Posts in Patents

Patent Office Extends After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0

Earlier today the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) would be extended until September 30, 2019. The goal of the AFCP 2.0 is to reduce pendency by reducing the number of RCEs and encouraging increased collaboration between the applicant and the examiner to effectively advance the prosecution of the application.

IPR Outcomes of Orange Book Patents and its Effect on Hatch-Waxman Litigation

Out of the 230 Orange Book patents challenged in IPR proceedings, 90.4% (208) of these patents were also challenged in Hatch-Waxman litigation perhaps due to the lucrative 180-day exclusivity incentive available to the first generic manufacturer to file a paragraph IV challenge when the Orange Book drug patent is successfully invalidated in a subsequent district court proceeding. Therefore, the IPR process has provided generic manufacturers a dual track option for challenging Orange Book patents by initiating Hatch-Waxman litigation and also pursuing IPRs. Overall, because the rate of settlement in IPRs is much lower than in Hatch-Waxman litigation, both generic manufacturers and patent owners obtain more favorable final decisions in IPRs as compared to their Hatch-Waxman litigation outcomes.

The Patent Bar Exam: Everything You Need to Know

The patent bar exam is a multiple-choice examination made up of 100 questions. You will be given 3 hours to complete the first 50 questions and another 3 hours to complete the second 50 questions. The exam is on-demand and can be taken any time. The patent bar exam has recently been updated effective August 16, 2018, and the exam can be expected to be updated every year at least once. Thus, the patent bar exam has become a moving target. While it does not wildly shift overnight, or change in unannounced ways, gone are the days the exam would remain the same for many years.

Capella Photonics Challenges Federal Circuit Practice of Judgments Without Opinions

Capella Photonics, Inc. has filed a petition for certiorari arguing that the Federal Circuit’s practice of issuing judgments without opinion pursuant to Federal Circuit Rule 36 in appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board violates 35 U.S.C. § 144, which provides that the Federal Circuit “shall issue . . . its mandate and opinion” to the PTO in such appeals. 

Can the Federal Circuit Refuse an Appeal by a Non-defendant Petitioner in an IPR?

JTEKT Corp. v. GKN Automotive Ltd., No. 2017-1828 (Fed. Cir. 2018) raises the important question of whether the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit can refuse to hear an appeal by a non-defendant petitioner from an adverse final written decision in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding, on the basis of a lack of a patent-inflicted injury-in-fact, when Congress has statutorily created the right for “dissatisfied” parties to appeal to the Federal Circuit.

Entire market rule only when infringed feature constitutes sole basis for consumer demand

To base its damages theory on the entire market value rule, Power Integrations bore the burden of proving “the patented feature is the sole driver of customer demand or substantially creates the value of the component parts.” Both parties, however, agreed that the accused products contained other valuable non-infringing features. Nevertheless, Power Integrations presented no evidence about the effect of these other non-infringing features on consumer demand or product value. Accordingly, the Court held that the evidence submitted by Power Integrations was insufficient to invoke the entire market value rule, and vacated the award of damages, and remanded for a new trial.

CAFC Reverses Nonobviousness Ruling in IPR as Board Failed to Apply Burden-Shifting Standard

The Federal Circuit recently reversed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) inter partes review decision on nonobviousness, holding that the Board erred when it did not require Synvina, the patent owner, to come forward with evidence of nonobviousness (e.g., teaching away) once DuPont, the petitioner, established the prior art disclosed an overlapping range for a claimed result-effective variable. See…

Intellectual Property Considerations and Guidance for Start-Ups: Patents

Intellectual property probably isn’t high on the to-do list for most new nonprofits and business start-ups. There’s plenty enough to do with setting up an organization, paying bills, and serving customers and clients. However, intellectual property is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Companies and organizations that don’t protect their IP can risk losing hard-earned work and concepts. Also, companies can risk liability if they violate the IP rights of others, even unknowingly or by accident. Patents provide inventors the right to exclude others from using the technologies covered by the patent for a limited time.  In exchange for exclusivity, inventors must disclose how to make and use the invention.  An inventor can apply for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), as well as other intellectual property offices around the world.

