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IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters: Waving a Wand to Fix U.S. Patent Litigation

Day two of IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters Program yesterday included panels on IP Finance, Mega Verdicts in Patent Litigation, Expert Witnesses and the Fintiv Saga. During the latter panel, former U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley joined other speakers to discuss the effects of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) Fintiv decision, a controversial precedential PTAB opinion that outlined factors for the Board to consider in choosing whether to discretionarily deny institution of an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. Todd Walters of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney presented statistics showing that the rate of denials due to Fintiv has recently fallen off a cliff.

CAFC Affirms PTAB Ruling on Motivation and Expectation of Success Over Newman’s Dissent

On May 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) from an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding where the PTAB concluded that the challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,844,379 B2 (the ‘379 patent) were unpatentable as obvious. Ethicon on appeal contended that the PTAB improperly placed the burden of proof on them and that the PTAB’s finding of reasonable expectation of success when the asserted prior art was combined was unsupported by substantial evidence. Ethicon owns the ‘379 patent, which relates to an endoscopic surgical stapling tool. The supposed novelty of the ‘379 patent is “the use of both an I-beam firing member and a no-cartridge safety lockout, such that the lockout blocks the advancement of an I-beam firing member when there is no staple cartridge loaded in the stapling assembly.” The safety mechanism is particularly helpful for endoscopic procedures that require a surgeon to work with reduced visual and tactile feedback when compared to open surgery.

Federal Circuit Continues Transfer Trend, Orders Gilstrap to Send Google and Samsung Cases to Northern California

On May 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an order in In re: Google, LLC granting petitions by Google, Waze and Samsung seeking writs of mandamus to direct the Eastern District of Texas to transfer a trio of patent infringement suits brought by patent owner AGIS Software Development to the Northern District of California. Although the Federal Circuit’s order is non-precedential, it continues the appellate court’s recent penchant for exercising mandamus relief in venue issues that some commentators have found questionable, at best.

Solicitor General Tells SCOTUS CAFC Got it Wrong in American Axle, Recommends Granting

The United States Solicitor General has recommended granting review in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, a case many in the patent community hope will provide clarity on U.S. patent eligibility law. The Supreme Court asked for the views of the Solicitor General in May of 2021 and the response has been highly anticipated. The SG’s brief says that inventions like the one at issue in American Axle have “[h]istorically…long been viewed as paradigmatic examples of the ‘arts’ or ‘processes’ that may receive patent protection if other statutory criteria are satisfied” and that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit “erred in reading this Court’s precedents to dictate a contrary conclusion.”

Tips From a Former Examiner: Pre-Appeal Brief Review

After two or more U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office actions on the merits, a patent applicant has the option to appeal the patent examiner’s decision rejecting one or more claims to a higher forum, i.e., the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Since 2005, the USPTO has provided an ongoing pilot program in which an appellant, upon the filing of a notice of appeal, may also request a pre-appeal brief review. Why make this request? What are the pros and cons? What are the risks? In this article, I will explore these issues from my perspective as a former USPTO patent examiner.

Federal Circuit Rules Against Microsoft Claim Construction Arguments, Reverses Denial of Prejudgment Interest for Inventor

On May 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Kaufman v. Microsoft Corp. affirming a jury verdict of $7 million in reasonable royalty damages against Microsoft’s Dynamic Data for generating web applications. The Federal Circuit denied various claim construction arguments advanced by Microsoft on appeal, including several raised on the proper meaning of “automatically generating” within the preamble to asserted claim 1, and reversed the Southern District of New York’s denial of prejudgment interest to Kaufman.

Day One of Patent Litigation Masters: We Must Become Ambassadors for the U.S. Patent System Again

Speakers on day one of IPWatchdog’s Patent Litigation Masters program acknowledged that it’s easy for patent owners to become frustrated and disconsolate about how far the pendulum has swung away from encouraging effective patent protection but urged attendees to continue speaking up. As program sponsor and co-chair David Henry of Gray Reed put it, “I think we all have to become ambassadors for the patent system.” Henry spoke Monday on a panel about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s recent habit of granting petitions for writ of mandamus to order Judge Alan Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer cases out of his court, largely to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Panelists speculated about the motivation for this focus on both the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, with several agreeing that at least part of the trend is rooted in anti-patent sentiment. “Every time there’s a favorable forum for patentees, it gets harder to get into,” Wendy Verlander of Verlander LLP said.

