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Posts Tagged: "§ 102"

Supreme Court decides Helsinn v. Teva, Secret Sale Qualifies as Prior Art Under the AIA

n a relatively short, unanimous decision authored by Justice Thomas, the Court begins by explaining that twenty-years ago in Pfaff v. Wells Electronics, Inc., 525 U.S. 55, 67 (1998) the Court determined that an invention was on sale within the meaning of pre-AIA § 102 if it was subject to a commercial offer for sale and it was ready for patenting. Moreover, Thomas recognized that prior to passage of the AIA the Federal Circuit had clearly established that a secret sale could invalidate a patent. Therefore, given the settled precedent, Justice Thomas explained that there was a presumption “that when Congress reenacted the same language in the AIA, it adopted the earlier judicial construction of that phrase.” The Court also found the catch all phrase “or otherwise available to the public” was “simply not enough of a change… to conclude that Congress intended to alter the meaning of the reenacted term ‘on sale.’”

Industry Reaction to Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals Oral Arguments

On Tuesday, December 4th, oral arguments were held before the U.S. Supreme Court in Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. The nation’s highest court will determine whether a secret sale of an invention, or a sale of a technology under terms that require the invention to remain confidential, triggers the on-sale bar under 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1), thereby preventing the invention from being patented. With this question squarely before the Supreme Court, several members of the legal industry who are watching this case offer their views on the major takeaways and the potential consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision, which will issue next year.

Categorical Rules and Why the Investpic Holding Should Worry Everyone

This assertion is a mischaracterization of Alice Corp., which never held that the intermediated settlement claims at issue in Alice Corp. were abstract because of the risk hedging claims in Bilski were abstract.  Instead, the Supreme Court stated “that there is no meaningful distinc­tion between the concept of risk hedging in Bilski and the concept of intermediated settlement at issue here” because “[b]oth are squarely within the realm of ‘abstract ideas’ as we have used that term.”  That is: the claims in Bilski and Alice Corp. were comparable only because the underlying business methods were undoubtedly long-prevalent in the business community.  To hold otherwise is to ignore the vast bulk of both the Bilski and Alice Corp. decisions.

Which Invalidity Avenue to Take: Inter Partes Review Verses Post-Grant Review

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides invalidity tools via inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR), but which route is better? …  PGRs are estimated to cost more because of their broader discovery rules.  If cost is a major factor, IPRs are a less-expensive option due to restricted allowance of discovery, the most expensive aspect of patent litigation… If the invalidating arguments or art are not strong, an IPR may be a better option due to its lower threshold for institution.  The same prior art arguments that failed in a petition for a PGR may have succeeded in an IPR petition due to the lower standard.

Distribution Agreement Considered a Commercial Offer and On-Sale Bar

The Federal Circuit reiterated that the on-sale bar does not exempt commercial agreements between a patentee and its supplier or distributor. It is the commercial character of the transaction that is more relevant than the parties involved when assessing whether there was a commercial offer for sale.

Combinations do Not Anticipate if Artisan Would Not Immediately Envision Claimed Combination

The Federal Circuit heard the case of Microsoft Corp. v. Biscotti, Inc. After Biscotti, Inc. (“Biscotti”) sued Microsoft Corp. (“Microsoft”) for patent infringement, Microsoft filed three unsuccessful inter partes reviews (“IPR”) challenging certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,144,182 (“the ‘182 patent”) as anticipated or obvious. The ‘182 patent relates to tools and techniques for providing video calling solutions. The IPRs focused on independent claims 6 and 69, and their dependent claims. On appeal Microsoft challenged the Board’s standard of review… The Federal Circuit reiterated that anticipation is a question of fact subject to substantial evidence review, that ultimate claim construction and claim construction relying solely on intrinsic evidence is subject to de novo review, and subsidiary factual findings based on extrinsic evidence are reviewed for substantial evidence.

Inherency Rejections: Combating Inherent Obviousness

An inherency rejection, whether it be inherent anticipation or inherent obviousness, can be extremely difficult to overcome. Indeed, at many times it seems there is a great deal of subjectivity weaved into an inherency rejection… Inherency was initially a doctrine rooted in anticipation, but has long since been applied to become applicable to obviousness rejections as well. What this means is this: Inherency may supply a missing claim limitation in either an obviousness rejection. See Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 773 F.3d 1186 (2014). However, the Federal Circuit has always been mindful that inherency in the context of an obviousness rejection must be carefully limited. There is “a high standard in order to rely on inherency to establish the existence of a claim limitation in the prior art in an obviousness analysis…” Id.