Flying Cars, Drone Taxis and Other Futuristic Personal Transportation

While many of us long for the days to come in which our sedans or SUVs can suddenly sprout wings, taking us far away from congestive traffic blocking up interstate highways, there have been some developments in recent years bringing us closer to the reality of drone taxis or personal unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as a replacement for cars. Such technologies were the focus of discussion at the recent House Aviation Subcommittee hearing on new aircraft technologies. Flying cars and their development is not limited to the United States as recent reports indicate that several Japanese companies are working on a project roadmap for flying car development that will be released by the end of this year. In late August, Uber announced that it was looking into the potential of developing test sites for flying cars in five countries outside of the U.S. With the future of flying vehicles for personal transportation coming into more focus, we wanted to explore filings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see the current state of flying car technologies, both in the patent grants being issued by the UPSTO as well as in the patent applications being filed at the agency.

An Abdication of Collective Responsibility by the Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit has often demanded some technical advantage under § 101 when none is required by U.S. patent law. The Federal Circuit has also made § 101 more burdensome, unpredictable and subjective than an obviousness determination under § 103, and § 101 is supposed to be a threshold test that acts to weed out only the most egregious attempts to patent fundamental principles. § 101 was never meant to weed out whole new areas of technology, particularly not nascent technologies. But that is exactly what is happening and the Court that has been charged to make sense of it all, the Federal Circuit, seems to be abdicating its collective responsibility by refusing to settle on a repeatable test that results in predictable outcomes.

PTAB Upholds Kamatani Cloud Patent Challenged by Unified Patents

Last week the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) entered a final written decision terminating an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding that had challenged a patent owned by technology licensing company Kamatani Cloud. According to the PTAB, petitioner Unified Patents failed to show by a preponderance of evidence that any of the challenged claims of the patent were invalid on obviousness ground under 35 U.S.C. § 103. “We are delighted with the PTAB’s decision in this matter,” Shanahan said. “The Kamatani Cloud patent survived the validity challenge presented by Unified Patents and its beneficiary members with all 41 claims emerging intact.”

Patented Innovations Create the Future

If you ever want a pick-me-up, flip through the first 50 pages of any recent Official Gazette from the PTO. Just look at what is issuing week-to-week. Astounding. The scope and creativity revealed in those pages is impressive. Simply put: These pages reveal the future; and, the owners of that future. Everything you rely on today, i.e., your phone, your monitor, your car, your pharma, your food prep and delivery, your mattress, your digital existence, etc., was conjured up and protected a decade back, when you were doing something else.  The folks doing the filing and protecting weren’t thinking about what the documents were doing, they’re too close to it for it to be revealed. This revelation, however, is easily understood once an observer is removed a little from the detail. You can see the shadow of the future before it emerges into view.

What is Director Iancu Proposing the USPTO do for §101 Analysis?

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu made some interesting remarks yesterday at the Intellectual Property Owners Association Annual Meeting in Chicago on September 24, 2018 regarding a proposal for new guidance on how the USPTO would approach determination of subject matter eligibility under §101. In the IPO meeting’s (written) remarks, Dir. Iancu speaks at length about the current confusion in the Mayo/Alice framework and how “significantly more work needs to be done, especially on the ‘abstract idea’ exception.” Director Iancu asserted that “Currently, we’re actively looking for ways to simplify the eligibility determination for our examiners through forward-looking guidance. Through our administration of the patent laws, which we are charged to execute, the USPTO can lead, not just react to, every new case the courts issue.”

A Shot at Patents Misses the Mark and New Study Reinforces Need to Examine Federal Tech Transfer

Academic institutions and federal labs receive approximately the same amount of  R&D funding from the government, although universities have more money overall because of contributions from industry, states and other sources.  Still, the disparities in their licensing impact reinforces the implication from Sec. Ross that a top to bottom review of the federal lab tech transfer system is sorely needed.

Are all U.S. Patent Claims Invalid?

Nobel Biocare Srvcs. AG v. Instradent USA, Inc. makes one wonder whether all U.S. patents are invalid, or will eventually become invalid. This case demonstrates that decisions affirming the validity of patent claims by the Federal Circuit are nothing more than advisory opinions. Decisions affirming validity of patent claims are merely a preliminary round in a fight that will last until the patent claims are all finally invalidated.