SCOTUS IP Update: Status of the Top Patent Cases Before the High Court This Term

With about one month left in the U.S. Supreme Court’s current term, several petitions for writ of certiorari in patent cases being appealed from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remain pending in front of the nation’s highest court. Several of these petitions raise important questions on Section 101 patent eligibility jurisprudence in the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, a subject which the Supreme Court has punted on dozens of times after handing out that landmark decision on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions back in 2014. With several petitions on other areas of patent law that have grown more uncertain in recent years, including Section 112 enablement issues and patent-specific preclusion doctrines, the last few weeks of the Supreme Court’s term could presage coming changes to U.S. patent law, while recent cert denials indicate other areas of patent law that are of no concern to the nation’s highest court.

This Week in Washington IP: Risks and Benefits of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency, Supporting the Technology Modernization Fund, and Reviewing the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey

This week in Washington IP news, the House Financial Services Committee explores the risks and benefits of any central bank digital currency that could potentially be adopted by the Federal Reserve, the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee reviews the most recent Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey and its recommendation to send a robotic mission to the planet Uranus, and the House Government Operations Subcommittee looks at ways to support the Technology Modernization Fund for upgrading IT systems at federal agencies. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation debates the potential impacts of a regulatory framework for AI technologies being drafted by the European Commission, while the Heritage Foundation looks at how the characteristics of Bitcoin intersect with American values.

Catapulting BlackBerry: A Data-Intensive Look, Part II

Measuring the quality of a patent portfolio doesn’t have to be subjective. There are a number of objective indices that measure patent families’ potential economic and reputational value, the breadth of patent claims and the statistical validity strength of a patent. The Patent Value Index, or PVIX, measures the potential economic and reputational value of a patent. PVIX scores each patent family on a curve from 0-100 using a weighted average of the GDP of the countries in which the family has granted members and the number of forward citations garnered by the family members compared to peer patent families in the same technology classes.

USTR Needs to Step Up Trade Enforcement

As a former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and co-author of major patent legislation, I have a special interest in supporting and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights. So, I took note last month when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its latest Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement.

Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner is Seeking a Patent Attorney

Schwegman is seeking qualified patent attorneys having strong technical skills in computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or advanced degrees in chemistry/biotech. We are particularly interested in candidates with 5+ years of experience in drafting and prosecuting patent applications. Industry experience in a technical field and advanced technical degrees are also of particular interest. Attorneys at Schwegman may be exposed to technical information that may be subject to U.S. Export Control laws. Therefore, proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (“Green Card”) status may be required before consideration for a position.  This is a full-time, permanent position in both cloud and physical offices.

IP Practice Vlogs: Claiming Foreign Priority – An Overview of Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention and Patent Prosecution Highway Practice

There are several ways to claim foreign priority for a patent application. The first option is filing an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). In order to utilize this option, at least one of the applicants has to be a national or a resident of a country that is a PCT Contracting State. Upon filing, the applicant picks a receiving office, which is a national patent office designated for receiving the PCT application. A competent receiving office belongs to a location in which one of the PCT applicants is entitled to file a PCT application. Each PCT member state has a competent receiving office for its residents and nationals. The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also acts as a receiving office in which all applicants are entitled to file PCT applications. In that case, the applicant can file directly with WIPO. Thirty to 31 months after initial filing, the application then enters the national stage and the applicant can select the countries in which it would like to file.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, May 20: CAFC Remands No Case or Controversy Determination to Eastern Texas, Ninth Circuit Rules 2018 Farm Act Legalized Delta-8 THC Trademarks, and EU Commission Directs Member States to Codify Copyright Rules

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the European Commission sent notice to several EU member states directing them to codify recent rule changes to EU copyright law; a WIPO report shows that China has a significant lead in global patent application filings for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technologies; Judge O’Grady is removed from the criminal copyright case against Kim Dotcom over reported ties to Disney; the Federal Circuit remands a dismissal of a suit seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement for a finer analysis of the case or controversy presented; the Ninth Circuit rules that the 2018 Farm Act’s changes to the Controlled Substances Act legalized delta-8 THC products such that trademarks for those products are valid; and members of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee introduce a bill designed to prevent Google and other Big Tech firms from operating at multiple steps along the digital advertising business.

What the PTAB’s CRISPR-Cas9 Decision for Broad Institute Means for Gene Editing Patent Landscape

As previously reported here, on February 28, 2022, in Interference 106,115, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a decision in which it awarded inventive priority to the Broad Institute (Broad) over the University of California (U.C.) on an invention covering applications of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system in eukaryotic cells. This decision purports to award substantial control of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent landscape to Broad. This article provides additional background on CRISPR-Cas9 technology, outlines the critical findings in Interference 106,115 that resulted in the PTAB awarding priority to Broad, and describes the impact of the PTAB’s decision for Broad, U.C., and other companies involved in the development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.