When relying on scientific guidelines to support an obviousness rationale, practitioners should offer evidence for why contradictory guidelines should be discounted. A claimed constituent is not “necessarily present” if the prior art reference lists several alternative constituents and a skilled artisan could not reasonably deduce that the authors of the prior art reference used the claimed constituent.
Power Integrations, Inc. owns U.S. Patent Nos. 6,212,079 (“the ‘079 patent”) and 6,538,908 (“the ‘908 patent”). Power Integrations sued Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation and Fairchild (Taiwan) Corporation (collectively “Fairchild”) for infringement. A jury found Fairchild literally infringed the ‘079 patent and infringed the ‘908 patent under the doctrine of equivalents. The jury subsequently awarded damages of $140 million, applying the entire market value rule in calculating damages. Fairchild appealed. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgments of infringement, but concluded that the entire market value rule was inappropriately used in this case to calculate damages.
The moving target rejections were largely due to the fact that the examiner’s first clear explanation that she was relying on structural identity, and not inherency, appeared in the examiner’s answer. Judge Reyna explained: “[T]he equivocal nature of the examiner’s and Board’s remarks throughout the examination of the ‘989 application, including whether inherency was the basis for the rejection, clouded the issues before Durance.”
On Friday, June 1st, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in In re: Durance striking down a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that affirmed a patent examiner’s obviousness rejection of a microwave vacuum-drying apparatus and associated method. The Federal Circuit panel consisting of Judges Alan Lourie, Jimmie Reyna and Raymond Chen…
On appeal, WesternGeco argued 1) the Board erred as to its unpatentability determinations; and 2) the IPR proceedings were time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) because ION acted in privity with PGS, and over a year passed between its infringement complaint against ION and the PGS IPR petition. Based on the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision known as Wi-Fi One, the time-bar issue was appealable, but WesternGeco’s argument was unpersuasive because the relationship between ION and PGS was not close enough to trigger the time bar.
On Wednesday, April 25th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Gilead Sciences v. Merck & Co. et. al., which affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Merck could not assert claims from two patents against Gilead because Merck had unclean hands regarding the patents. The case, coming out of the Northern District of California, involves patents covering methods for effectively treating the hepatitis C virus (HCV)… Reviewing the facts of the case, the Federal Circuit panel found sufficient evidence supporting the district court’s findings of serious business misconduct by Merck, that Merck’s misconduct was related to the litigation and that litigation misconduct had occurred based on false testimony provided by Merck’s non-firewalled patent lawyer, who had originally testified that he was not a party to the March 2004 phone call with Pharmasset.
In SimpleAir v. Google, The district court found claim preclusion applied because the patents at issue had the same title and specification as previously litigated patents, SimpleAir files a terminal disclaimer to overcome obviousness-type double patenting, and Simple Air could have included the newly asserted patents in its previous actions. However, the district court never compared the claims of the patent at issue to the claims of the previously litigated patents.
Although the majority opinion was silent with respect to a prior claim construction by the Federal Circuit relating to the patent, Judge Newman wrote in dissent that the majority’s failure to address the issue (which was briefed) allowed for a final claim construction by the Federal Circuit to for the first time lack preclusive effect.
The Federal circuit heard the case on AbbVie Inc. v. MedImmune Ltd. AbbVie and MedImmune entered a development and licensing agreement in 1995. The agreement stemmed from a research collaboration between the parties, resulting in the antibody adalimumab, the active ingredient in Humira… In general, parties may not seek a declaratory judgment to litigate one issue in a dispute that must await adjudication of other issues for complete resolution of the dispute. In limited circumstances, courts may permit this type of action where litigation is pending that would resolve the remaining questions.
On Tuesday, January 23rd, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling in Google LLC v. Network-1 Technologies, Inc. which affirmed a finding by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that a patent covering a method of identifying media linked over the Internet was valid. The Federal Circuit disagreed with Google that the PTAB erred in its claim construction during the validity trial, leaving in place a patent that has been asserted by Network-1 against Google’s major online media platform YouTube.
Exmark Manufacturing was awarded $24 million in compensatory damages after a jury found that Briggs and Stratton infringed Exmark’s patent on a lawn mower with improved flow control baffles. The award was doubled by the court, after a finding that Briggs and Stratton’s infringement was willful. On appeal, Briggs challenged six holdings: (1) summary judgment that claim 1 was not anticipated or obvious; (2) denial of summary judgment that claim 1 is indefinite; (3) denial of a new trial on damages; (4) evidentiary rulings related to damages; (5) denial of a new trial on willfulness; and, (6) denial of Brigg’s laches defense. The Federal Circuit vacated findings of willfulness and the underlying damages award, remanding to the trial court.
While the recent decision did uphold the PTAB’s finding of validity of some claims, the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded part of the decision in a way that further highlights the revolving door of validity challenges taking place between the Federal Circuit and the PTAB… The recent Federal Circuit decision on Nintendo’s appeal of the ‘796 final written decision issued by the PTAB found that substantial evidence supports the PTAB’s determination that the challenged claims of the ‘796 patent were adequately supported by the written description of the grandparent application. However, the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded because the panel did not believe all of the challenged claims were reduced to practice as the result of the 1998 working prototype. The existence of a reduction to practice associated with the 1998 working prototype is important because if all of the claims has been reduced to practice with the 1998 working prototype Yasushi would not be prior art.
Due to the recent decision in Aqua Products v. Matal, 872 F.3d 1290 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Court disagreed with the Board’s decision to deny Bosch’s motion to amend. The Board noted in its final decision that it was “unpersuaded that Bosch had demonstrated that the proposed substitute claims are patentable.” However, under Aqua Products, the patent owner does not bear the burden of proof for the patentability of its proposed amended claims in an IPR proceeding. Rather, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed amended claims are unpatentable. The Board therefore impermissibly assigned the burden of proof to Bosch.
On December 8, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Inventor Holdings, LLC v. Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. (2016-2442) that provides some useful language to practitioners dealing with patent ineligibility rejections having Alice as their basis… “Like the claims at issue in Mortgage Grader, the [claims at issue] are directed to an ‘economic arrangement’ implemented using ‘generic computer technology.’ These issues were significant, if not determinative, of the Court’s holding in Alice.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued its decision in In re Micron Tech., Inc., Case No. 2017-138 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2017), and resolved a question that had divided district courts and commentators throughout the United States following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017): Did TC Heartland change the law of venue in patent cases such that a party’s failure to raise a venue defense in its initial responsive pleading could be excused? The Federal Circuit held: “We conclude that TC Heartland changed the controlling law in the relevant sense: at the time of the initial motion to dismiss, before the Court decided TC Heartland, the venue defense now raised by Micron (and others) based on TC Heartland’s interpretation of the venue statute was not “available,” thus making the waiver rule . . . inapplicable.”