Posts in Patents

Patent Durability: Building a Better Fence

At the very end of the movie “The Current War,” Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who played Thomas Edison, bumps into Michael Shannon, the actor who played George Westinghouse. The two had battled for years over implementations of their respective electric current systems into society, with Westinghouse winning in the end. This particular meeting probably never took place, but the conversation in the movie was rather interesting. 

Groups on Both Sides Slam USTR Support for Delaying IP Waiver Extension Pending ITC Investigation

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) this morning announced support for delaying the deadline to decide whether to extend a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to diagnostics and therapeutics. The USTR also said it has asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) “to launch an investigation into COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics and provide information on market dynamics to help inform the discussion around supply and demand, price points, the relationship between testing and treating, and production and access.”

Wi-Fi 6: A Critical Wireless Communication Technology

The latest mainstream version of the ubiquitous Wi-Fi standard, known as IEEE 802.11ax or “Wi-Fi 6,” offers substantial technological improvements over traditional Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6’s immediate predecessor—Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11ac). In particular, Wi-Fi 6 offers faster performance, lower power consumption, and better battery life, all while enabling reduced network congestion and latency. These substantial improvements made over even the immediate predecessor in Wi-Fi technology are made possible by several key technological advances. Wi-Fi 6 has enjoyed good timing as well—its benefits are valuable and necessary improvements as consumers and enterprises increasingly look for high-speed connectivity across a wide and ever broadening array of devices and uses, including the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), and autonomous vehicles.

Supreme Court Denies Centripetal’s Petition Asking for Clarification on Judicial Recusal Statue

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in Centripetal Networks v. Cisco Systems, Inc., a case that asked the Court to consider the question “[w]hether placing stock in a blind trust satisfies [28 U.S.C.] §455(f) and, if not, whether…[it] constitutes harmless error under Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847 (1988).” James Edwards, a consultant to Centripetal and to amici Eagle Forum ELDF and Committee for Justice, as well as head of amicus, Conservatives for Property Rights, wrote on IPWatchdog last week that Centripetal and other amici hoped the High Court would take the case to clarify the judicial recusal statute. The Federal Circuit’s June 2022 ruling “cast doubt upon the judiciary’s impartiality and [risks] public confidence in the judicial system,” Edwards wrote, summarizing the petitioner’s argument.

Practical Tips for Writing Ex Parte Appeal Briefs

When it comes to ex parte appeals, the kid gloves come off. It’s always nice to be easy-going with the examiner when working directly with that person, but if an impasse is reached and you need to appeal, then there’s no reason to go easy anymore. Don’t be disrespectful, but it’s okay to be rigorous and articulate. With that in mind, below are a few practical tips for writing an appeal brief to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). None of them are meant to serve as a magic bullet but they might help you get a leg up. And course, you need to have a decent case to appeal in the first place or nothing I say below is going to help very much.

Considerations in Divided Infringement Based on Recent Case Law

Divided patent infringement—also called “joint infringement”—is a doctrine plaintiffs can use to allege infringement where more than one party may have participated in a patent’s claimed steps. While the fundamental rules here have been set since 2015, a few recent district court cases set out some new considerations for both plaintiffs and defendants. A handful of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decisions have been instrumental in shaping this area of law. The Akamai v. Limelight Networks case clarified that a single entity can be found liable for infringement if it “directs or controls” another’s action or forms a joint enterprise. It also created a new test for finding joint infringement, if an entity conditions participation or receipt of a benefit on performance of the patented method, and controls the manner and timing of the performance. Later cases Eli Lilly & Company v. Teva Parenteral Medicines and Travel Sentry v. Tropp clarified how this “conditions or benefits” test applies in the context of pharmaceutical and mechanical method patents.

Former Commerce, USPTO Heads Push for U.S. to Lead Opposition to Extending WTO’s COVID IP Waiver

In a webinar hosted today by the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP), the organization’s founders, Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, both former Directors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), spoke with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, about the increased skepticism surrounding a plan to extend the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. According to Kappos, while World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries were supposed to decide on December 17 whether to extend the waiver, “given the rising opposition and other countries starting to raise their hands” with questions, “it’s seeming likely the WTO will defer its decision until the New Year.”