Judge Paul Michel presents supplemental testimony on PTAB reforms to the House IP subcommittee

To fix the current incarnation of the U.S. patent system and reinvigorate the American economy, Judge Michel called upon the House IP subcommittee to adopt seven specific action items. Five of the action items relate to improvements to patent law for the strengthening of patent rights while optimizing PTAB procedures already in place, while two other action items focus on the administration of the USPTO.

Lessons from Five Years of PTAB Trials

As we mark the fifth anniversary of the effective date of Patent Trial and Appeal Board trials on September 16, we find that the early years of the practice have been a learning experience both for the PTAB and for PTAB practitioners.  Reflecting on the past five years, three key lessons emerge for practitioners, from practice and directly from the APJs presiding over these cases when they have spoken on topic: Follow the rules, including those that are explicit and those that are unspoken, know your audience, and focus on the facts.  

Trends in Copyright Litigation for Tattoos

An increasing trend in copyright infringement suits filed in the United States has tattoo artists bringing suit against entertainment entities, and in some cases against the tattoo bearer themselves, for the reproduction or recreation of tattoos they created. Most commentators would likely conclude that tattoos are eligible for copyright protection under the Copyright Act. However, it is important to note that a distinction can be made between the copyright in the design of the tattoo and the copyright in the tattoo as it is reproduced on the body of a person

Crocs loses inter partes reexam, will appeal rejection of design patent for ornamental footwear

Boulder, CO-based shoe manufacturer Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX) had a design patent rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent struck by the USPTO is U.S. Patent No. D517789. Issued in March 2006 and assigned to Crocs, it protected the ornamental design of footwear. The design patent illustrations attached to the ‘789 design patent showcase the well-known Crocs design featuring holes in the footwear material around the front of the foot and a strap behind to hold the footwear in place against a person’s heel… The Examiner refused to recognize a priority claims of earlier filed applications dating back to June 23, 2003. According to the Examiner, the shoe that is the subject of the ‘789 design patent was not adequately disclosed prior to May 28, 2004, making an earlier priority date claim impossible to recognize.

Federal Circuit invalidates another patent upheld at PTAB after IPR

The Federal Circuit issued a decision in Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corporation, which ought to be completely unnerving to every owner of a U.S. patent grant. Hearing an appeal from a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the panel voted 2-1 in favor of Homeland Housewares and overturned a final written decision that had confirmed that challenged claims from a Whirlpool patent were valid. So even when a patent owner manages to escape the clutches of the PTAB and prevails no patent is ever truly safe any longer. A dissent was filed by Judge Newman, who chastised the majority for rewriting the claims of the patent in a way that more broadly stated the invention than did the patentee.

Revising Section 101 of the Patent Act: What’s at Stake?

These revisions favor patent owners, according to Palmer, but not everyone is supportive. For instance, Bilski, Mayo, Myriad, and Alice have given several accused infringers an additional tool for fighting non-practicing entities. So. the level of support for these revisions will depend where you fall on this spectrum. That being said, Palmer does not think the Court will change its eligibility analysis in the foreseeable future, and Congress is not likely to take up these anytime soon.

Patentability: The Novelty Requirement of 35 U.S.C. 102

Essentially, §102 requires the patent applicant to demonstrate that the invention is new. In essence, in order for a claimed invention to violate this “newness” requirement it must be exactly identical to the prior art… In order to understand the requirements of §102 it will be helpful to explore the concept of anticipation in detail. A claim is said to be “anticipated” if comparison of the claimed invention with a prior art reference reveals that each and every element in the claim under attack is shown or described, organized, and functioning in substantially the same manner as in the prior art reference.

Alice Who? Over Half the U.S. Utility Patents Issued Annually are Software Related!

I have always argued that software patent eligibility is a must in a country where patent rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. That is, all fields of innovation should be treated equally under the law such that one field of endeavor (e.g., pharmaceuticals or electronics) is not deemed more “patent worthy” than other fields (i.e., computer science and information technology). This is especially true when one considers how important software is to the U.S. economy… A substantial amount of U.S. commerce is software-dependent and the associated innovation in the field – when novel and non-obvious – deserves stable and predictable patent law protection!