Posts Tagged: "Apple"

Federal Circuit Reins in Albright Again, Orders Quick Ruling on Apple’s Venue Transfer Motion

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today said in a precedential order that Judge Alan Albright’s Scheduling Order in a case between Aire Technology Limited and Apple, Inc. went too far in mandating additional substantive discovery and re-briefing that would result in nearly a year passing before the court rules on Apple’s venue transfer motion. Apple asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in April 2022 to transfer Aire’s patent infringement case against it to the Northern District of California. Apple filed declarations during venue discovery to support the need for transfer, including a request to supplement its motion with additional declarants just prior to the close of venue discovery, and offered to make the declarants available for deposition and to extend the transfer proceedings for a “reasonable” amount of time.

IP Practice Vlogs: Practical Exercise – Let’s Design Patent the AirPods!

In the latest episode of IP Practice Vlogs, we will explore design patents, which protect the ornamental features of a functional item. Apple’s AirPods are functional but have a distinctive look that is identifying of its brand and maker, making them a great subject. The first thing you do when patenting anything, including a design, is to decide the scope of your claim. In design patents, your scope is determined by what you claim, what you show and what you describe. Claimed features are depicted by solid lines. Dashed lines depict unclaimed features that provide environmental context for your claimed features that are in solid lines.

SEP Licensing is Not a Promise, It’s a Two-Way Street

“For 200 years, the world was getting along just fine without a policy statement on SEPs [standard essential patents],” said Andrei Iancu earlier this week at Patent Litigation Masters™ 2022, discussing Biden Administration attempts to revisit the 2019 SEP policy agreement among the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Department of Justice (DOJ). “Standard essential patents are patents too… the regular rule of law should apply.” Iancu, former USPTO Director, and current partner at Irell & Manella, went on to say that the real goal of those constantly chipping away at patent rights is simple: “Weaken patents so that the big entities can have freer reign to get bigger, to infringe patents in a less encumbered way.”

Ninth Circuit Says Copyright Suit Against AppleTV+ Shyamalan Series Can Proceed

On February 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s dismissal of a copyright suit filed against Apple Inc. and other defendants explaining that dismissal was improper at the pleading stage because reasonable minds could differ on the issue of substantial similarity. The suit was brought by Francesca Gregorini—writer, director, and producer of the film The Truth About Emanuel. She claimed that the first three episodes of Defendants’ AppleTV+ series, Servant, infringed her copyright. In May 2020, U.S. District Judge Walters dismissed Gregorini’s complaint on the ground that the works were not substantially similar as a matter of law. Gregorini appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Big Tech and China, Inc. Rejoice in DOJ Draft SEP Policy Statement and FTC Speech

Last summer, I lamented how the Department of Justice – Antitrust Division (DOJ), without Senate confirmed leadership, was hastily pushing through policies that augmented the already-enormous power of Big Tech and benefitted China’s interests. Similarly, I uncovered how the App Association, a Big Tech-funded advocacy organization masquerading as a group of small app developers, was able to trick the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into inviting it to speak at its July 2021 Commission meeting alongside legitimate small businesses. This is the same association that supported Apple in its litigation against (real) app developers, issued a June 2021 press release against the House bills aimed at regulating Big Tech, and misses no opportunity to support Big Tech interests.

APPLE JAZZ Mark Owner Hits Back at TTAB for Suspending Cancellation Case Against Apple

Charles Bertini, owner of the trademark APPLE JAZZ, has filed a Request for Reconsideration of a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Order suspending his Petition to Cancel Apple’s registration of the mark APPLE for entertainment services. Bertini also filed a motion in October of last year with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) requesting that he be allowed to present evidence not of record to demonstrate that bias at the TTAB may have had a negative impact on his opposition against Apple, Inc.’s federal registration for “Apple Music”.

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Attempt to Unseal Uniloc Licenses Falls Flat at CAFC

In its second appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) regarding the sealing of documents in several related cases against Apple, Uniloc scored a win when the CAFC said today that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California failed to comply with its original remand instructions, constituting an abuse of discretion. The appellate court for a second time ordered the district court “to make particularized determinations as to whether the third-party licensing information sought to be sealed should be made public.”

CAFC Rejects Apple’s Claim Construction and Partially Affirms Infringement of Wi-LAN Patents, But Orders New Damages Trial

On February 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded a patent infringement decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California that had awarded WiLAN, Inc. $85.23 million in damages from Apple Inc. Wi-LAN is the owner of two patents related to allocating bandwidth in a wireless communication system, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,457,145 (the ‘145 patent) and 8,537,757 (the ‘757 patent). In May 2014, Apple sued Wi-LAN in the Southern District of California seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity for all claims of the ‘757 and ‘145 patents. Wi-LAN counterclaimed, asserting that certain Apple devices, including certain iPhone 5 and 6 models infringed claim 1 of the ‘757 patent and claims 9, 26, and 27 of the ‘145 patent based on their use of its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless communication standard. Wi-LAN argued that the technology in the two patents at issue enabled Voice over Loong-Term Evolution (VoLTE), which enables voice call service over a 4G LTE network.

