Posts in Courts

CAFC Shoots Down Patentee’s Bid to Reclaim Deducted Patent Term

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Monday said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) properly deducted days from a patentee’s Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) under Supernus Pharms., Inc. v. Iancu because there were clear steps the applicant could have taken to conclude prosecution. Eurica Califorrniaa owns U.S. Patent 10,245,075 for a “Nondestructive means of ectopic pregnancy management.” Following a lengthy prosecution, the examiner made an amendment indicating minor additional changes to the claim language and issued a notice of allowance on December 11, 2018. Califorrniaa requested an additional interview on January 7, 2019, and included a new proposed amendment.

CAFC Delivers Win and Loss for Uniloc in Separate Precedential Rulings on Standing

In a precedential decision issued Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a district court decision that Uniloc USA, Inc., Uniloc Luxembourg, S.A. and Uniloc 2017 all lacked standing to sue Motorola and Blackboard for patent infringement because it was collaterally estopped by a previous decision in its case with Apple. But in a separate precedential ruling, the CAFC said Uniloc’s non-exclusive license with Fortress Credit Co, LLC was terminated by agreement prior to Uniloc’s patent suits against Google, eliminating Fortress’ ability to sublicense the patents-in-suit and maintaining standing for Uniloc.

Supreme Court Grants Two IP Cases, Including Amgen v. Sanofi on Enablement

The U.S. Supreme Court granted petitions for certiorari in two intellectual property cases Friday, one dealing with the limits of extraterritorial application of the Lanham Act and another asking the High Court to weigh in on whether “enablement” means a specification must enable those skilled in the art “to reach the full scope of claimed embodiments” without undue experimentation.

Jim Jordan Letter to Vidal on West Virginia v. EPA Could Implicate USPTO’s Section 101 Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines

On November 1, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters to several federal agency heads, including Kathi Vidal, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), asking those officials what their agencies had done to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency decided this June. While Jordan’s letter is clearly responding to political developments during the Biden Administration, West Virginia has garnered interest among some patent industry stakeholders responding to recent USPTO rulemaking surrounding subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Patent Filings Roundup: Old IP Edge Filings Explode; No New Discretionary Denials Again; Fortress-Backed DivX Rolls On

It was a return to form this week in the district courts, with 115 new patent filings (led by more than 40 new IP Edge complaints) to just 23 new Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings—the latter number being bolstered by a number of challenges to patents held by Raymond Anthony Joao subsidiary Beteiro, LLC by a conglomerate of gambling companies, including PointsBet USA, DraftKings, Inc., BetMGM, LLC, Hillside New Jersey LLC, and Entain Corporate Services Ltd. Micron filed another set of challenges against Katana Silicon Technologies patents, Ecobee challenged another Magnetar entity, Ollnova, which has brought suit on Internet of Things (IoT) related devices; and it was another week without any discretionary denials.

Amici Back Jump Rope Company in Supreme Court Case

Three amici filed briefs last week in Jump Rope System’s petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision upholding a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding of unpatentability. Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund and the Fair Inventing Fund filed briefs in support of the jump rope company while DivX filed in support of neither party .

Jump Rope Systems, the inventor of a novel jump rope system, is petitioning the Supreme Court to clarify “whether, as a matter of federal patent law, a determination of unpatentability by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes review proceeding, affirmed by the Federal Circuit, has a collateral estoppel effect on patent validity in a patent infringement lawsuit in federal district court.”

Federal Circuit Says Patent Incorporated by Reference Does Not Invalidate Finjan’s Asserted Patents

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today ruled in a precedential decision that the definition of a claim term in a patent incorporated by reference into the patents at issue does not dictate the definition of claims in the asserted patents. The CAFC thus reversed the district court’s claim construction and vacated and remanded its grant of summary judgment of invalidity based on indefiniteness.

CAFC Vacates Preliminary Injunctions Against Online Hoverboard Sellers

In two separate precedential opinions issued Friday, October 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) vacated two separate preliminary injunction orders granted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against hoverboard products alleged to infringe four design patents due to “substantive defects” in the court’s reasoning for granting the injunctions. Judges Dyk, Taranto and Stoll heard both appeals.

P.S., I Don’t Love You: UK Court Delivers Blow to Apple in FRAND Fight with Optis But Laments ‘Dysfunctional’ SEP Dispute System

The England and Wales Court of Appeal this morning said that Optis Cellular Technology is entitled to an injunction before a lower court has set fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for a license to Optis’ standard essential patents (SEPs) if Apple refuses to take a court-determined FRAND license. But in a post script to the ruling, Lord Justice Arnold said both Apple’s appeal and Optis’s cross-appeal “illustrate yet again the dysfunctional state of the current system for determining SEP/FRAND disputes” and that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and other standards development organizaitons (SDOs) should “make legally-enforceable arbitration of such disputes part of their IPR policies” to curb the problem.

