel Corp. While the court affirmed the infringement findings underpinning the bulk of VLSI’s $2.175 billion jury verdict awarded back in March 2021, the panel ordered a retrial of damages award for one of two asserted patents and dismissed the doctrine of equivalents infringement finding for the other patent. The Federal Circuit also found that the district court abused its discretion by denying Intel’s motion for leave to add a license defense to its case.

Will the CAFC Hear Amici’s Call to Grant Bid for En Banc Review of ODP Doctrine?

Just before the Thanksgiving break, a number of amici submitted briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) asking the en banc court to rehear a case that many feel has a good chance of helping to clarify the law around the judicially-created doctrine of non-statutory obviousness-type double patenting (ODP). Cellect, LLC filed its petition for rehearing en banc on November 13, asking the full court to consider whether the August panel decision should be overturned. In that decision, authored by Judge Lourie, the court held that patent term extension (PTE) and patent term adjustment (PTA) are not the same for purposes of an obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) analysis.

Federal Circuit Vacates TTAB Decision as Arbitrary and Capricious

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday vacated and remanded a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision that had sustained an opposition to the mark GET ORDAINED, holding that the TTAB had failed to “furnish a reasoned explanation for departing from its established practice of deeming unargued claims waived.”

Federal Circuit Says PTAB Has Authority to Issue Decisions After Statutory Deadline

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled in a precedential decision today that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) does not lose its statutory authority to issue a Final Written Decision when it misses the 1.5-year deadline to do so, as established by the patent statute. According to the opinion, which was authored by Judge Dyk, “[t]his appears to be the only proceeding in which the Board has failed to meet the statutory deadline, and this is accordingly a matter of first impression.”

Justices Won’t Consider Whether CAFC’s Claim Construction Constitutes a Judicial Taking

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a petition that asked it to consider whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) “construction of petitioner’s patent claim was unforeseeable and unjustifiable under the circuit’s prior decisions,” thereby constituting a judicial taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. The petition was an appeal from the CAFC’s April decision affirming a district court’s judgment that AT&T Mobility LLC did not infringe an inventor’s wireless communications technology patent but also holding that AT&T had forfeited its chance to prove the patent invalid on appeal.

Teleflex Scores Again at CAFC with Affirmance of Medtronic’s PTAB Loss

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision today affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) finding that Medtronic failed to prove the challenged claims of Teleflex’s catheter patent unpatentable. In several previous precedential decisions issued this year, the CAFC similarly upheld the PTAB’s determinations. In May, the court said that Medtronic failed to show the challenged claims of five catheter patents unpatentable because the primary prior art reference cited by Medtronic did not qualify as prior art under pre-America Invents Act (AIA) first-to-invent provisions. Judge Dyk dissented. And in June, the court found in two separate rulings issued the same day that Teleflex’s objective evidence supported a presumption of nexus, that Medtronic copied Teleflex’s product and that Teleflex’s substitute claims did not lack adequate written description.

Vidal Designates Precedential PTAB Decision on Provisionals as Prior Art Under AIA

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal today designated as precedential a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision from March of this year that held a precedential U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruling on prior art determinations for provisional applications applies only to pre-America Invents Act (AIA) patents.

Federal Circuit Decision Suggests Patent Prosecutors Should Think Twice When Citing References

Most patent prosecutors err on the side of caution when deciding whether to cite prior art references to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Indeed, the consequence of not citing known prior art can be a finding during patent litigation that there was a violation of the USPTO’s duty of disclosure amounting to inequitable conduct, with the patent thereby being deemed unenforceable. But the United States Court of Appeals the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Elekta Limited v. Zap Surgical Systems (Case 2021-1985, September 21, 2023) suggests that patent prosecutors should think about ways that the fact that references are being cited could be used against the patent owner, and prosecutors might consider clarifying the record to negate potential inferences being drawn based on the citation of references.

