Posts in District Courts

CAFC Affirms District Court Finding that Naloxone Patents are Obvious; Newman Dissents

On February 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, explaining that the district court did not err in finding several Adapt Pharma patents obvious. The asserted claims relate to U.S. Patent Nos. 9,468,747; 9,561,177; 9,629,965; and 9,775,838 (collectively, the “patents-in-suit”). The patents-in-suit claim methods of treating opioid overdose by intranasal administration of a naloxone formulation, as well as devices for intranasal administration. Naloxone is the active ingredient in Adapt’s NARCANâ Nasal Spray and is an opioid receptor antagonist, thus helping reverse the effects of opioid overdose. The opinion was authored by Judge Kara Stoll; Judge Pauline Newman dissented.

Patent Filings Roundup: End-of-Month Filing Spike; IP Val Sues Smart Thermostat Cos.

Last week included the end of January, which meant district court filings spiked as they usually do at the end of the month, with 92 new patent filings, and plenty of terminations (66). Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenges (41) were propped up by filings between Ericsson and Apple in their large-scale 5G dispute, Samsung challenging an entire portfolio, it seems, on some assets owned by a subsidiary of the perennial file-and-settle consort IP Edge (which seems to be getting big eyes and going after bigger players these days, after years of filing thousands of suits against smaller companies); a number of competitor-competitor chipmaker suits, including one by Infineon against more Vector Capital-backed Monterey Research semiconductor patents; challenges by Nokia against monetizer IP Bridge patents; and a number of petitions filed by Chanel against Molo Design Ltd.

CAFC Corrects District Court’s On-Sale Bar Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today reversed the U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania’s summary judgment that a medical device design patent was not invalid under the on-sale bar. Junker v. Medical Components, Inc. The district court found the patent was infringed and awarded damages in the amount of $1,247,910. But the CAFC held that a letter sent by the inventor’s business partner to Boston Scientific Corporation in 1999 represented a commercial offer for sale of the claimed design.

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.”

Wading into Contract Law Again, CAFC Says Forum Selection Clause Also Precludes IPRs

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) earlier today issued a precedential decision holding that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware improperly denied Nippon Shinyaku Co., Ltd.’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the court’s misreading of the plain language of a contract’s forum selection clause. The CAFC consequently reversed the decision and remanded for entry of a preliminary injunction (PI) enjoining Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. from proceeding with its seven inter partes review petitions (IPRs) against Nippon Shinyaku and requiring that Sarepta withdraw the petitions.

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.

Mandamus and the Battle Over Venue in Modern America

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has become enamored with the power of the writ of mandamus to correct what they do not like, and they do not like patent owners filing patent infringement actions in Texas. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say that while they might not mind patent owners filing patent infringement actions in Texas, they expect federal district court judges in Texas to order those patent owners off to other courthouses outside of Texas upon the request of defendants.

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.

Albright Calls SCOTUS Test ‘Confusing Abyss of Patent Eligibility Law’, Denies Motion to Dismiss

Just over one week ago, U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright of the Western District of Texas entered a ruling denying PNC Bank’s motion to dismiss patent infringement claims asserted by financial record retrieval tech developer Mirror Imaging. In affirming the validity of Mirror Imaging’s patents under Section 101 at the motion to dismiss stage, Judge Albright acknowledged that tests handed down by the Supreme Court for subject matter eligibility have created a “confusing abyss of patent eligibility law” before affirming the validity of Mirror Imaging’s patents on both steps of the Alice test.

CAFC Affirms Preliminary Injunction Against Myco Industries, Finding No Clear Error or Abuse of Discretion

On February 3, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a preliminary injunction granted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, holding that the lower court did not abuse its discretion or clearly err in its factual findings. Myco Industries, Inc. started marketing, the AB Max, a device for treating blepharitis in February 2019. The following month, BlephEx, LLC filed a patent application, which issued as U.S. Patent No. 10,449,087 (the ‘087 patent) on October 22, 2019. The ‘087 patent discloses “an instrument for removing debris from an eye during the treatment of an ocular disorder.” The day the ‘087 patent issued, BlephEx sued Myco in the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging that Myco’s AB Max infringed claim 16 of the ‘087 patent. Shortly thereafter, the district court enjoined “Myco and those acting on its behalf from, inter alia, selling, distributing, or offering to sell or distribute the AB Max Product.” Myco appealed.

CAFC Says District Court Committed ‘Clear Error’ in Enforcing Disputed Settlement Agreement

On February 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granting a motion to enforce PlasmaCAM’s (Plasmacam) version of an agreement with Fourhills Designs, LLC, and Thomas and Martha Caudle (collectively “CNC”). On appeal, the CAFC held that CNC’s version of the agreement more accurately reflected the understanding between the two parties regarding a settlement over Plasmacam’s claim that CNC infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,071,441 (‘441 patent), for which Plasmacam has an exclusive license.

Section 101 on Trial: Understanding How Eligibility Issues Have Fared Before Juries

Few lawyers have tried patent eligibility, 35 U.S.C. Section 101, to a jury. Our research found just four such cases since the Supreme Court created its muddled two-step test in Alice v. CLS Bank. In every one of those, the jury issued a pro-ineligibility verdict, while none resulted in a final Section 101 determination either way. Understanding how that issue has been handled at and after trial is important for practitioners with cases where Section 101 is at issue, which has become increasingly common.

CAFC Rules District Court Erred on Legal Standard for Claim Indefiniteness

On January 27, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed the decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to invalidate claims in two related patents, holding that the district court used the incorrect legal standard for indefiniteness. Nature Simulation Systems, Inc. (NSS) is the owner of United States Patents No. 10,120,961 (the ‘961 patent) and No. 10,109,105 (the ‘105 patent). Both patents relate to computer-implemented methods for building three-dimensional objects employing a computation method called “Boolean operation.” NSS brought an infringement action against Autodesk, Inc. in district court alleging infringement of claims 1 and 8 of the ‘961 patent and claim 1 of the ‘105 patent.

Inventor Argues USPTO Officials’ Motion to Dismiss Due Process Violations Case Based on Immunity Defense Fails

On January 21, inventor Martin David Hoyle and his company B.E. Technology filed a response in opposition to a consolidated motion to dismiss that was filed last November by defendants Michelle K. Lee, former Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a pair of officials at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and three administrative patent judges (APJs) who sat on PTAB panels invalidating Hoyle’s patent claims. Hoyle and B.E. Tech’s response brief argues that the motion to dismiss filed by the former and current USPTO employees is based on factual disputes that are inappropriate to decide on a motion to dismiss, and that plaintiffs have made out a sufficient due process claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1971).

Patent Filings Roundup: Seven New Discretionary Denials; Magnetar Capital’s Next Big Thing

It was a light week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and in the courts (relatively speaking), with 49 new district court patent filings and 19 inter partes reviews (IPRs), both a bit less than recent averages. There were another 72 district court dismissals, including a number of WSOU, CallStat [Jeffrey Gross], and other file-and-settle entity dismissals filling up the docket. The Board issued seven new discretionary denials, discussed below, and the Apple/Ericsson 5G dispute continued to spill into the open in venues worldwide, with district court cases, IPRs, ITC, and European disputes filling out the docket. Magnetar filed another campaign in recent weeks and followed up with hitting Apple this week; a number of parties were denied institution against Express Mobile patents (though two of the five patents have been instituted, and more are pending on the others); and Vector Capital’s Monterey Research lost yet another set of claims in a challenge by AMD at the Board.