Posts Tagged: "CAFC"

Clear & Convincing: Supreme Court Affirms CAFC in Microsoft v. i4i

icrosoft wanted to see that changed, with prior art not considered by the Patent Office requiring a lower evidentiary threshold to invalidate. To rule in Microsoft’s favor would have required the Supreme Court to throw away 30 years of well-settled Federal Circuit law, as well as overruling Supreme Court precedent in effect since at least 1934, but which traces back in some form from that date a further 100 years. That was a bridge too far for the Supreme Court, who ruled today 9-0 (with concurring opinions but no dissents) that in order to invalidate patent claims 35 U.S.C. 282 requires clear and convincing evidence regardless of whether the prior art was known by the Patent Office during prosecution of the patent application.

Supreme Court Affirms CAFC in Stanford v. Roche on Bayh-Dole

At issue in the case, essentially, was whether the extraordinarily successful Bayh-Dole legislation (enacted in 1980) automatically vested ownership of patent rights in Universities when the underlying research was federally funded. In a blow to the convention wisdom of Supreme Court patent-watchers, the Supreme Court actually affirmed the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Unlike some recent decisions where the result of the Federal Circuit was affirmed but a wholly new test announced, the Supreme Court simply concluded: “The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is affirmed.” Perhaps even more surprising, the Supreme Court seems to have objectively reached the correct conclusion.

PTO Studying Therasense v. Becton Decision; Guidance Soon

Today the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is carefully studying the important en banc decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the case of Therasense v. Becton, Dickinson to assess how it may impact agency practices and procedures. The agency also announced that it expects to soon issue guidance to applicants related to the prior art and information they must disclose to the Office in view of Therasense.

Federal Circuit Re-Settles Law of Inequitable Conduct

Judge Rader wrote: “Left unfettered, the inequitable conduct doctrine has plagued not only the courts but also the entire patent system.” Chief Judge Rader would go on to say that materiality is a “but-for” test, and actually breathed real life into the intent requirement, saying: “Proving that the applicant knew of a reference, should have known of its materiality, and decided not to submit it to the PTO does not prove specific intent to deceive.” The Federal Circuit did decline to adopt the USPTO version of the duty of candor outlined in Rule 56, which I have advocated for, instead opting for an even better, more patentee friendly standard than I myself have advocated for over the years. Today is a good day no doubt. Intent now actually requires intent, and a reference must actually be material in order to satisfy the materiality requirement. What a radical concept!

Federal Circuit Says Rambus Illegally Destroyed Documents

On Friday, May 13, 2011, the Federal Circuit issued the latest decision in a long line of Rambus decisions stemming out of conduct of Rambus as it participated in the JEDEC standard-setting body, as well as litigation events that followed. A five judge panel of the Federal Circuit (per Judge Linn) affirmed the district court’s determination that Rambus destroyed documents during its second shred day in contravention of a duty to preserve them and, thus, engaging in spoliation.

TiVo, DISH and EchoStar, The $500 Million Patent Settlement

Just 12 days ago the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its ruling in TiVo v. EchoStar, largely handing TiVo a victory in the epic saga between the two satellite TV giants. Earlier today TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), and EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS) announced today that they have settled all of their ongoing patent litigation. Under the terms of the settlement, DISH Network and EchoStar agreed to pay TiVo $500 million. On top of that the companies seem to have entered into a cross-promotion cooperation agreement.

Reviewing the ACLU and Myriad Oral Arguments at the CAFC

The ACLU lead plaintiffs have a real predicament relative to standing. It does not sound as if the Federal Circuit believed any single plaintiff could satisfy both prongs required to bring a Declaratory Judgment Action, and rather were trying to say we have some plaintiffs with first prong evidence and some with second prong evidence. Simply put, that dog doesn’t hunt, at least not under current law relative to standing. Thus, there seems a real chance that the entire case could be thrown out because no plaintiff has standing.

Microsoft i4i Oral Arguments Complete at Supreme Court

Hungar would go on to say that the clear and convincing standard “makes no sense,” which nearly immediately drew the first comment from the bench with Justice Ginsburg saying that it would be difficult to say the standard makes no sense when it was supported by Justice Cardozo and Judge Rich. Ginsberg would later, in a nearly annoyed way, say “then you have to be saying that Judge Rich got it wrong…” Hungar cut off Justice Ginsburg, not typically a wise move.

