Posts Tagged: "CAFC"

Stinging CAFC Dissent from Denial of Biogen Rehearing Petition Accuses Majority of Muddying Written Description

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today denied rehearing and rehearing en banc to Biogen International, which had petitioned the court following a November decision  affirming a district court ruling that Biogen’s patent for a method of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) was invalid for lack of written description. Three judges split from the majority, with Judges Lourie, Moore and Newman dissenting on the denial of en banc rehearing. Judge O’Malley had dissented from the November panel decision, but she retired on March 11, 2022, and only participated in the decision on panel rehearing.

CAFC Delivers Guidance on Presumption of Obviousness, Negative Claim Limitations in Win for Generic Drugmaker

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled on Monday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) correctly held certain claims of Almirall, LLC’s U.S. Patent 9,517,219 for an acne treatment invalid as obvious. Almirall appealed the PTAB’s final decision in IPR2018-00608, in which the Board had found that the ‘219 patent, which covers methods of treating acne or rosacea, would have been obvious over the prior art at the time of invention.

CAFC Affirms PTAB Ruling that Ballistic Parachute System Patent Claims Are Obvious

On March 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) obviousness determination and its denial of patent owner Hoyt Fleming’s motion to amend the asserted claims of the U.S. Patent No. RE47,474. Cirrus Design Corp. petitioned for inter partes review of multiple claims, including claims 135-139, of the ’474 patent. During the proceeding, Fleming moved to amend, seeking to replace the asserted claims with proposed substitute claims. The Board concluded that claims 137-139 were unpatentable as obvious over the combination of Cirrus Design’s Pilot Operation Handbook for the SR22, Revision A7, (Oct. 10, 2003) (POH) and U.S. Patent No. 6,460,810 (James). The Board further found that Fleming’s proposed amended claims did not meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for patentability because they lacked written description support and thus constituted new matter. On appeal, Fleming argued the Board erred in determining that the asserted claims are unpatentable and in denying his motion to amend.

Federal Circuit Further Defines the Scope of Patent Venue

Recently, in In Re: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) further defined the level of control a defendant must exercise over an in-district agent to establish patent venue – i.e., where a case can be filed. The Federal Circuit held that the requisite control a principal must establish over its alleged agent in order to establish venue is “interim control”: day-to-day control over the manner of carrying out the specific actions for which the alleged agency relationship exists. Accordingly, in reversing the lower court, the Federal Circuit held that the dealerships in question were not agents of Hyundai or Volkswagen for the purposes of selling cars to consumers and providing warranty services. 

CAFC Corrects Albright on Transfer Again, Granting Mandamus to Volkswagen and Hyundai

Just as some sources had begun to speculate that Judge Alan Albright had received the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) message on transfer—in light of a slew of decisions reversing his refusals to move cases out of his court—the CAFC yesterday granted two more petitions for mandamus relief, holding the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas clearly abused its discretion in not granting a change of venue.

In December 2020, StratosAudio, Inc. (Stratos) filed patent infringement complaints in the Western District of Texas against Volkswagen and Hyundai (the Petitioners) which are incorporated in New Jersey and California, respectively. The two cases were consolidated on appeal. Since both Volkswagen and Hyundai reside outside of the Western District of Texas, the two companies moved to dismiss or transfer the cases under 28 U.S.C. §1406(a) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3).

CAFC Affirms ITC Denial of Broadcom’s Request for Ban on Renesas Products Under Section 337

On March 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed decisions by the International Trade Commission (the Commission) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board or PTAB) both 1) declining to ban Renesas Electronics Corporation and other companies from importing into the United States products alleged to infringe upon Broadcom Corporation’s two patents and 2) finding certain claims of Broadcom’s patents obvious. Broadcom filed a complaint at the Commission alleging a violation of 19 U.S.C. § 1337 (Section 337) based on the importation of products by Renesas and other companies that are asserted to infringe U.S. Patents 7,437,583 and 7,512,752. Broadcom’s ’583 patent is “directed to reducing power consumption in computer systems by ‘gating’ clock signals with circuit elements to turn the signals ON and OFF for downstream parts of the circuit.” The ’752 patent is “directed to a memory access unit that improves upon conventional methods of requesting data located at different addresses within a shared memory.”

Forum Selection Clauses May Bar an IPR

Almost anyone can, by statute, request an inter partes review (IPR) of an issued patent, but may limit their right to do so contractually, such as through licensing agreements or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These agreements may contain clauses that limit the forum in which any dispute between the parties can be litigated. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) itself has consistently declined to enforce such forum selection clauses, finding that it lacks authority to enforce contracts between the parties, and, in any case, its jurisdiction is statutory and not limited by private agreements between the parties. However, in Nippon Shinyaku Co. v. Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that a petitioner was barred from bringing an IPR as a result of a contractual agreement with the patent owner.

