Posts in Patents

ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of ResMed’s Sleep Apnea Masks

On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice of institution of a Section 337 patent infringement investigation requested by New Zealand-based appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel against San Diego, CA-based medical equipment firm ResMed. The ITC instituted the Section 337 investigation after Fisher & Paykel alleged that certain sleep apnea products imported for sale by ResMed infringe upon U.S. patents held by the New Zealand firm.

Conjecture and Speculation in Patent Obviousness: Trading Logic for Hindsight

Hindsight bias, the phenomenon that things seem more predictable and obvious after they have occurred, is one of the most widely-studied “decision traps” in psychology… Patent litigation plays right into such human limitations, which affect judges and jurors alike. Patents are often litigated many years after the invention was made, and very often those who are accused of patent infringement will argue that the invention was obvious at the time it was made and a patent was applied for… And we accept a surprising amount of other conjecture in this analysis. For example, judges and jurors are told about a contemporaneous hypothetical person that – despite having only ordinary skill in the relevant technology – would have had super-human knowledge of all then-existing technical information, was fluent in every language under the sun, and would have done insane things to access information sources.

USPTO Publishes Final Rule Adopting Phillips Standard at PTAB

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a final rule in the Federal Register changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method (CBM) review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). This final rule replaces the broadest reasonable interpretation standard the USPTO has used to interpret claims since AIA administrative trial proceedings came online effective September 16, 2012 with the Phillips standard, which is the same claim construction standard used to construe patent claims in patent infringement litigation in federal district courts.

Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Comcast Highlights Attractiveness of Middle District of Florida for Patent Plaintiffs

On August 1st, Fort Myers, FL-based over-the-top (OTT) Internet television provider WhereverTV filed a suit alleging patent infringement against Philadephia, PA-based telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corporation. Despite the fact that Comcast is headquartered in Pennsylvania and the inventor listed on WhereverTV’s patent resides in Pennsylvania, the complaint was filed in the Middle District of Florida, a district which has been growing more attractive for parties filing patent infringement suits.

Protecting IP Builds Confidence and Encourages Investment in the Future

Protecting IP means securing a portion of a $1.2 trillion industry and the 29 million jobs created directly and indirectly by the mobile connectivity ecosystem. As companies like InterDigital contribute to finalizing the new 5G standard, actions by the Trump Administration to decrease IP theft from China, as well as new policies from the USPTO, are building confidence to encourage investment by U.S. companies that will lead to the development of exciting future technologies. Through smart policy-making and an understanding of the value of these technologies and the standardization process, the U.S. will continue to be a hub for innovation and economy will continue to grow stronger.

Patent Uncertainty: Real Ideas, Real People, Real Harm

Today, the patent system is a very fluid situation due to recent legislation and court decisions that have caused considerable uncertainty and legal maneuvering.  As a first-time inventor, I had no idea as to the legal battle in the background regarding what ideas should receive a patent… I am in appeal with the United States Patent and Trademark Office regarding whether my invention is routine, conventional or well understood.  And that labeling of my invention as being routine, conventional or well understood is in view of submitted evidence on the official record that no one in my field of technology uses my claimed methods, either individually or as a combination. Clearly, there is a problem with the patent system in the United States of America.

Abstractness is not the malleable concept the Supreme Court thinks

If the claim is directed to an abstract idea, then abstractness is an essential property of the claimed subject matter as a whole. As such, a claim directed to an abstract idea cannot be transformed to possess non-abstractness by whether or not it embodies an inventive concept, since whether the inventive concept is inventive or not depends upon when the concept was conceived, which is an accidental property rather than an essential property of the claimed subject matter… Mayo may make sense for natural laws and physical phenomena but given the very different nature of abstract ideas the test logically falls apart when one thinks they can turn something that is by its fundamental nature abstract into something that is not abstract.

The Evolution of Antibody Patents

As the pharmaceutical industry continues to shift toward biologic-based drugs, including monoclonal antibodies, protecting the underlying technology has been and continues to be a priority for companies. As with any drug, patenting therapeutic monoclonal antibodies as early as possible in the drug development process is crucial to protect the underlying invention. In the early days of antibody discovery for therapeutic development, protection could be obtained with minimal disclosure of the actual antibody. But as the art and case law have evolved, companies now need far more data to obtain the broadest scope of protection. For that reason, it has become more of a challenge to determine the best time to file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After the America Invents Act (AIA), it is a race to the USPTO to be the first to claim your invention, but you may lack the requisite data to enable you to obtain patent protection in the end.

