Under Patent Office regulations, a party seeking to submit supplemental information more than one month after the date an IPR is instituted must request authorization to file a motion to submit the information. 37 C.F.R. § 42.123(b). The request to submit new information must show: (1) why the supplemental information reasonably could not have been obtained earlier, and (2) that consideration of the supplemental information would be in the interests of justice. Id. The Court found that Ultratec’s motion to admit the expert’s trial testimony satisfied both requirements… Belated evidence in an IPR may be admitted when the evidence was not available sooner and would serve justice to be considered. It is an abuse of discretion for the Board to reject such evidence without a reasonable basis and without explanation.
the Federal Circuit also upheld a controversial ruling of the PTAB, which determined that the United States has standing to bring a CBM challenge. Legally speaking, the United States, or in this case the United States Postal Service, is considered a “person” within the meaning of AIA § 18(a)(1)(B). To put this into perspective, despite the fact that the America Invents Act (AIA) does not specifically identify the United States as qualifying to be considered a “person” under AIA § 18(a)(1)(B), and despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court has unequivocally ruled that a sovereign such as the United States government is not a “person” absent an explicit statement of intent by Congress, the Federal Circuit (over a convincing and persuasive dissent from Judge Newman) decided that the United States federal government can challenge patents issued by the United States federal government in a post grant CBM proceeding.
Avid sought fees as a prevailing party under § 285, and therefore the attorney’s fees in this action were properly characterized as an equitable remedy, properly decided by a judge. AIA argued that when an award of attorney’s fees is based in part or in whole on a party’s state of mind, intent, or culpability, only a jury may decide those issues. The Court rejected this argument because AIA provided no cases holding that once an issue is deemed equitable, a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial may still attach to certain underlying determinations.
In mag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., Romag sued Fossil for patent and trademark infringement and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”) after one batch of Fossil’s handbags appeared to have counterfeit magnetic snaps. The jury found Fossil liable for patent and trademark infringement and for violating the CUTPA. The Federal Circuit affirmed the patent and trademark infringement verdicts. After that appeal, Romag sought attorney’s fees under the Patent Act, Lanham Act, and the CUTPA. The district court awarded attorney’s fees under all but the Lanham Act… The Supreme Court’s “objectively unreasonable” standard for attorney’s fees set forth in Octane applies to infringement cases under the Lanham Act and the Patent Act. In attorney’s fee disputes, courts must consider the totality of the circumstances, including the conduct of both parties.
In an IPR brought by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Personal Audio appealed a Board determination that invalidated its patent for storing and distributing episodic media files. Personal Audio challenged the Board’s claim construction, but the Court affirmed the Board. Before reaching the merits, the Court addressed whether EFF had standing to participate in the appeal in view of Consumer Watchdog v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. In that case, a non-profit organization representing the public interest did not have standing to appeal a PTAB decision, because it did not meet the Article III case-and-controversy requirement.
The Board declined to provide a construction of “settling speed” and determined that the claims were not invalid as anticipated. Homeland appealed… When parties dispute the proper scope of claims, the Board must provide an explicit claim construction. The Court may construe the claims de novo. When comparing prior art evidence to properly construed claims, the Court may disregard expert testimony if it is plainly inconsistent with the written record, even if the testimony was unrebutted.
The Federal Circuit issued a decision in Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corporation, which ought to be completely unnerving to every owner of a U.S. patent grant. Hearing an appeal from a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the panel voted 2-1 in favor of Homeland Housewares and overturned a final written decision that had confirmed that challenged claims from a Whirlpool patent were valid. So even when a patent owner manages to escape the clutches of the PTAB and prevails no patent is ever truly safe any longer. A dissent was filed by Judge Newman, who chastised the majority for rewriting the claims of the patent in a way that more broadly stated the invention than did the patentee.
The Federal Circuit issued a decision in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Merus N.V. upholding the determination that the patent owned by biotech firm Regeneron was unenforceable. The decision affirmed a lower court’s finding based on Regeneron’s inequitable conduct during prosecution of the patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which was the result of the withholding of references from the USPTO that had but-for materiality. The patent, which the Federal Circuit deemed unenforceable, is U.S. Patent No. 8502018, titled Methods of Modifying Eukaryotic Cells.
