Posts Tagged: "Judge Pauline Newman"

CAFC reaffirms PTAB discretion not to address all claims in IPR final written decision

On February 10, 2016, a divided Federal Circuit panel reaffirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) authority to institute trial and provide a final written decision on only a subset of the challenged claims in an AIA post-grant proceeding. At issue on appeal was the PTAB’s final decision not to address all claims that were challenged in the underlying inter partes review (IPR) Petition.

Restricted Sales Do Not Exhaust Patent Rights Under Supreme Court Rulings

The Federal Circuit took the case en banc to review the applicability of the patent exhaustion doctrine under Mallinckrodt and Jazz Photo, in view of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Quanta and Kirtsaeng. The Federal Circuit affirmed the holdings in Mallinckrodt and Jazz Photo, and distinguished them from the Supreme Court’s decisions. In Quanta, the Supreme Court was reviewing whether a patentee’s rights in a product were exhausted by a licensee’s sale of a product.

CAFC reaffirms patent exhaustion doctrine cases en banc in Lexmark Int’l v. Impression Products

In a painfully long decision that at one point analyzed a 1628 statement of Lord Coke as relating to British common-law principles and what light that might shed on modern day patent exhaustion, the Federal Circuit held that when a patentee sells a patented article under otherwise-proper restrictions on resale and reuse communicated to the buyer at the time of sale, the patentee does not confer authority on the buyer to engage in the prohibited resale or reuse. The patentee does not exhaust its rights to charge the buyer who engages in those acts—or downstream buyers having knowledge of the restrictions—with patent infringement. The Federal Circuit also held that a foreign sale of a U.S. patented article, when made by or with the approval of the U.S. patentee, does not exhaust the patentee’s U.S. patent rights in the article sold, even when no reservation of rights accompanies the sale. Loss of U.S. patent rights based on a foreign sale remains a matter of express or implied license.

Federal Circuit Denies Patent Term Adjustment for Erroneous Restriction Requirement

Pfizer argued that the original restriction requirement, because it was incomplete, created a delay by failing to provide Pfizer with adequate notice of the basis for rejecting its claims. The District Court ruled that the initial restriction requirement, while arguably incomplete, did in fact place Pfizer on notice of grounds for rejecting its claims, therefore satisfying § 132 and justifying denial of additional term adjustments. The Federal Circuit affirmed.

Federal Circuit says same PTAB panel can decide both IPR institution and merits

The Federal Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Dyk who was joined by Judge Taranto, first held that 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) did not preclude the Court from hearing Ethicon’s challenge to the authority of the Board to render a final decision. On the merits the panel held that neither the statute nor the Constitution precludes the same panel of the PTAB that made the decision to institute inter partes review from making the final determination. The Federal Circuit also found no error in the Board’s determination that the ’070 patent claims would have been obvious over the prior art. Judge Newman dissented, concluding that in order to restore confidence in the reliability of patents as “investment incentives” the USPTO must conform the inter partes review process to the statute.

Patentee must show patentability over prior art from original case to amend in IPR

The Federal Circuit affirmed a patentee’s burden included showing patentability over prior art from the patent’s original prosecution history. Prolitec failed to show that its amended claim would still be patentable (non-obvious) over the combination of an original prior art reference and Benalikhoudja. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Board’s finding of anticipation and obviousness. In her dissent, Judge Newman argued that the PTAB erred in denying Prolitec’s motion to amend, explaining the motion should have been granted because refusing to enter a proposed amendment that would resolve a dispositive aspect of claim breadth contradicted the America Invents Act.

CAFC denies Sequenom en banc petition, Next stop SCOTUS

The law of patent eligibility is created by the nine least qualified people to make such a determination; the Justices of Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court arbitrarily chooses which of its own prior decisions to follow and ignore, refuses to read and enforce the laws passed by Congress even when the statue is but a single sentence (as is 101), and they openly legislates from the bench by creating judicial exceptions to patent eligibility where no such statutory prerogative exists. If the Federal Circuit will not step up and do the right thing and limit the lawless Mayo decision, which instructs lower courts to ignore the patent statute and drive 100% of the analysis into 101, the U.S. will forfeit our lead in the biotechnology and medical device industries. That will be bad for the economy, but far worse for public health.