Federal Circuit Decision Erases $234 million Damages Awarded to WARF

The Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling reversing the district court’s denial of Apple Inc.’s (“Apple”) motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) after finding no reasonable juror could have found infringement based on the evidence presented during the liability phase of trial. The decision erased an awarded over $234 million in damages to Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The Court, however, affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment with respect to invalidity in favor of the patent owner.

A Journey Through the Chinese Patent System: The differences in how patent rights are treated

The trade dispute between the US and China started with a US accusation of intellectual property theft on the part of China.  Is China really “stealing” intellectual property?  I’m not so sure.  Perhaps the Chinese are stealing trade secrets, and if parties are engaged in such activities they should be punished, but there is a lot of taking that has been legitimized – even authorized – by the Congress and the Supreme Court in recent years.  U.S. patent law is today enabling foreign corporations, including Chinese corporations, to legitimately take intellectual property developed in the U.S.  That is not theft.  It’s just business.  And far more damage is being done to the U.S. as the result of legalized appropriation of patented innovations than could ever be done by the theft of trade secrets.

Federal Circuit: Attorneys Not Liable for Attorney’s Fees Where Law is Unsettled

A claim is entirely without color when it lacks any legal or factual basis.  Because of the relative paucity of § 101 cases between Alice and AlphaCap’s complaint, the law was unsettled.  The Federal Circuit noted that when the applicable law is unsettled, attorneys may not be sanctioned merely for making reasonable arguments for interpreting the law.  Further, the court found that Gutride presented a colorable argument that the claims were analogous to those in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com L.P., and therefore patent eligible under § 101.

CAFC: Hyatt APA Challenges Time-Barred and Based on Incorrect Statutory Interpretation

The Federal Circuit recently issued an opinion in a decades-longbattle over the microcomputer patent applications of Mr. Hyatt, the named inventor on more than 70 issued patents and approximately 400 pending patent applications. The Court ultimately rejected Mr. Hyatt’s challenges to Manual Patent Examining Procedure (“MPEP”) § 1207.04, allowing an examiner to reopen prosecution with a new ground of rejection instead of continuing an already filed appeal.

Weak Chinese Patent Applications and China’s Burgeoning Patent System

Bloomberg recently published an article providing data analysis on Chinese patent applications to claim that, while China receives more patent applications than any country, “most are worthless.” If you were trying to usher in a culture change, moving from no patent system just a few decades ago to a thriving and high functioning patent system, you would look to incentivize your own citizens and corporations to file patent applications. That is precisely what China has done and is continuing to do. Thus, the mantra about Chinese patent applications being worthless, or nothing of a concern because they are overwhelmingly only filed in China, completely misses the enormity of the change taking place in China, and why it bodes well for the Chinese moving forward.

Denying Patents on Applications of Discoveries Puts Public Health at Risk

After nine years of costly legal proceedings the United States Patent Office denied the patent by misapplying the law.  The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rubberstamped the Patent Office and issued an evasive non-precedential opinion—meaning this ruling does not apply to other cases.  The case is now appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. While I am frustrated with the Patent Office, and the Federal Circuit, the real problem is that the U.S. Supreme Court has given conflicting guidance on patent eligibility despite the clear and unambiguous terms of § 101.

Is the Presumption of Validity Dead in Substitute Claims Issued as a Result of Motions to Amend After PTAB Proceedings?

Since the Federal Circuit’s decision in Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal confirmed that the burden of persuasion on a the patentability of amended claims in a motion to amend in an inter partes review proceeding (and presumably other post issuance PTAB proceedings) is placed on the petitioner, the theoretical rationale for Section 282(a)’s presumption of validity is no longer present for such amended claims.  872 F.3d 1290 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (en banc).  In particular, there is no government agency that is tasked with performing the inquisitorial examination that gave rise to the original presumption.  How can there be a presumption that the government agent charged with examining the patent claims did his or her job, when there is no such person assigned to perform that job?