Eileen McDermott is the Editor-in-Chief of IPWatchdog.com. Eileen is a veteran IP and legal journalist, and no stranger to the intellectual property world, having held editorial and managerial positions at several publications and industry organizations. She has acted as editorial consultant for the International Trademark Association (INTA), chiefly overseeing the editorial process for the Association’s twice-monthly newsletter, the INTA Bulletin. Eileen has also served as a freelance editor for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); as senior consulting editor for the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) from 2015 to 2017; as Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief at INTA from 2013 to 2016; and was Americas Editor for Managing Intellectual Property magazine from 2007 to 2013.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today, in a precedential decision, revisited its 2020 holding that the doctrine of assignor estoppel bars Minerva Surgical, Inc. from challenging the validity of Hologic Inc.’s patent directed to a device for treating a uterus. The decision comes on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, which vacated the 2020 ruling and returned it to the CAFC for further consideration of the Justices’ determination that the doctrine of assignor estoppel comes with certain limits. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2021 that assignor estoppel—which bars the assignor of a patent from later attacking the patent’s validity—“is well grounded in centuries-old fairness principles…[but] applies only when the assignor’s claim of invalidity contradicts explicit or implicit representations he made in assigning the patent.” Thus, while the Court rejected Minerva’s request that the doctrine be abandoned, it vacated the CAFC’s 2020 judgment and remanded the case to address “whether Hologic’s new claim is materially broader” than the ones that were assigned.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today ruled in a precedential decision that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) correctly rejected a patent applicant’s reissue claims as “impermissibly attempting to recapture subject matter that the patentee intentionally surrendered during prosecution.” The opinion, authored by Judge Cunningham, explained that John Bradley McDonald, who is named as the inventor on U.S. Patent No. 8,572,111, amended claims 1-9 and 19-21 following an examiner’s rejection of them as patent ineligible, since they were not tied to a processor for conducting the claimed searches. McDonald added “a processor” to certain claim limitations in order to meet the requirement for tying the methods described by the patent to a particular machine and the examiner ultimately withdrew the Section 101 rejection.
June Cohan, Senior Legal Advisor in the Office of Patent Legal Administration at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today explained to attendees of an event about the Office’s patent eligibility guidance that there are no plans to revise the guidance in light of the denial of certiorari in American Axle. She also acknowledged several areas of “divergence,” or “outlier cases,” between the USPTO and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit (CAFC) approaches to determining patent eligibility which the Office has no plans for revising, despite the fact that the CAFC is the reviewing court for the USPTO.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied Hewlett Packard’s petition for a writ of mandamus ordering the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer its case to Massachusetts. Intellectual Ventures (IV) sued Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of a patent directed to data storage solutions assigned to IV. HPE moved for transfer, arguing that the development of the accused products occurred mostly in Massachusetts, but the district court denied the motion.