CAFC Says Prior Art Reference Sufficiently Enabled Based on Applicant Admissions

As applied to Morsa’s application, the Court found that the specification made numerous admissions regarding the knowledge of a person of skill at the time of the invention. However, Judge Newman wrote in dissent that enablement of prior art must also come from the prior art, and that the majority improperly used information from the specification of the patent at issue to find that a prior art reference was enabling.

Federal Circuit Rejects ‘Swearing Behind’ as Insufficient Under Rule 131

The issue on appeal was whether Applicants antedated the ‘560 reference in accordance with Rule 131. A patent applicant bears the burden of establishing “reduction to practice prior to the effective date of the reference, or conception of the invention prior to the effective date of the reference coupled with due diligence from prior to said date to a subsequent reduction to practice or to the filing of the application.” 37 C.F.R. 1.131(b). The Court concluded that substantial evidence supported a finding that Applicants failed to establish conception and continuing diligence, or actual reduction to practice, before the effective date of the ‘560 reference.

Federal Circuit en banc rules Laches Remains Defense in a Patent Infringement Suit

Despite the Supreme Court ruling that laches is no defense to a copyright infringement action brought during the statute of limitations, the Federal Circuit ruled laches can bar recovery of legal remedies in patent infringement. The Federal Circuit explained that the 1952 Patent Act codified the common law rule, meaning that laches was codified as a defense under 35 U.S.C. 282.
The Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, followed the common law principle that, ”[w]hen a statute covers an issue previously governed by the common law, [the Court] must presume that Congress intended to retain the substance of the common law.” The Federal Circuit also ruled that laches does not preclude an ongoing royalty.

Patent owner must seek remedy in Federal Court of Claims for alleged TSA infringement

Astornet sued NCR Government Systems, MorphoTrust, and BAE Systems Inc., alleging that they supplied the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) with certain boarding pass scanning systems, and that TSA’s use of the equipment infringed or would infringe its patent. The complaints alleged that the defendants “induced (and contributed to) direct infringement by TSA by virtue of TSA’s use of equipment supplied by the defendants.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal based on 28 U.S.C. § 1498 barring the suits by limiting Astornet’s remedy to an action against the United States in the Court of Federal Claims.

Whether Person of Ordinary Skill Would Add Vent to Disinfecting Cap is Genuine Dispute

The Federal Circuit disagreed, holding that “record evidence establishe[d] a genuine dispute over whether a person of ordinary skill would have been motivated to add a vent to Hoang’s disinfecting cap.” The Court also held that “the tradeoff between the desire to retain cleaning agent and the patents’ disclosure regarding drying is a factual matter left to the factfinder.”

Inline Plastics v. EasyPak: CAFC rules asserted claims not limited to a specific embodiment

Since the preferred embodiment did not have patentable characteristics that are distinct from other disclosed embodiments, the Court held that “the patentee [was] entitled to claim scope commensurate with the invention that [was] described in the specification.” The Court also held that the doctrine of claim differentiation was applicable here, since the “two severable score lines” limitation only appeared in a dependent claim but not in any independent claims. In other words, the presence of the “two severable score lines” limitation in a dependent claim gave rise to a presumption that such a limitation was not present in the independent claim.

Federal Circuit affirms rejection of trademark for refusal to disclaim descriptive term

The Federal Circuit affirmed the TTAB, noting that substantial evidence supported the TTAB’s findings. Where, as here, the disputed term is highly descriptive, the TTAB acted within its discretion in refusing to accept evidence of five years’ use as prima facie evidence of distinctiveness.

Federal Circuit affirms finding of no indirect infringement software provider

JVC is a member of two licensing pools for optical disc technology, one for DVD and one for Blu-ray. The asserted patents are included in both pools. The district court adopted JVC’s position that the asserted patents are essential to the licensed DVD and Blu-ray optical discs. Given the patent pool and licensing program, which covers any and all optical disc structures and uses that are essential under the patents, only the use of unlicensed optical discs would be an infringement – regardless of any third-party software used to manipulate the discs. JVC did not argue, and no evidence of record established, that unlicensed discs should be attributed to Nero, or the patent pool license should not encompass discs and end-users that implemented the Nero software.