Federal Circuit Orders Transfers Verizon out of Eastern Texas

With respect to Verizon et al, the petitioners moved to transfer the case to the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, which is approximately 150 miles away from the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. The motion was initially denied by a Magistrate Judge. In his decision, the Magistrate agreed with the petitioners that the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division would likely be more convenient for the parties and the witnesses, and he even noted that a number of party witnesses resided within 100 miles of Dallas and no witness resided within 100 miles of Marshall, Texas. Let’s let that sit for a moment, shall we? It was determined that the Northern District would be more convenient for the parties and witnesses and that not a single witness lived within 100 miles of the Eastern District of Texas, yet the motion to transfer was denied?

Federal Circuit Grants Writ of Mandamus in False Marking Case

Seeking a writ of mandamus seems as if it is becoming a more popular avenue to pursue than it once might have been. A writ of mandamus essentially seeks an order from a higher court to direct a lower court to follow the law. They are extraordinary remedies because they come well before the case is over, which means that an ordinary appeal cannot be taken at that point; appeals are only typically allowed for final adjudications. Notwithstanding the extraordinary nature of a mandamus request, earlier today the Federal Circuit issued a writ of mandamus requiring a district court to dismiss a false marking lawsuit because the complaint did not contain allegations sufficient to allow the plaintiff to appeal. Essentially, even if each and everything in the complaint were believed the plaintiff could not possibly be entitled to a recovery. Kudos to the Federal Circuit for standing up and getting rid of a frivolous lawsuit initiated by an obviously defective complaint.

Part 2: Don Dunner on CAFC Judges & Future CAFC Candidates

In this second installment of my interview with Don Dunner, the dean of CAFC appellate advocates, we talk about which judges on the Federal Circuit ask the most difficult questions, who he thinks are capable candidates for future federal circuit vacancies, why the Federal Circuit was created as a specialty court, continued hostility toward a purely specialty court and Congressman Issa’s attempt to create a pseudo-specialty trial court for patent issues. We also touch upon the familiar fun questions and learn that one of Dunner’s favorite movies is a well known courtroom comedy.

Abbot Wins Federal Circuit Reversal of $1.67B Patent Verdict

The largest patent infringement verdict in U.S. history did not stand the test of time at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After a five-day trial, the jury found Abbott liable for willful infringement. The jury rejected Abbott’s argument that the asserted claims were invalid, and awarded Centocor over $1.67 billion in damages. The Federal Circuit reversed and held that the asserted claims were invalid for failure to meet the statutory written description requirement, erasing the $1.67 billion verdict.

KSR Fears Realized: CAFC Off the Obviousness Deep End

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a split decision with Judge Lourie writing and Judge Bryson joining, took a step forward in the evolution of the law of obviousness that confirms my worst fears about obviousness in this post-KSR era. It has been argued by many that even after KSR it is not an appropriate rejection, or reason to invalidate an issued claim, that it would be “common sense” to modify elements within the prior art in a wholly new way and then combine the “common sense” modifications. I did agree that was true, at least until yesterday.

A New Doctrine of Equivalents? CAFC Defines “Use” Under §271

I wonder why we are discussing the definition of “use” under § 271(a) at all. It would seem that the Federal Circuit is potentially broadening the definition of “use” under § 271(a) in a manner that expands direct infringement to start to include those types of things that normally would have been infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Of course, the Supreme Court in Festo together with the Federal Circuit in Honeywell International Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation have eviscerated the doctrine of equivalents to the point of its non-existence. Perhaps Centillion v. Qwest, NTP and other cases yet to come will breathe new life into the theory under the guise of a direct infringement “use” of a system under § 271(a).

How About a Patent Attorney for the Federal Circuit?

In looking at the cases filed at the Federal Circuit during 2010, 42% of the docket for the CAFC were patent cases. At the moment, the three judges who are patent attorneys on the Federal Circuit are all on active status, and by that I mean are not on senior status. Judges Newman and Lourie, however, currently qualify to move to senior status or retire, and in a matter of a few years Judge Linn could elect senior status, or to retire, as well. Thus, moving forward in the not too distant future there could be a time when none of the judges active on the Federal Circuit would be patent attorneys by training and experience. This, in my opinion, would not be at all wise.