Patent Filings Roundup: Another Slow Week in the Courts; Discretionary Denials Drop to Near-Zero in Q3

It was another surprisingly light week in patent filings, compared at least with recent memory—just 29 new suits and 17 new filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), all inter partes reviews (IPRs). The filings include a few challenges against patents asserted by the Fortress-funded Neo Wireless and Netlist, as well as a slew of filings by Apple against Mullin Industries, LLC. After a week’s respite there were five new IP Edge suits—not as many as usual, but still enough to represent almost a fifth of all suits filed this week.

Presenting the Evidence for Patent Eligibility Reform: Part IV – Uncertainty is Burdening Litigants and Courts, Threatening U.S. Competitiveness and National Security

The current unreliability of patent-eligibility law, documented thus far here, here and here, has also created undue burdens on litigants and the courts. In this final installment, we detail how the current unreliability burdens litigants and the courts and how it is a fundamental threat to U.S. competitiveness and national security. Patent infringers now routinely raise Section 101 as a defense, often merely as a strategy to complicate and prolong the litigation, rather than as a good-faith defense with a likelihood of success. For example, one analysis found that, from 2012 to 2014 (when Alice was decided), Section 101 was raised in just two Rule 12(b)(6) motions across the country each year. In the year after Alice, that number rose to 36 motions, and by 2019, accused infringers were filing over 100 such motions each year.

Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck Sue Folklorist Accusing Them of Stealing Lyrics to ‘Hobo Ben’ Poem

Johnny Depp and guitarist Jeff Beck filed a lawsuit last Friday against folklorist and SUNY Buffalo professor Bruce Jackson, who accused the pair of plagiarizing a song on their latest album, “18”. In two demand letters the folklorist sent in August, Jackson alleged that Depp and Beck infringed the copyright of the poem “Hobo Ben” by copying entire passages. However, in their lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, Depp and Beck’s lawyers argue that Jackson never owned the copyright to “Hobo Ben,” as it was “part of an oral tradition passed down for generations and performed by an unidentified individual.” Therefore, they are asking the judge for a declaration of noninfringement, so the pair can “preserve their rights, defend their good names, and protect their business and business relationships.”

Michel Calls Out CAFC for ‘Tremendous Failure’ to Provide Clarity on Eligibility Law

During IPWatchdog’s Life Sciences Masters 2022 today, Retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Paul Michel said a lot could be fixed by the CAFC itself with respect to patent eligibility law if it would just go en banc more often. “By my recollection the Federal Circuit hasn’t gone en banc on a major patent case in a decade,” Michel said. “And yet, all CAFC judges are on record saying that 101 law is a total mess and needs to be fixed.” Michel was speaking on a panel moderated by Laura Smalley of program sponsor, Harris Beach, and including Mike Cottler of biosimilars company Alvotech and Tom Stoll of Genentech. The panelists were discussing the effect of U.S. patent eligibility law on the life sciences industry, including the potential impact of current efforts to reform patent eligibility law, such as Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) Patent Eligibility Restoration Act. While Michel said he believes it’s ultimately Congress’ job to make the kind of policy judgments the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit have been making in this sphere, there is still a lot more the Federal Circuit could be doing to help the situation

How the Unified Patent Court Will Shake Up the Landscape of Patent Courts Worldwide

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) plans to open for business on April 1, 2023. Its likely place among the world’s preeminent patent courts can be inferred, at least in part, from the territorial and subject matter jurisdiction of this novel court. In Europe, several courts enjoy established reputations for patent litigation, notably in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland and Italy. These courts, as well as the European Patent Office (EPO), which also enjoys a strong reputation for its case law, are the preferred venues of plaintiffs for enforcing or seeking to invalidate European patents. Due to the size and economic weight of the region, the importance of European patents, and the bench of experienced patent judges and practitioners, Europe will without doubt continue to attract a substantial share of patent litigation worldwide.

What Vifor v. CCI Could Mean for the Intersection of Patent and Antitrust Laws in India

Patent laws and antitrust laws (known as competition laws or anti-competitive laws in other jurisdictions), may seem antithetical to each other at first glance. Antitrust law is concerned with ensuring the existence of a free and fair market by promoting fair competition practices and discouraging monopolies, which often stagnate business innovation. In contrast, patent law grants inventors a limited period of exclusivity in exchange for disclosing their invention- i.e., a monopoly of sorts. These opposing objectives may not, however, be quite as conflicting as they initially appear to be. Both of these laws aim to balance individual interests with the greater public interest. In the July 2022 case of Vifor International Ltd. v. CCI, we see this intersection of patent and competition laws in India. The case highlights how these laws can exist in tandem and provide relief to the aggrieved.