Posts in Courts

CAFC Says USPTO Arguments for Rejecting Google Patent Application Lack Support in Record

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in a precedential decision today vacated a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding that certain claims of Google, LLC’s U.S. Patent Application No. 14/628,093 were obvious. The CAFC opinion, authored by Chief Judge Moore, said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) arguments on appeal “cannot sustain the Board’s decision below because they do not reflect the reasoning or findings the Board actually invoked.” Google’s patent application has to do with methods for filtering the results of an internet search query such that only age-appropriate results for a user are displayed. At issue were two prior art references: Parthasarathy, which “discloses methods of filtering search results by comparing a “search-query-intent score” to a predetermined safety threshold” and Rose, which is titled “System and Method for Improving the Ranking of Information Retrieval Results for Short Queries.”

This Year is Poised to Be a Landmark One for Tattoo Copyright Litigation

Tattoos have been around for millennia, but their popularity is increasing significantly. According to 2021 data, roughly 13% of Baby Boomers had at least one tattoo, compared to 32% of Generation X and 41% of Millennials. Other than disagreements about the appropriateness of visible tattoos in certain workplaces, tattoos generally cause few headaches for their owners, and certainly not legal headaches. That may no longer be the case, however, as tattoos become more common among celebrities and other high-profile individuals whose likenesses are commonly portrayed in digital media. While there has been relatively little litigation concerning tattoo copyrights, 2023 could be the year that changes.

Amici Filings in Amgen Encourage the Supreme Court to Correct the Federal Circuit’s ‘Unworkable’ Enablement Standard

On January 3, a total of 14 amicus briefs and one motion for leave to participate in oral argument were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on the question presented by Amgen Inc. v. Sanofi, on which the Supreme Court granted certiorari this past November. While organizations representing the most powerful interests in the technology industry supported the Federal Circuit’s holding that Amgen’s patent claims were invalid for lack of enablement, a wide swath of patent stakeholders are urging the Supreme Court to correct the enablement standard to continue the encouragement of genus patent claims. Below is a collection of arguments raised by several of the recent amicus filings from earlier this week.

Federal Circuit Rejects More Mandamus Petitions Seeking to Sidestep Delaware Court’s Standing Orders

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Wednesday issued two orders denying mandamus relief for petitioners seeking to end the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware’s “judicial inquisition” concerning disclosure of their owners and third-party litigation funders. Chief Judge Colm Connolly’s standing orders on initial disclosures in patent litigation cases have been the subject of much controversy and are presently being appealed at the CAFC in a separate case. They require up front disclosures from companies in patent cases assigned to Connolly of 1) “the name of every owner, member, and partner of the party, proceeding up the chain of ownership until the name of every individual and corporation with a direct or indirect interest in the party has been identified”; and 2) the identity of any third-party litigation funders.

Juno v. Kite: A Rare Opportunity for the Supreme Court to Grant Rehearing

The patent world is trained on the upcoming Supreme Court Amgen v. Sanofi case. That case is the first time in over 75 years that the Supreme Court is evaluating the meaning and scope of the enablement requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112. The case offers the Court an opportunity to correct a negative trend in enablement law that has made it more difficult to protect groundbreaking, pioneering inventions. Waiting in the wings, however, is an equally important Section 112 case: . There, the petitioner sought review on whether “the ‘written description of the invention’ [is] to be measured by the statutory standard of ‘in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the same.’” As is apparent, Juno’s written description issue is highly intertwined with the Section 112 enablement issue in Amgen v. Sanofi.

In Plastipak Decision, CAFC Fails to Resolve Precedential Inconsistency in Inventorship Determination

In Plastipak Packaging Inc. v. Premium Waters Inc., Appeal No. 2021-2244, decided December 19, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) newest judge threw a curveball on the topic of inventorship. Judge Leonard Stark wrote the precedential opinion, joined by Judges Newman and Stoll, and ultimately reversed and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Premium Waters, Inc. Plastipak’s 12 patents in suit generally had to deal with unfinished plastic bottles as used during manufacturing.

ITC Year in Review: From New ALJs to the Effects of Global Crises, 2022 was an Exciting Time for the Commission

This year was a busy one for the International Trade Commission (ITC) compared to the last few years. As of December 15, 2022, there were 56 complaints filed, compared to 50 in all of 2021. The Commission also instituted more investigations in 2022 than 2021 and has a higher number of active cases compared to last year, according to Docket Navigator as of December 7, 2022. With in-person hearings resuming, it is an exciting time at the ITC. And with the evolving landscape of venue jurisprudence in the district courts, we expect the growth to continue into 2023. This article highlights a few new developments at the ITC over the past year, as well as several important decisions.