Patent Experts Urge Kanter to Reject Calls to Scrap Avanci Business Review Letter

A group of 25 experts in intellectual property law sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Jonathan Kanter today in support of a business review letter that the group said, “represented a legally sound and evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law to innovative commercial institutions.” The letter is also a response to an earlier letter sent to Kanter on October 17, 2022, by 28 former government enforcement officials, professors, and public interest advocates that urged the AAG to reconsider the business review letter. The Avanci business review letter was published by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice on July 28, 2020. In the letter, the DOJ said that Avanci’s licensing platform, which plans to license patent claims declared essential to implement 5G in cars, did not harm competition in the industry. Business review letters represent guidance by the DOJ to inform businesses how to best coordinate their practices to ensure they don’t violate antitrust laws.

Federal Circuit: District Court Properly Struck Expert Testimony that Failed to Apply Agreed-Upon Claim Construction

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential opinion affirming a district court order that struck parts of an infringement expert report and also granted summary judgment of non-infringement to Valve Corporation. The CAFC held that it is proper to strike expert testimony that did not rely on the agreed upon claim construction adopted by the district court. Treehouse Avatar, LLC owns U.S. Patent 8,180,858, which relates to a method of presenting data based on choices made by users with respect to characters in a network site, such as choosing clothing and hairstyles for the characters. The case turned on the meaning of “character-enabled (CE) network sites” (“CE limitation”) in the claims, which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had construed in an earlier inter partes review (IPR) proceeding to mean “a network location, other than a user device, operating under control of a site program to present a character, object, or scene to a user interface.”

SCOTUS to Consider Granting Centripetal’s Cert Petition in Patent Infringement Qua Judicial Recusal Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will this Friday, December 2, consider whether to grant certiorari in the case of Centripetal Networks Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc. What began as a patent infringement case has swerved into judicial ethics waters, due to the ruling of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The cert decision holds significant consequences, particularly for patent owners and inventors who find themselves the target of patent infringement, sue to assert their patent rights, and whom patent infringers then pull into a litigation vortex between federal courts and administrative tribunals at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Answering the Question, ‘What is the Conservative View of Patent Rights?’

Joe Matal, the former Acting Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), recently posed as a question to those sponsoring H.R. 5874, the Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act (RALIA): “What is the ‘conservative’ position on patents and other intellectual property?” It is an interesting question. What is it about property that makes it property? That’s not a liberal or conservative, or a Democratic or Republican question. Property rights are something everyone learns about early in life when your older sibling grabs your teddy bear and takes it away from you. Property rights are innate in humans. Just about everyone would proffer a similar definition: that’s mine and you can’t take it away – at least not without a fight.

Juno Asks Supreme Court to Reconsider Denial of Petition on Section 112 Question in Light of Amgen Review

Following the denial of Juno Therapeutics’ petition to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, Juno last week petitioned the High Court for rehearing, arguing that the grant of certiorari in Amgen v. Sanofi warrants reconsideration. Juno explained that the issues presented in the Amgen case “are tightly related, and the outcome in Amgen is likely to at least affect, if not be outcome-determinative of, this case.” Juno is asking that the Court grant the petition for rehearing, vacate the denial of certiorari, and hold the case pending the outcome in Amgen.

US Inventor Arguments for Opposing the Pride in Patent Ownership Act Fall Short on the Merits

Last September, a bipartisan pair of Senators introduced the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, which, if passed, would add greatly-needed transparency to our patent system. The legislation would require patent owners to disclose their identity to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when a patent issues and whenever it changes hands so that members of the public have easy access to information about who the true owners of patents are. Right now, inventors, businesses, and other interested members of the public often have to undertake time consuming and expensive litigation to determine who owns a patent. As Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) rightly pointed out when introducing the legislation, “Patents provide a limited term monopoly against the public, and it’s in the public’s interest and benefit to know who owns that monopoly.”

Are Your IP License Agreements Undervalued? What to Consider Before Starting a Forensic Royalty Audit

Companies that license intellectual property may not realize they are leaving money on the table in royalty underpayments and calculation errors made by their licensees. Forensic royalty audits can identify issues and correct royalty underpayments and IP valuations, but there are many aspects, not just financial, to consider. Beyond the costs and benefits associated with conducting a royalty audit, it’s also important to understand why and how licensees underreport and underpay royalties, and the key terms to scrutinize in your licensing agreement.

CAFC Says Burden of Reexamination Following Denied IPR Does Not Warrant Mandamus Relief

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) last week denied a petition requesting mandamus relief to vacate the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) grant of a request for ex parte reexamination of Sound View Innovations’ U.S. Patent No. 6,708,213 by DISH Network LLC. The ‘213 patent covers a “Method for Streaming Multimedia Information Over Public Networks.” DISH originally petitioned the USPTO for inter partes review (IPR) of claim 16 of the ‘213 patent on the ground that it was anticipated and/or obvious based on two prior art references called Sen and Geagen.