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Butch Laker

is a 2L student at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law. He is also the Managing Director for the Patent Law Forum on campus. Before law school, he attended Purdue University, where he majored in Physics. He hopes to combine his passions for science and law as he pursues a career in patent law.

Recent Articles by Butch Laker

CAFC Dismisses LG’s Interlocutory Appeal as Untimely

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), with Judge Hughes writing for the court, dismissed defendant-appellant LG Electronics Inc. and LG Electronics U.S.A. Inc.’s (collectively, ‘LG’) request for interlocutory review due to lack of jurisdiction; the court said LG had failed to file within 30 days of the date at which the liability issues became final, resulting in an untimely appeal. In 2014, Mondis Technology, Ltd. (“Limited”) sued defendants for patent infringement over U.S. Patent No. 7,475,180(“the ‘180 patent”), which claims a “display unit configured to receive video signals from an external video source.” The district court granted Limited leave to join other plaintiffs, namely, Hitachi Maxell, LTD., NKA Maxell Holdings, LTD., Maxell, LTD., (collectively ‘Hitachi’) to address LG’s pretrial standing challenge. A jury trial in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey found LG infringed claims 14 and 15 of the ‘180 patent, the claims weren’t invalid, and the infringement was willful. The jury then awarded plaintiffs $45 million in damages. 

CAFC Affirms District Court Ruling for Amazon on Claim Construction

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s final judgment of noninfringement of SpeedTrack’s (Plaintiff-Appellant) patent U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 (the ‘360 patent). SpeedTrack sued online retailers AMAZON.COM, BESTBUY.COM, LLC, OFFICEMAX, INC., MACY’S, INC., MACYS.COM, LLC and many others for infringement of its category-based filing system. The ultimate decision weighed on the district court’s construction of claims and whether or not the ‘360 patent had a hierarchical structure. The district court construed the claims to not have a hierarchical structure and determined that defendants-cross-appellants did not infringe. The CAFC, with Judge Prost writing for the court, agreed.

USPTO Proposed Rule Outlines Process for New Ex Parte Trademark Proceedings on Nonuse and Other Changes Under Trademark Modernization Act

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Changes To Implement Provisions of the Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) of 2020.” The Office is seeking input on the proposal, which would revise the rules in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 2 and 7, and will be holding public roundtables to explain the amendments and answer questions. Here are some of the key proposed changes.

Federal Circuit Affirms Jury Verdict Invalidating Pacific Biosciences Patents

Yesterday, the CAFC affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where a jury found Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc. and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Ltd. (collectively, Oxford) infringed all claims of Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.’s (PacBio) patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,546,400 (the ‘400 patent) and 9,772,323 (the ‘323 patent), but also found the patents invalid for lack of enablement under 35 U.S.C. §112. The district court denied PacBio’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) and denied their request for a new trial due to Oxford’s alleged improper remarks made during opening, related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Former Employee Does Not Have to Assign Inventions to Covidien, First Circuit Says

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a district court ruling denying a request for declaratory judgment by Covidien LP and Covidien Holding Inc. (collectively, “Covidien”) against appellee Brady Esch, a former employee who assigned a medical device patent to a company he founded. After a nine-day trial, the jury awarded Covidien nearly $800,000, finding Esch incurred in a breach of confidential information. Covidien subsequently moved for a declaratory judgment asking the court to require Esch to assign later inventions. The district court denied this request. The First Circuit was tasked with determining whether the district court abused its discretion. Finding it did not, they affirmed.

Parties’ Names Should Generally be Disclosed to the Public, Says CAFC

On March 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Middle District of Florida’s decision directing the clerk to unseal the amended complaint of Plaintiff DePuy Synthes Products, Inc., DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. (Collectively Depuy), deciding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ensuring public access to court documents (Depuy v. Veterinary Orthopedic Implants). The CAFC agreed with the district court that VOI “did not establish that it took reasonable measures to protect the Manufacturer Identity.” VOI didn’t enter into an agreement to keep the relationship confidential, but the lack of express agreement is not dispositive of the issue. Where an express agreement doesn’t exist, there must be some other indicia that both parties wanted to maintain a confidential relationship.

PTAB Delivers Win for Apple in IPR on CDMA Patent

In IPR 2018-01472, brought by Apple Inc., HTC Corporation, HTC America, Inc., and ZTE (USA) Inc. (Apple), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) last week determined all challenged claims of INVT SPE LLC’s (INVT) Patent No. 6,466,563 to be unpatentable as obvious. The ‘563 patent is titled “CDMA [Code Division Multiple Access] Mobile Station and CDMA Transmission Method” and was issued on October 15, 2002. The patent describes an addition of burst data to the end of a transmission “allow[ing] synchronization with the base station apparatus to be maintained,” thus “making it possible to restart communication immediately.” The transmission interval control circuit also “controls the transmission interval of burst data to N times one slot (N: a natural number) at the end of transmission” to conserve power consumption.

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Decision for CBS in Light of PTAB Invalidation

Last Friday, the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court decision that found for the CBS Corporation in its defense against infringement and invalidity as to three claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504 owned by Personal Audio, LLC. While the jury initially found for Personal Audio, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) later invalidated the ‘504 patent and the district court ultimately entered final judgment for CBS. The ‘504 patent describes a system for organizing audio files, “by subject matter, into ‘program segments.’ The patent utilizes a “session schedule,” which allows a user to navigate through the schedule by skipping the remainder of a segment, restarting a segment, listening to bookmarked “highlight passages,” or switching over to a “cross-referenced position” in another segment.