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Posts in Federal Circuit

CAFC Affirms Northern District of California on Interlocutory Appeal in Micron Infringement Suit

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s decision in an interlocutory appeal brought by MLC Intellectual Property, LLC (MLC) regarding orders that precluded certain opinions of MLC’s damages expert in its infringement suit against Micron Technology, Inc. (Micron). The orders precluded the expert from 1) characterizing specific license agreements as reflecting a 0.25% royalty; 2) discussing a reasonable royalty rate when MLC failed to provide essential information and documents related to its damages theory when requested prior to expert discovery; and 3) discussing the royalty base and rate because the expert did not apportion for non-patented features.

In Win For Google, CAFC Holds Patentees May Not Bend Claim Terms to Fit Their Needs

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, holding Google LLC did not infringe patents held by Data Engine Technologies LLC (DET). DET sued Google for infringing certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; and 6,282,551 (the Tab Patents). The Tab Patents are directed to systems and methods for displaying and navigating three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets by use of user customizable “notebook tabs” on a spreadsheet interface. The prior art discussed in this trio of patents explained that “three-dimensionality, as presently implemented, is an advanced feature beyond the grasp of many spreadsheet users.” ‘259 patent col. 3 ll. 9-11. Accordingly, the Tab Patents explain, prior art spreadsheets require the user to manipulate each individual spreadsheet within a three-dimensional spreadsheet as an individual window in a graphical window environment. By contrast, the Tab Patents recite notebook tabs that allow the user to simply “flip through” several pages of the notebook to rapidly locate information.

Federal Circuit Affirms 101 Invalidation of Secure Transaction System Patents in Victory for Apple and Visa

On Thursday, August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc. in which the appellate court affirmed the District of Delaware’s grant of a motion to dismiss Universal Secure Registry’s (USR) patent infringement allegations. In a decision that will be discouraging to some, though unsurprising, the Federal Circuit okayed the district court’s invalidation of all asserted claims from USR’s four patents-in-suit, finding that each patent was properly gunned down after being placed on the firing line of Section 101 subject matter ineligibility. The opinion was authored by Judge Stoll.

CAFC Reverses Massive Jury Verdict for Juno and Sloan Kettering

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today reversed a jury verdict for Juno Therapeutics and Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (Juno), wiping out a $1.2 billion judgment for the entities. The CAFC found that the jury’s verdict with respect to written description was not supported by substantial evidence. The case relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,446,190, owned by Sloan Kettering, which is titled “Nucleic Acids Encoding Chimeric T Cell Receptors.” The patent generally covers cancer immunotherapy technology. Juno sued Kite Pharma, Inc. for infringement of the ‘190 patent through the sale of its YESCARTA product. Kite countersued, seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement and invalidity. The jury ultimately found in Juno’s favor and, in post-trial briefs, Kite moved for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on several grounds, including that the claims were not supported by sufficient written description. The district court denied JMOL and Kite appealed.

In Partial Reversal of District Court, CAFC Explains that ‘Hair-Splitting’ is Key to Literal Infringement Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), with Judge Stoll writing, earlier today reversed a denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) of no infringement relating to U.S. Patent No. 9,031,521, which is assigned to Dali Wireless, Inc. The court also affirmed the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas on a number of other issues, including its denial of JMOL of invalidity of the ‘521 patent. The ‘521 patent is titled “System and Method for Digital Memorized Predistortion for Wireless Communication.” The patent solves the problem of unintended distortions to a signal caused by power amplifiers used to boost the signal on devices such as mobile phones. The patent does this through “through the use of a feedback loop and lookup tables.”

The Federal Circuit Must Correct Texas Court’s Misapplication of Copyright Law in SAS Institute Appeal

SAS Institute is a software company in North Carolina. Founded in 1976, it employs thousands of people in the United States and thousands more around the world. World Programming, Ltd. (WPL) is a British company that decided to build a clone of SAS’s popular analytics software and, as several courts have found, broke the law to do it. After a decade of litigation across two continents and an unpaid multi-million-dollar judgment, the parties are once again in court. This time, however, WPL’s arguments pose grave dangers to all owners of other copyrighted works. WPL did not try to compete with SAS by building a different or better product. Instead, it ordered copies of SAS’s products under the guise of an educational license, but with the true intent to reverse-engineer and copy key elements, including the selection and arrangement of its outputs, and even the manuals licensed users receive from SAS. The result is that WPL produced a clone, taking the exact same input and producing the exact same output that SAS does. Avoiding the years of investment and fine-tuning that SAS undertook to create its market-leading software, WPL undercut SAS’s price in the market and lured away SAS’s customers.

CAFC Reverses PTAB Patentability Finding in Campbell Soup Dispenser Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) finding that Campbell Soup Company, Campbell Sales Company, and Trinity Manufacturing, LLC did not demonstrate the claimed designs of Gamon, Inc.’s design patents would have been obvious over the prior art. The CAFC held that the designs were obvious because Gamon did not prove a nexus between commercial success and the claims, and because the evidence of Trinity’s copying did not overcome the strong evidence of obviousness provided by the prior art.

