Posts Tagged: "claim construction"

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.

CAFC: Parties Joined in IPRs are Not Estopped from Raising New Invalidity Grounds in District Court

On September 24, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas’s claim construction and remanded to the district court in Network-1 Technologies, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Company. In particular, the CAFC concluded that the district court erred in construing the claim term “main power source” and held that a party joined to an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding is not estopped from raising new invalidity grounds in district court, since the joinder provision does not allow parties to raise grounds not already instituted. The CAFC ultimately affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, vacated and remanded the district court’s judgment for a new trial on infringement.

Acer v. Intellisoft Petition Rebukes CAFC for Disrespecting SCOTUS Precedent, Ignoring District Court

Greenberg Traurig and The Rader Group – which is headed by retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Randall Rader – have submitted a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Acer America Corp. asking the Court to review the CAFC’s precedential opinion in Intellisoft v. Acer. On April 3, the CAFC held that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (the district court) erred in refusing to remand a case to California state court where removal to a district court was improper under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and §1454. Despite Acer’s contentions, the CAFC found that Intellisoft’s trade secret misappropriation claim did not “necessarily” raise patent law issues that would result in district court original jurisdiction.

Federal Circuit Vacates District Court Invalidity Judgment Based on Judicial Estoppel

On August 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ claim construction in Egenera, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., but vacated the court’s invalidity judgment based on judicial estoppel and remanded for further proceedings. Egenera, Inc. (Egenera) owned U.S. Patent No. 7,231,430 (the ’430 patent), which was based on a provisional patent application filed in 2001 and was directed to a platform for automatically deploying a scalable and reconfigurable virtual network. In 2016, Egenera filed suit against Cisco in the district court for infringement of the ’430 patent. Cisco then filed an inter partes review (IPR) Petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenging the validity of the asserted claims.

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Claim Construction in Foundation Pile Patent Infringement Dispute

The United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit recently upheld the Central District of California’s ruling of summary judgment that certain accused products of Foundation Constructors, Inc. and Foundation Pile, Inc. (Foundation) do not infringe certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,914,236 (the ’236 patent) and 9,284,708 (the ’708 patent) (collectively, the patents-in-suit) after plaintiffs-appellants Steve Neville, Substructure Support, Inc., and TDP Support, Inc. (collectively, Substructure) appealed the district court’s ruling, as based on an improper claim construction. See Neville v. Found. Constructors, Inc., No. 2020-1132, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 27321 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 27, 2020) (Before Lourie, O’Malley, and Chen, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the Court, Chen, Circuit Judge).

Federal Circuit Remands District Court Decision for Erroneous Claim Construction

On August 27, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in Baxalta Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. The CAFC reversed the district court’s claim construction of the terms “antibody” and “antibody fragment” in Baxalta’s patent claims and remanded for proceedings consistent with the correct constructions.

VoIP-Pal Implores Full CAFC to Review Whether a Rule 12 Motion Based on Section 101 Can Be Decided Before Claim Construction

Last week,, Inc. filed a combined petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) asking for review of a Rule 36 judgment in VoIP-Pal.Com, Inc. v. Twitter, Inc. That judgment affirmed a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that resolved a claim construction dispute in the context of a motion to dismiss under Section 101 as per Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prior to claim construction. In the petition, VoIP-Pal asserted that the Rule 36 judgment conflicted with CAFC precedent and “the time has come for this court to reconsider whether a Rule 12 motion based on §101 should be decided before claim construction.”

CAFC Partially Reverses PTAB on Claim Construction Analysis, Says Prosecution History Matters

The Federal Circuit on Friday reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision holding certain claims of Personalized Media Communications, LLC’s (PMC’s) U.S. Patent No. 8,191,091 (the ’091 Patent) unpatentable on anticipation and obviousness grounds but affirmed the decision as to the remaining claims. The Court found that the Board erred in its claim construction of one of the claim terms at issue due to its dismissal of the prosecution history. The Board rejected PMC’s reliance on the prosecution history, stating “the prosecution history presents a murky picture as opposed to a clear waiver.” The Federal Circuit disagreed with this approach and found that the prosecution history statements supported PMC’s interpretation and construction of the phrase “encrypted digital information transmission.”

On Claim Construction, Predictability, and Patent Law Consistency: The Federal Circuit Needs to Vote En Banc

The Federal Circuit needs to go en banc more often. That is the unmistakable lesson not just in light of the Supreme Court’s recent denials of certiorari on the hot questions of patent law, such as Section 101 and its application to diagnostic testing, or to whether Section 101 involves underlying factual questions. It is also tied into the very reason that Congress created the court in 1982: to provide predictability, stability, and clarity for the U.S. patent laws and system. Without these attributes, the patent system suffers—who, after all, wants to invest in patents where the governing rules are unclear or unpredictable?

Recent USPTO Update Provides Blueprint for PTAB Patent Challenge Process

Since the passing of the America Invents Act (AIA) and the implementation of the inter partes review (IPR) process, IPR has become a popular and important avenue for companies and individuals to challenge the validity of a patent in an administrative proceeding through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In the past five years, patent owners and challengers alike have presented new and sometimes novel challenges to the way the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), comprised of a panel of administrative law judges that review and decide cases, conduct trial proceedings, causing the PTAB to reevaluate and tweak the process along the way. Building on the scores of changes and interpretations the PTAB has made since the first AIA trial, the USPTO provided guidance in August 2018 and more recently in July 2019 summarizing and clarifying how the PTAB handles the IPR process.  On November 20, 2019, the Patent Office issued a consolidated Office Patent Trial Practice Guide (“Practice Guide”) incorporating the updates from August 2018 and July 2019, providing practitioners with a single streamlined blueprint for the overall review process.