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Posts Tagged: "claim construction"

CAFC Nixes District Court Claim Construction in Win for Firearms Patent Owner

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Friday ruled that a California district court erred in its claim construction relating to Evolusion Concepts, Inc.’s patent for a method of converting a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine to one with a fixed magazine. The CAFC reversed the court’s grant of summary judgment of non-infringement for Juggernaut Tactical, Inc., reversed a denial of summary judgment of direct infringement, vacated the award of attorneys’ fees and remanded for further proceedings.

Claim Construction in Bankruptcy Court? Revisiting Vacatur in Patent Litigation

While many patent litigators have no plans to litigate in bankruptcy court, it is a possibility if the infringer of a client’s patent files for bankruptcy. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin recently conducted a Markman hearing. How did that happen?  After being sued for patent infringement in district court, the alleged infringer sought refuge in the bankruptcy court, staying the district court litigation. The plaintiff then filed a claim in the defendant’s bankruptcy case, which ultimately triggered the bankruptcy court’s jurisdiction. While rare, other bankruptcy courts have conducted claim construction proceedings. As discussed herein, the bankruptcy court ultimately granted a joint request for vacatur, prompting us to revisit the doctrine of vacatur.

CAFC Affirms Eastern Texas Rulings of Noninfringement for Telecom Companies

On October 12, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued two related precedential opinions affirming the decisions of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, holding that neither Verizon Wireless and Sprint Communications nor Nokia Solutions infringed Traxcell Technologies LLC’s patents. raxcell sued Verizon and Sprint for infringing four of its patents, all of which share a specification and a 2001 priority date. The four patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,977,284 (the ‘284 patent), 9,5,10,320 (the ‘320 patent), 9,642,024 (the ‘024 patent), and 9,549,388 (the ‘388 patent). In a separate suit, Traxcell sued Nokia for infringing the ‘284, the ‘320, and the ‘024 patents.

The claims of three of the four patents at issue—the ‘284, 320, and ‘024 patents (collectively the SON patents)—are related to self-optimizing network (SON) technology for making “corrective actions” to improve communications between a wireless device and a network.

CAFC Reverses PTAB Win for St. Jude, Finding Snyders’ Heart Valve Claims Not Unpatentable

On October 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that Snyders Heart Valve LLC’s (Snyders) patent claims for an artificial heart valve were unpatentable. The court said the PTAB relied on an erroneous claim construction. The CAFC previously vacated and remanded the appeal after only reaching Snyders’ argument under the Appointments Clause following its decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. The U.S. government sought certiorari to challenge the remand, and after its decision in United States v. Arthrex Inc. (U.S. Supreme Court, 2021), the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the CAFC and remanded the matter back. Snyders waived the Appointments Clause challenge and asked the CAFC to consider the merits of the case on remand.

‘Grand Theft Auto’ Game Makers Score Win at CAFC with Non-Infringement Ruling

On October 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed-in-part the claim construction and summary judgment of non-infringement ruling made by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and dismissed-in-part Acceleration Bay LLC’s appeal against the makers of the Grand Theft Auto video game as moot. In July of 2000, Acceleration Bay filed four patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,701,344 (the ‘344 patent), 6,714,966 (the ‘966 patent), 6,910,069 (the ‘069 patent) and 6,920,497 (the ‘497 patent). The patents are unrelated but share a similar specification disclosing a networking technology that allegedly improves upon prior methods of communication. Specifically, the patents disclose a “broadcasting technique in which a broadcast channel overlays a point-to-point communication network.”

In Win For Google, CAFC Holds Patentees May Not Bend Claim Terms to Fit Their Needs

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, holding Google LLC did not infringe patents held by Data Engine Technologies LLC (DET). DET sued Google for infringing certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; and 6,282,551 (the Tab Patents). The Tab Patents are directed to systems and methods for displaying and navigating three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets by use of user customizable “notebook tabs” on a spreadsheet interface. The prior art discussed in this trio of patents explained that “three-dimensionality, as presently implemented, is an advanced feature beyond the grasp of many spreadsheet users.” ‘259 patent col. 3 ll. 9-11. Accordingly, the Tab Patents explain, prior art spreadsheets require the user to manipulate each individual spreadsheet within a three-dimensional spreadsheet as an individual window in a graphical window environment. By contrast, the Tab Patents recite notebook tabs that allow the user to simply “flip through” several pages of the notebook to rapidly locate information.

Federal Circuit: PTAB Failed to Provide Adequate Notice of Sua Sponte Claim Construction

In a precedential opinion authored by chief Judge Moore, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today vacated and remanded six Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) final written decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings filed by Intel that found Qualcomm’s patent claims 1–15, 17–25, and 27–33 of U.S. Patent No. 9,608,675 would have been obvious. While the CAFC agreed with the PTAB’s construction of one of the claims, which Qualcomm had challenged, it ultimately held that the Board violated Qualcomm’s procedural rights under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for failing to provide the company “adequate notice of and opportunity to respond to its sua sponte claim construction.”

