Posts Tagged: "Judge Pauline Newman"

CAFC Favors Non-Practicing Entities on “Domestic Injury”

Recently the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, denied Nokia’s petition for rehearing. The Federal Circuit decision is nevertheless interesting for its treatment of Section 337’s “domestic industry” requirement as it is applied to NPEs. Under 19 U.S.C. §1337(a)(2), relief at the Commission is predicated on the existence or establishment of an industry in the United States “relating to the articles protected by the patent.” This is commonly known as the “domestic industry” requirement. In turn, section 1337(a)(3) provides that an industry is considered to exist if there is in the United States, “with respect to the articles protected by the patent,” significant investment in plant or equipment, significant employment of labor or capital, or “substantial investment in [the patent’s] exploitation, including engineering, research and development, or licensing” (emphasis added).

AIPLA Honors Judge Newman with Excellence Award

Judge Richard Linn: “It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to honor my colleague and my dear friend, Judge Pauline Newman. To say that Judge Newman is a woman of accomplishment is a serious understatement. There is no glass ceiling she hasn’t broken. When I asked her what she thought about Justice Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, she said with a twinkle in her eye, “That’s a nice start.” She has accomplished more than most men could ever hope to accomplish, and she did so for the most part at a time when our country and the institutions that operate here were, shall we say, not quite as progressive as they are today.”

Outside The Box Innovations v. Travel Caddy: Is a Misstatement of Small Entity Status Per Se Material to Patentability?*

In partially dissenting, Judge Newman’s beef with per curiam panel opinion on the small entity status issue was in “declin[ing] to correct the district court’s ruling that improper payment of the small entity fee is material to patentability.” Newman’s view that filing of an incorrect small entity statement doesn’t render it per se “material” is based on the 1928 Supreme Court case of Corona Cord Tire Co. v. Dovan Chemical Corp. which Newman said had made immaterial to patentability “an affidavit that was not the basis of the patent grant.” Put differently, Newman characterized Therasense as reiterating that the doctrine of inequitable conduct “should only be applied in instances where the patentee’s misconduct resulted in the unfair benefit of receiving an unwarranted claim.” In other words, Newman viewed a potentially incorrect assertion of small entity status as being “immaterial to the patent’s issuance.” But she found the per curiam panel’s opinion as being equivocal “on materiality and intent based on error in small entity status” and thus “simply add[ing] uncertainty when such is unwarranted.

Divided Infringement Uncertain Despite en banc Ruling by CAFC

Recently the Federal Circuit has been interpreting 25 U.S.C. 271(b) to mean that unless the accused infringer directs or controls the actions of the party or parties that are performing the claimed steps, the patentee has no remedy, even though the patentee’s rights would be plainly being violated if the actions of the various partiers were combined. The Federal Circuit decided to go a different route and broke with that line of cases, specifically saying: “We now conclude that this interpretation of section 271(b) is wrong as a matter of statutory construction, precedent, and sound patent policy.” But there were 5 of the 11 Federal Circuit Judges dissenting, and very adamantly so.

Santarus v. Par Pharmaceutical: Rader and Newman Disagree on Written Description Support for Negative Limitations

Last week the Federal Circuit decided the case of Santarus, Inc. v. Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., which dealt with whether a drug covered by an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) infringed the patents owned by that patent owner relative to the proton pump inhibitors (PPI) product omeprazole. The big issue in the case is what might at first glance seem to be a rather innocuous statement relative to the support necessary in a patent specification for a negative claim limitation. But after reading the Newman dissent (which joins in the other aspects of the Court’s decision) it starts to become clear that this could be a much larger issue of significant consequence.

The Discordant En Banc Ruling in Akamai Technologies and McKesson Technologies Part II*

In challenging the correctness of the per curiam majority ruling, Judge Linn’s dissenting opinion makes four points. Point No. 1 is that the per curiam majority’s approach “is contrary to both the Patent Act and the Supreme Court’s longstanding precedent that “if there is no direct infringement of a patent there can be no contributory infringement,” citing Aro Manufacturing and Deepsouth Packing, as well as the Federal Circuit’s Joy Technologies. But as discussed above, none these cases specifically holds that direct infringement of the claimed method for the purposes of liability for indirect infringement requires that all steps of the claimed method must be performed by a single actor. Judge Linn’s further assertion that, in enacting 35 U.S.C §§ 271(e)(2), (f), and (g), “Congress did not give the courts blanket authority to take it upon themselves to make further policy choices or to define ‘infringement’” still doesn’t address why direct infringement for the purposes of indirect infringement liability requires all infringing acts to be performed by a single actor. (As I discuss below, enactment of 35 U.S.C §§ 271 (f) and (g) also reflects Congress’ intent to close “loopholes” in the primary infringement statute, 35 U.S.C §§ 271 (a)). Judge Linn also makes the comment that Congress “removed joint-actor patent infringement liability from the discretion of the courts” in 1952, but cites to absolutely no legislative history to support this comment.