The Year in Copyright: 2022 Gives Creators Hope for the Future

The Constitution empowers Congress to enact federal copyright laws because the Founders recognized that the best way to advance the public interest is by enabling creators to pursue their own private interests. The copyright system secures uniform property rights to creators across the nation as a reward for their productive labors and as incentive for them to profit in the marketplace. The incredible selection of creative works available to consumers today, in terms of quantity and quality, shows that copyright law is working well. Of course, that doesn’t stop the detractors from throwing as many monkey wrenches as they can. However, looking back over this past year, there’s good reason to think that the naysayers are becoming less relevant. There’s cause to be hopeful that the plight of all creators, big and small, is improving and will continue to get better in the years to come.

Key U.S. Supreme Court Developments in 2022 and Outlook for 2023

It’s that time again. As 2022 has come and (almost) gone, it’s time to look back at the exciting grants and surprising denials of certiorari petitions involving patent and trademark matters by the Supreme Court of the United States, and what to look forward to from the Court in 2023. In 2022 the Supreme Court docket was relatively light on intellectual property matters. After numerous denials of some highly anticipated patent and trademark cases, the Court kept us in suspense by granting certiorari in new cases in November 2022.

Top Federal Circuit Decisions of 2022 That No One Told You About

[To the tune of Rudolph]: You know Mayo and Markman and Alice and Fintiv; Juno and Axle (American) and Amgen and Teva. But do you recall … the handful of Federal Circuit decisions that got little press but may be important to your practice, at all? Didn’t think so. (Although this may be exaggerated—it depends on how much you read and what you remember from it.) Neither did I, so I searched through the last year of precedential U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit opinions to find those that may have important nuggets in them, even though they weren’t high-profile or didn’t involve billions in damages.

The Top U.S. FRAND / RAND Licensing Developments of 2022: Policy Statements, Patent Pools and IEEE Changes

While 2022 was somewhat less eventful than 2021 in terms of significant developments in fair/reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND/RAND) licensing occurring in the United States, the past year still did not disappoint and underscores the continued and growing interest from government in the standards related patents space. In 2022, the most progress was made on matters and issues we wrote about last year: i.e. government policy developments, Continental v. Avanci, the IEEE’s standards-related Patent Policy, and Ericsson v. Apple / Apple v. Ericsson  (see here and here)

Trademarks in 2022: Recounting the Most High-Profile Trademark Developments of the Year

This year saw an increased focus on the extraterritorial application of the Lanham Act, setting up a showdown at the Supreme Court in 2023. The last year also saw cases pressing the intersection of the Lanham Act with the First Amendment and artistic expression—both in the physical world and in the metaverse—and some rulings that will help clarify the likelihood of confusion analysis in various circuits.
As 2022 comes to an end, we look forward to what 2023 has in store.

Five Patent Highlights from Europe in 2022

The long-awaited introduction of the Unitary Patent and UPC should provide much interest in 2023, with attention likely to focus on the early numbers of applications for unitary effect, as well as the number of European patents opted out and the volume and nature of cases brought before the Court. At the EPO, decisions are expected from the Enlarged Board of Appeal in Case G 2/21, which concerns plausibility and post-published evidence, and Cases G 1/22 and G 2/22, concerning entitlement to priority. Oral proceedings in G 2/21 were held on 24 November. And the UK Supreme Court should hear the DABUS case and deliver its judgment in 2023.

AI Year in Review: A Busy 2022 for AI and IP Promises Even More in 2023

In general, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies has the potential to impact society in many ways. These technologies can automate tasks and make them more efficient, which can lead to job displacement and other economic impacts. They can also be used to make decisions that affect people’s lives, such as in the criminal justice system or in hiring, which raises ethical concerns. Additionally, the development and use of AI and machine learning technologies can raise issues related to privacy and security. What could be a more fitting way to open a 2022 year-in-review article on AI and machine learning than by asking OpenAI’s newly beta-released ChatGPT tool to contribute? The above paragraph was generated using ChatGPT’s conversational, chat-based dialog input. The initial request of ChatGPT was the prompt: “Explain the social impacts of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies over the past year.”

CAFC Grants Mandamus for Amazon, Ordering Albright to Transfer to Colorado

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today granted Amazon, Inc.’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking that Judge Alan Albright of the Western District of Texas be directed to sever claims brought by Flygrip, Inc. against it from claims made against another defendant and to transfer the case to a Colorado district court. Flygrip sued Amazon for direct and indirect patent infringement based on resale on Amazon’s platform of handheld-device cases manufactured by PopSockets, Otter Products and Quest USA Corp. PopSockets and Otter are headquartered in Colorado, so Amazon moved to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.