CAFC Orders New Trial on Damages, Clarifies IPR Estoppel Rule in Appeal of Caltech’s $1.1 Billion Win Against Apple and Broadcom

On February 4, in a mixed precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed, vacated, and remanded in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a patent infringement suit filed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) against Broadcom Limited, Broadcom Corporation, and Avago Technologies (collectively “Broadcom) and Apple Inc. The suit was related to Caltech’s U.S. Patent 7,116,710 (‘710 patent), U.S. Patent 7,421,032 (‘032 patent), and U.S. Patent 7,916,781 (‘781 patent). The CAFC affirmed the district court’s denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on infringement because the jury’s verdict of infringement of the declared claims of the ‘710 and ‘032 patents was supported by substantial evidence and the district court’s construction of the claim limitation “repeat” was not erroneous.

Qualcomm SCOTUS Brief Charges Apple Has No Legal Leg to Stand On

On January 19, Qualcomm filed a brief in opposition to Apple’s petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Apple failed to make the requisite evidentiary showing to obtain Article III standing. In 2017, Qualcomm filed suit against Apple, alleging Apple’s mobile devices infringed five of its patents, two of which are at issue here, U.S. Patent No. 7,844,037 (the ‘037 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 8,683,362 (the ‘362 patent). Apple counterclaimed, urging the court to invalidate those five patents. Additionally, Apple filed a simultaneous challenge to two of the patents through inter partes reviews (IPRs).

Apple/ Ericsson Dueling FRAND Suits Highlight Issues With Recent Proposed Changes in DOJ’s SEP Policies

On January 19, consumer tech giant Apple filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) asking the agency to institute a Section 337 investigation against Swedish telecom firm Ericsson, asserting a trio of patents related to millimeter wave technology used by electronic devices communicating on mobile 5G networks. The Section 337 complaint is the latest salvo in a legal battle that highlights the mounting tension surrounding standard-essential patents (SEPs) and where infringement litigation fits into the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) obligations that standards-setting organizations (SSOs) impose upon SEP owners.

SCOTUS Denials of Apple and Mylan Petitions Unlikely to End Challenges to PTAB NHK/Fintiv Framework

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order list indicating it had denied petitions for writs of certiorari in two cases challenging the NHK/Fintiv framework developed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for discretionary denials of validity trials under the America Invents Act (AIA). In denying petitions from consumer tech giant Apple and generic pharmaceutical firm Mylan Laboratories, SCOTUS has ended the latest challenge to the PTAB’s NHK/Fintiv rule, which has raised the ire of many entities who have found the PTAB to be a very valuable backdoor towards patent invalidation outside of U.S. district court. Both petitions essentially asked the Court whether the PTAB’s application of its NHK/Fintiv rule passes muster under precepts of U.S. administrative or due process law.

Amici for Apple Tell SCOTUS Federal Circuit’s Article III Standing Ruling Violates Precedent, Upsets Congressional Intent in Enacting AIA Trials

In mid-November, consumer tech giant Apple filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit’s decision to dismiss Apple’s appeal of unsuccessful inter partes review (IPR) challenges to the validity of several patents owned by Qualcomm. In that ruling, the Federal Circuit found that Apple’s choice to enter a patent licensing agreement with Qualcomm covering the patents-at-issue extinguished Article III standing as to Apple’s appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The question presented by Apple’s petition is: “Whether a licensee has Article III standing to challenge the validity of a patent covered by a license agreement that covers multiple patents.”

Federal Circuit Again Dismisses Apple Appeal of PTAB Rulings for Qualcomm; Newman Dissents

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today dismissed Apple, Inc.’s appeal of four decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in favor of Qualcomm. The CAFC found that an April 2021 CAFC decision (Apple I) on related PTAB rulings, in which the court found Apple lacked Article III standing, controlled. The opinion for the court was authored by Judge Prost. Judge Pauline Newman dissented. In part, the court in Apple I held that a global settlement between Apple and Qualcomm on the terms of a license agreement meant that “the validity of any single patent would have no effect on Apple’s ongoing payment obligations,” and that Apple had therefore failed to establish standing under the reasoning of MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, as it asserted. The court in Apple I explained: “Ultimately, Apple’s assertions amount to little more than an expression of its displeasure with a license provision into which it voluntarily entered. Such allegations do not establish Article III standing.”

Pro-Apple TTAB Bias Case Heats Up at CAFC

Following a motion filed in mid-October with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) accusing the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and its management of facilitating the appearance of bias at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in favor of Apple, Inc., Apple has now filed its opposition to that motion. Apple contends there is no precedent for allowing the motion, as it requests to supplement the record with documents that were not part of the trial record; that the TTAB is “an executive adjudicatory body” within the USPTO, which is “an executive agency within the Department of Commerce, and the TTAB’s administrative law judges are not subject to the recusal requirements set out in 28 U.S.C. § 455”; and that the documents Charles Bertini is asking to submit “reflect merely routine and fleeting professional contacts” that “fall far below the threshold of the personal contacts necessary to support disqualification on the basis of bias or prejudice.”