Judge Michel Asks Supreme Court to Grant Petition in USR v. Apple to Save U.S. Innovation

On March 2, amicus briefs were presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of petitioner Universal Secure Registry’s (USR’s) appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which challenges that court’s application of the Alice/Mayo framework on Section 101 subject matter patent eligibility in invalidating patent claims owned by USR. Both amicus filings urge the Supreme Court to rein in the Federal Circuit’s expansive application of Alice/Mayo, which has gone far beyond the original bounds intended by the Court. One of those briefs is made even more persuasive by the fact that it was authored by Judge Paul R. Michel, the former Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit.

Federal Circuit Upholds $6 Million ITC Civil Penalty After Subsequent Invalidation of Claims

On March 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)’s determination that the civil penalty imposed on DBN Holding, Inc. and BDN LLC did not require modification or rescission following the subsequent invalidation of the asserted claims. The ITC imposed this civil penalty against DBN for violating a consent order that prohibited unfair trade acts of infringement involving the now invalidated claims.

CAFC Reversal Allows APA Claim Against USPTO to Proceed

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a decision of the U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirming the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director’s vacatur of ex parte reexamination proceedings based on the estoppel provision of the inter partes review (IPR) regime. In 2015, Vivint, Inc. sued Alarm.com for infringement of three patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,147,601 (the ‘601 patent), 6,462,654 (the ‘654 patent), and 6,535,123 (the ‘123 patent). In response, Alarm.com filed several petitions for IPR, which culminated in three final written decisions in 2017. On review, the CAFC affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that Alarm.com had failed to satisfy its burden of proving unpatentable claim 19 of the ‘601 patent, claim 18 of the ‘123 patent and claims 17,18, 22, 25, and 28 of the ‘654 patent.

CAFC Clarifies Ruling on IPR Estoppel in Errata on Caltech v. Broadcom

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a patent infringement suit filed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) against Broadcom Limited, Broadcom Corporation, and Avago Technologies (collectively “Broadcom) and Apple Inc. As part of that decision, the CAFC affirmed the district court’s decision barring raising invalidity challenges based on known prior art after an IPR litigation. The court took the opportunity to overrule Shaw Industries Group, Inc. v. Automated Creel Systems, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016) and clarify that estoppel applies to claims and grounds not in the IPR but which reasonably could have been included in the petition. On February 22, however, the CAFC published an errata to that opinion. While it did not include its reasoning for the clarification to the February 4 precedential opinion, the original opinion referenced the statute on estoppel, 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2), which addresses estoppel as a result of an IPR on a per claim basis rather than a per patent basis.

As Judge Stark Ascends to the Federal Circuit, a Look Back at His 2018 Ruling in American Axle

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Judge Leonard P. Stark to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit bench has great importance to the world of patent law as this is the U.S. federal court of appeal with specialized subject matter jurisdiction over all patent cases arising in U.S. district court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Judge Stark was confirmed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 61-35 vote, reported to be one of the most bipartisan confirmation votes thus far into the Biden Administration. Perhaps chief among Judge Stark’s qualifications that inspired such confidence in his nomination at the Senate was his previous position as U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware. Serving as the Chief Judge of that district court since 2014, Judge Stark’s docket has seen more than 2,400 patent cases filed since he joined the District of Delaware back in 2010.

Original Claims to Award-Winning Wireless Mic Tech Found Obvious at CAFC, But Narrowed Claims Upheld

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) agreed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) decision that the original claims of Zaxcom’s U.S. Patent No. 9,336,307 for Engineering Emmy® and technical OSCAR award-winning wireless microphone technology were unpatentable as obvious. However, the court upheld the substitute claims Zaxcom had proposed. Zaxcom appealed the PTAB’s decision on the original claims in May of 2020, arguing that the PTAB misconstrued the patent claims and failed to properly consider evidence of industry praise.

CAFC Affirms District Court Finding that Dual-Access Lock Patents are Invalid Under 101

On February 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Eastern District of New York’s grant of summary judgment that inventor David Tropp’s patents were invalid because they claim ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The appeal was brought by Tropp against Travel Sentry, Inc. and other lock and luggage makers. The asserted claims relate to U.S. Patent Nos. 7,021,537 (the ’537 patent) and 7,036,728 (‘728 patent). Representative claim 1 of the ’537 patent relates to a method of making available a dual-access lock having a combination-lock portion and a master-key-lock portion. The dual-access lock allegedly enables travelers to lock their bags while still allowing luggage screeners to access luggage (with a marked lock) with a master key.

Federal Circuit Denies Mandamus in Due Process Violations Case Against Big Tech Companies

The CAFC on Friday, February 11, denied a petition for writ of mandamus filed by B.E. Technology in November of last year asking the court to intervene to “prevent an unconstitutional deprivation of B.E.’s property rights in the onslaught of IPR proceedings that have been brought to challenge the validity of its most critical patents.” B.E. has been embroiled in litigation with big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google for close to a decade now. The CAFC said in its denial that “B.E. has not shown a clear right to a different result here by relying primarily on a self-published article that is outside of the record.”