CAFC Affirms District Court Ruling for Amazon on Claim Construction

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s final judgment of noninfringement of SpeedTrack’s (Plaintiff-Appellant) patent U.S. Patent No. 5,544,360 (the ‘360 patent). SpeedTrack sued online retailers AMAZON.COM, BESTBUY.COM, LLC, OFFICEMAX, INC., MACY’S, INC., MACYS.COM, LLC and many others for infringement of its category-based filing system. The ultimate decision weighed on the district court’s construction of claims and whether or not the ‘360 patent had a hierarchical structure. The district court construed the claims to not have a hierarchical structure and determined that defendants-cross-appellants did not infringe. The CAFC, with Judge Prost writing for the court, agreed.

CAFC Affirms PTAB Finding that Certain Uniloc Claims are Invalid, But Says Apple Failed to Prove Other Claims Unpatentable

On May 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB/ Board) in an inter partes review (IPR), holding the PTAB properly construed the claim language.

In April 2018, Apple Inc. filed a petition for IPR, alleging that all 25 claims of U.S. Patent No.  8,539,552 (“the ‘552 patent”) owned by Uniloc 2017 LLC were unpatentable. Apple Inc. v. Uniloc 2017 LLC, No. IPR2018-00884, Petition at 1 (P.T.A.B.). During the IPR, the PTAB held claims 1-17 and 23-25 of the ‘552 invalid for obviousness in view of U.S. Patent No. 6,324,279 (“Kalmanek”). Uniloc then appealed the decision. On appeal, Uniloc argued that the Board’s decision to invalidate the claims of the ‘552 patent resulted from an erroneous construction of a claim term. In its cross-appeal, Apple argued that the PTAB erred in holding that Apple failed to show the remaining claims of the ‘552 patent, claims 18-22, would have been obvious in view of Kalmanek. The CAFC upheld the PTAB on all issues.

CAFC Corrects District Court Claim Construction, Doctrine of Equivalents Analysis in Diaper Genie Infringement Case

On March 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) vacated and reversed the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of defendant Munchkin, Inc. (Munchkin) for noninfringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,899,420 (the ‘420 patent) and 6,974,029 (the ‘029 patent), held by plaintiffs Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC and International Refills Company, Ltd. (collectively Edgewell). Edgewell manufactures and sells the Diaper Genie, a diaper pail system with two main components: 1) a pail for collection of soiled diapers; and 2) a replaceable cassette within the pail that forms a wrapper around the soiled diapers. The ‘420 and ‘029 patents relate to improvements in the cassette design. Edgewell filed suit against Munchkin for infringement of these patents for selling refill cassettes marketed as being compatible with Edgewell’s Diaper Genie. Edgewell appealed the district court’s decision to grant summary judgment to Munchkin for noninfringement of both patents.

CAFC Partially Vacates PTAB for Legal Error in ‘Reasonable Expectation of Success’ Analysis

On January 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed in-part and vacated in-part a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in its inter partes review of claims 1—20 of U.S. Patent No. 8,370,106 (the ‘106 patent) assigned to KEYnetik, Inc. (KEYnetik). Judge O’Malley concurred in part and dissented in part. In particular, the CAFC concluded that the PTAB did not err in its claim construction regarding an orientation detection limitation and a sequence limitation. Further, the CAFC affirmed the PTAB’s decision that the Petitioner’s references could be combined. However, the CAFC also found that the PTAB failed to properly assess the appellant’s argument regarding a reasonable expectation of success when combining references and therefore vacated the decision and remanded the case so that the Board could make such a determination.

PTAB Will Use Nautilus Approach to Indefiniteness for Post-Grant Proceedings

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued binding indefiniteness guidance in a memorandum from Director Andrei Iancu that addresses confusion about which indefiniteness standard applies in post-grant proceedings: the standard set forth in In re Packard, 751 F.3d 1307 (Fed. Cir. 2014) or in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 572 U.S. 898 (2014). Specifically, the memorandum confirms that the standard in Nautilus is the correct approach for analyzing indefiniteness in America Invents Act (AIA) post-grant proceedings.

Federal Circuit Reverses Holding of Infringement Based on Faulty Claim Construction

On January 5, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejecting the district court’s claim construction and holding that Hong Kong uCloudlink Network (uCloudlink) was entitled to summary judgment of non-infringement (SIMO Holdings Inc. v. Hong Kong uCloudlink Network). In particular, the CAFC concluded that the district court erred in not requiring the disputed claim to require two or more non-local calls databases and held that SIMO did not identify a triable issue on the question of whether the accused products lack a non-local calls database.

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Interference Decision Based on Claim Construction; Newman Dissents

On November 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), concluding that the PTAB did not err in its construction of a disputed claim limitation and affirming the PTAB’s judgment in favor of the University of Wyoming Research Corporation (Wyoming). Chevron U.S.A, Inc. v. University of Wyoming Research. Circuit Judge Newman wrote a separate dissenting opinion, arguing that the PTAB “erred at the threshold,” and there was no interference in fact.

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Finding that Immunex Antibody Patent is Obvious

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Tuesday affirmed an invalidity decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in Immunex Corporation v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC. Considering the intrinsic and extrinsic evidence, the CAFC agreed with the PTAB’s construction of the disputed claim term, “human antibodies,” and affirmed the holding that the patent in suit was invalid as obvious.