Flashback Seagate: Indifference to Patent Rights of Innovators

After dispatching with Underwater Devices the Federal Circuit announced the new rules, which requires at least a showing of objective recklessness in order to support a finding of willful infringement and, thereby permitting enhanced damages. The Federal Circuit did not stop there though, but rather took the opportunity to explain that because of the abandonment of the affirmative duty of due care, there is no affirmative obligation to obtain opinion of counsel. Thus entered the era of intentional blindness, effectively killing the practice of obtaining an infringement opinion.

Obviousness When All Elements Not Present in Prior Art?

The Tokai and Ritchie rationale seems to have never been cited by any other panels of the Court. While this may be due to many reasons, the fact that this reasoning could so easily invalidate virtually any claim in any patent, combined with the fact that it has only scarcely been utilized by the Court, suggests that this is an extraordinarily important issue for the Court as a whole to consider.

GE Wins at Federal Circuit in Mitsubishi Wind Turbine Case

On Friday, July 6, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in General Electric Co. v. ITC. The Federal Circuit, per Judge Newman with Chief Judge Rader and Judge Linn, did not give GE a total victory, but victory enough over Mitsubishi. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the original decision of the ITC, and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the decision. Ultimately, the Federal Circuit ruled that claim 15 of the ‘985 patent, correctly construed, covers the domestic industry turbines. Of note, the CAFC continues to interpret “connected to” and “coupled to” as not requiring physical separation.

CAFC Kills Means-Plus-Function in Software Patent

All of this might be confusing to a Judge who is unfamiliar with computers, but that is not the test, is it? The question is supposed to be whether it would be confusing to a person of relevant skill in the relevant technology area. Indeed, disclosure sufficient for means-plus-function claiming may be implicit or inherent in the specification if it would have been clear to those skilled in the art what corresponds to the means-plus-function claim limitation. See MPEP 2181 and Atmel Corp. v. Information Storage Devices, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 1999). Indeed, the Federal Circuit in Atmel concluded that the title of the article incorporated by reference in the specification may, by itself, be sufficient to indicate to one skilled in the art the precise structure of the means for performing the recited function. So the focus is supposed to be on one of skill in the art even when interpreting whether the specification provides adequate support for means-plus-function claiming. Nowhere in the majority opinion is it stated that a person of skill in the art would not have known and would have found the claim vague or ambiguous.

The Way Forward from Mayo Collaborative Services is through the Classen Immunotherapies Remand*

The reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services makes no patent law logical sense on numerous grounds, including disregarding an important paragraph in the Supreme Court’s 1981 case of Diamond v. Diehr that is not only binding precedent, but also tells us that Breyer’s opinion repeatedly does what this paragraph from Diehr says not to do in an analysis of method or process claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. But the question now becomes what do we do to keep the reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services from exploding into completely irrational, as well as patent law insane doctrine? The way forward to patent-eligibility rationality, as well as sanity, is through the remand decision in Classen Immunotherapies, Inc. v. Biogen IDEC. Put differently, there may yet be “light” in this currently “dark” patent-eligibility tunnel.

Court Slams Frivolous & Vexatious Litigation with $4.7 MM in Fees

In what seems to be a continuing trend, the United Stats Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is continuing to show increasingly little tolerance for abusive patent litigation tactics. In the most recent pronouncement along these lines the Federal Circuit, per Judge O’Malley (with Judges Newman and Prost joining), ruled the district court appropriately awarded the defendant $3,873,865.01 in attorney fees and expenses under § 285, as well as $809,788.02 in expert fees.

CAFC: PTO Has Power to Reexamine Already Adjudicated Patents

The CAFC’s split panel decision this past week – In re Construction Equipment Company – extends the PTO’s authority to reexamine a patent even where its validity has already been adjudicated and confirmed by the courts. Yet the CAFC once again fails to explain how a PTO reexamination finding that a patent is invalid effects an earlier judicial determination that the same patent is valid and infringed.

The Patent Law of Perpetual Motion

The reality is that science fact and science fiction are dictated based on currently accepted understandings, whether they be true or not. As impossible as something sounds, what we understand as science fact is always bounded by our understanding of our surroundings. As our knowledge expands what was formerly science fact frequently becomes science wrong, sometimes badly wrong. Does that mean that someday perpetual motion will be a reality? Who knows. I am not holding my breath or taking any bets, but there are a lot of highly intelligent people constantly trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe and with so many new discoveries it seems science continues to encroach upon the impossible. Just think about cloaking devices and a transporter a la Star Trek, which are already to some extent realities.

Chief Judge Rader Says KSR Didn’t Change Anything, I Disagree

Upon hearing Rader make such a bold statement the first thought that ran through my mind was — Really? Did he just say that? I have heard from others for some time that Rader has been heard to say these or similar things relating to obviousness, but I just discounted them as one would discount the output of a game of telephone. After something gets stated, shared and restated there is typically little of the same message remaining. That had to be why Rader was reported to have said such curious things about obviousness and the impact of KSR. But then I was sitting right there listening to Chief Judge Rader say something that is provably incorrect. I’ll bite. I’ll take that challenge.