On June 21, 2017, In Storer v. Clark, the Federal Circuit affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s interference decision, which awarded priority to Clark’s pending application (filed May 30, 2003) over Storer’s issued patent. The Court found that Storer’s earlier provisional application (filed June 28, 2002) did not enable the subject matter of Storer’s interfering claims… To satisfy the enablement requirement, applicants should provide either explicit examples of claimed compounds or direction or guidance on how to synthesize the claimed compounds. Disclosing generic structures or general approaches to synthesis does not by itself satisfy the enablement requirement for specific compounds. A known precursor does not enable synthesis of a claimed compound if the application does not disclose the precursor or how to convert it into to a claimed compound.
In the Federal Circuit case of Checkpoint Systems v. All-Tag Sec, The Federal Circuit held that the district court erred in finding this case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285, and it reversed its award of attorney fees to the defendants. The record showed that the plaintiff’s charge of infringement was reasonable and the litigation was not abusive or brought in bad faith.
The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to deny the trademark cancellation petition, finding that the Board used an incorrect standard for “fame” in its likelihood of confusion analysis… The Court rejected the Board’s all-or-nothing analysis, holding that it must consider all of the relevant confusion factors, on a scale appropriate to their merits, under the totality of the circumstances. It explained that the proper legal standard for evaluating the fame of a mark is the class of customers and potential customers of a product or service, not the general public…
The nation’s highest court will once again address issues surrounding the controversial Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The case it will decide is SAS Institute, Inc. v. Lee, which will be argued during the October 2017 term, and which will force the Court to again look at how the USPTO, and more specifically the PTAB, is implementing the post-grant patent validity trials created when Congressional passed of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011… As SAS Institute’s petition notes, the track record of the PTAB is clear. The PTAB believes that final written decisions need only to address certain challenged claims, not every challenged claim.
Patlex, which dealt with reexamination of applications by an examiner — not by an Article I tribunal — could be considered a next step beyond McCormick. MCM, however, simply cannot be viewed as consistent with either Patlex or McCormick on any level. Indeed, the Supreme Court was abundantly clear in McCormick, which remains good law. The courts of the United States (i.e., Article III courts), not the department that issued the patent, is the only entity vested with the authority to set aside or annul a patent right. Since the PTAB is not a court of the United States, it has no authority to invalidate patent rights. It is just that simple.
Today, Judge Newman is the Federal Circuit’s most prolific dissenter, and her dissents are important. Former Chief Judge Paul Michel noted that “Judge Newman may hold the record for the most dissents. But her dissents have great force and often persuade other colleagues over time.” Judge Kimberly Moore concurred, saying “[w]hat people may not realize is that many of her dissents have later gone on to become the law—either the en banc law from our court or spoken on high from the Supremes.” She noted that “Merck v. Integra comes to mind. It’s a case where she wrote a very strong dissent. The Supreme Court took it and not only changed the state of the law to reflect what she had written, but they cited her outright in the opinion.”
On January 3, 2017 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the court) handed down two decisions relating to obviousness under § 103 – In re: Marcel Van Os, Freddy Allen Anzures, Scott Forstall, Greg Christie, Imran Chaudhri, No. 2015-1975 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (Van Os) and In re: Ethicon, Inc., No. 2015-1696 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (Ethicon). In Van Os, the Appellants appealed a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirming the Examiner’s rejection of the claims of U.S. Patent Application No. 12/364,470 under § 103. The court addressed the question of whether the PTAB properly held that the claims were obvious in light of prior art. The court vacated and remanded. In Ethicon, the Appellant appealed a decision from the PTAB affirming, in a merged inter partes reexamination, the Examiner’s rejection of the claims of U.S. patent 7,591,844 (the ’844 patent) under § 103. The court addressed the question of whether the PTAB properly affirmed the rejection of the claims of the ’844 patent under § 103. The court affirmed. These two cases raise several interesting questions, especially given that they were decided on the same day.