Build a Consumer Base with Innovation; Protect Sales with Design Patents

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its one millionth design patent on September 26, 2023. U.S. Patent No. D1,000,000 claims the ornamental design for a dispensing comb. This milestone comes during a particularly prolific period for design patents. In 2022 alone, the USPTO received more than 50,000 design patent applications. The Office has seen a 20% growth in design patent applications over the last five years. It is not hard to understand why inventors are seeking design patent protection at previously unseen levels. In an age of complicated technologies, design patents can protect marketable appearances of products in the same manner generally as trademarks identify source. Understanding design patent benefits underlying the recent growth in application numbers is a good lesson for businesses seeking to distinguish a brand—but keep an eye out for further developments and be prepared to adjust business and IP strategies.

USPTO Tells SCOTUS to Skip Intel’s Challenge to Fintiv Framework

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) responded last week to a petition for certiorari that is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision that said appellate review of whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) discretionary denial rules for inter partes review (IPR) are “arbitrary and capricious” is precluded by Section 314(d) of the patent statute.

Google Escapes $20 Million Judgment as SCOTUS Denies Petition on CAFC Reissue Standard

Just a few weeks after Google waived its right to respond, the Supreme Court denied a petition challenging a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision that held a Texas district court erred in ruling against the search engine and tech behemoth. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found the inventors of a method for protecting computers from malware—Alfonso Cioffi and Allen Rozman (the patent is now assigned to Melanie, Megan and Morgan Rozman)—had proven that Google’s Chrome web browser infringed their reissue patents RE43,500, RE43,528, and RE43,529 and that the claims were not invalid. After a first time at the Federal Circuit in which the case was remanded to the district court, a jury awarded Cioffi, et. al. $20 million in past damages and the district court in post-trial review rejected Google’s “original patent defense.”

CAFC Orders Response from Apple and USPTO in Ongoing APPLE JAZZ Battle

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) this week ordered Apple, Inc. and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to respond to a petition for writ of mandamus filed by the owner of the APPLE JAZZ trademark, who has been embroiled in a fight with Apple, Inc. over rights to the mark since 2016. Charles Bertini, who owns APPLE JAZZ, petitioned the CAFC last week, asking the court to direct the USPTO to issue a final decision on its petition to cancel Apple’s mark, APPLE (Registration No. 4088195) for nonuse/ abandonment on the ground that Apple never used the mark in commerce for entertainment services listed in the Registration Certificate.

CAFC Says Lack of Concrete Plans to Market Eye Treatment Dooms Allgenesis Appeal

On November 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision in Allgenesis Biotherapeutics Inc. v. Cloudbreak Therapeutics, LLC, dismissing Allgenesis’ appeal after an unsuccessful challenge to Cloudbreak’s patent claims at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Federal Circuit ruled that Allgenesis lacked Article III standing to bring the appeal for failing to establish an injury in fact stemming from potential infringement liability or the impact of the PTAB’s priority determinations on the scope of Allgenesis’ patent rights.

The ‘Lead Compound’ Rule: Problems and More Problems

On August 22, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued yet another decision reinforcing what can only be described as the “lead compound” rule for challenging pharmaceutical and other chemical compound patents on the basis of obviousness…. The Federal Circuit has been utilizing the “lead compound” construct since around 2000. The Sun panel cited an earlier decision which couched the construct as something the court “ordinarily” employs. Otsuka Pharm. Co., Ltd. v. Sandoz Inc., 678 F. 3d 1280, 1289 (Fed. Cir. 2012). That earlier decision cited yet an earlier decision which stated that the “lead compound” methodology is used “in general.” Esai Co. v. Dr. Reddy’s Labs., Ltd., 533 F. 3d 1353, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2008).

Irreconcilable Differences: Comparing the CAFC’s Finjan and ABS Global Decisions

If you’re a regular reader of IPWatchdog, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that two different U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC or Federal Circuit) panels recently issued inconsistent, irreconcilable opinions. But what just happened over the last month is particularly concerning. Specifically, within the span of six days, the Federal Circuit held that: “A computer” means one and only one computer when a subsequent claim element recites “the computer” (Finjan v. Sonicwall); and “A sample stream” means one or more sample streams when a subsequent claim element recites “the sample stream” (ABS Global v. Cytonome/ST).