CAFC Dismisses USPTO’s Appeal on Expert Witness Fees in Hyatt II Based on Supreme Court NantKwest Analysis

On August 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Hyatt v. Hirshfeld (Hyatt II), the latest in a line of court rulings regarding a series of much maligned patent applications filed by prolific inventor Gil Hyatt with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the 1990s. While the Federal Circuit’s most recent decision, which denied the USPTO’s request to shift expert witness fees even while the appellate court vacated attorney’s fees awarded to Hyatt, could be seen as a mixed victory for Hyatt, it continues to shine a light on an unfortunate legal situation in which an independent inventor continues to be denied patent rights despite strong evidence that the USPTO dragged their feet on examining Hyatt’s patents.

In Partial Reversal of Two IPRs, CAFC Says PTAB Erred in Prior Art Determination

On August 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded two final written decisions from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) involving inter partes review (IPR) proceedings that affirmed the patentability of two of Ironburg Inventions Ltd.’s patents.

Federal Circuit ‘Confident’ Judge Albright Will Reconsider Dish Network’s Motion to Transfer While Denying Mandamus Relief

On August 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in In re: DISH Network L.L.C. in which the appellate court denied a petition for mandamus relief stemming from another appeal of a denial to transfer venue entered by U.S. District Judge Alan D. Albright of the Western District of Texas. Although the Federal Circuit avoided the entry of mandamus relief directing Judge Albright to grant Dish Network’s motion to transfer, the appellate court voiced its expectation that Judge Albright “will expeditiously reconsider this matter before resolving substantive issues” in the patent infringement suit filed by interactive TV and video-on-demand (VOD) provider Broadband iTV.

Teva Wins One, Loses Two at CAFC in Migraine Treatment Patent Cases

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today issued two precedential decisions and one nonprecedential decision in cases involving Teva Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, delivering wins and losses for each company. The cases relate to “humanized antagonist antibodies that target calcitonin gene-related peptide (‘CGRP’)” and methods of using such antibodies. All three cases were heard by Judges Lourie, Bryson and O’Malley, with Judge Lourie authoring the decisions.

CAFC: PTAB’s Claim Construction Analysis Improperly Relied on Extrinsic Evidence

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), with Chief Judge Moore writing for the court, vacated and remanded a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision, stating the PTAB erred in construing the claims of Magseis’ U.S. Patent No. RE45,268 (’268 patent). Seabed Geosolutions (US) Inc. v. Magseis FF LLC. In 2017, Magseis FF LLC (predecessor of Fairfield Industries Inc.) sued Seabed Geosolutions (US) Inc. for patent infringement with respect to several of its patents, including the ‘268 patent, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. On April 27, 2018, Seabed petitioned the PTAB for inter partes review (IPR) of the ‘268 patent on multiple grounds. On review, the PTAB found the asserted claims of Magseis’ ‘268 patent to be valid. PTAB concluded the prior art relied upon by Seabed -i.e. self-orienting gimbaled geophones – failed to prove the challenged claims were unpatentable. Seabed appealed the PTAB’s final written decision to the CAFC.

Federal Circuit Kills PersonalWeb’s ‘Content-Based Identifier’ Patent Claims Under 101

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today affirmed a decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granting judgment on the pleadings to Google, Facebook, EMC Corporation and VMware, Inc. that PersonalWeb Technologies’  patent claims were ineligible under Section 101. The decision was precedential and written by Judge Prost. The case has a long history and the CAFC has dealt with the patented technology before. The specific patents at issue here are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,802,310 (“the ’310 patent”), 6,415,280 (“the ’280 patent”), and 7,949,662 (“the ’662 patent”). The patents generally cover “data-processing systems that assign each data item a substantially unique name that depends on the item’s content—a content-based identifier.”

Bobcar SCOTUS Petition Seeks Redress for Constitutional Violations Posed by Federal Circuit’s Abuse of Rule 36

On August 2, New York City-based marketing company Bobcar Media filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to consider various legal issues related to the use of Rule 36 summary affirmances by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Bobcar contends that the Federal Circuit’s Rule 36 practice, which allows the court to issue one-word affirmances of lower court decisions despite being fully briefed on the issues and holding oral arguments, “has gotten out of hand, contravening the principles set forth by the Founders of the Constitution, and basic tenets of justice.”

CAFC Again Says Teva Induced Infringement on Carvedilol, Assures Holding Narrowly Applies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday underscored its October 2020 ruling that generic company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, was liable for induced infringement of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK’s) patent directed to a method of treating Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) using carvedilol. The court clarified, however, that its ruling should apply only narrowly to the facts of this particular case. Judge Prost again dissented.