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Posts Tagged: "disclaimer"

Prosecution and Litigation Implications of Subsequent Patent Applications (Part IV)

In Part I of this series, the authors reviewed the law behind subsequent patent applications. In Part II, we reviewed the different types of subsequent applications. Part III discussed some of the implications of these for prosecution and litigation, and Part IV will examine some further implications. In the fifth and final installment in this series, we will distill all of the information covered to provide concrete practice tips for practitioners.

Prosecution Disclaimer 101: Argument relied upon by examiner results in prosecution disclaimer

The PTAB found the claims in question obvious for two reasons. First, in its primary ruling the PTAB held that there was no prosecution disclaimer, finding the “single entry” limitation of the claims to include text selection by a user, which was clearly within the prior art. The PTAB reasoned that claims these claims were not limited by the prosecution record, but to do this the PTAB had to ignore both the patent examiner’s Reasons for Allowance and the argument made by the applicant in the Remarks. Rather inexplicably, citing Sorensen v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 427 F.3d 1375, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2005), the PTAB ruled that it is up to the applicant to disclaim scope, not the examiner. But such a rationale simply ignored the facts on the record, namely that the reason the examiner explained the claims were allowed was precisely because of the argument made in the Remarks. Therefore, it was the applicant that specifically gave up that claim scope, as required to establish a prosecution disclaimer.

Disclaimer Before Institution of IPR Results In Adverse Judgment And Estoppel

A disclaimer of challenged patent claims before an IPR is instituted may result in a final adverse judgment against the patent owner, triggering estoppel provisions that preclude the assertion of other claims that are not patentably distinct from those disclaimed… Judge Newman dissented, explaining that because no trial occurred, the Board had no authority to issue an adverse judgment.

Statements Made by Patent Owner During IPR Can Support Finding of Prosecution Disclaimer

In the case of Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding of summary judgment for Apple Inc. (“Apple”). The Court held that statements made by a patent owner during an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding, whether before or after an institution decision, can be relied upon to support a finding of prosecution disclaimer… To invoke prosecution disclaimer, the statements must constitute a clear and unmistakable surrender of claim scope. If a prosecution argument is subject to more than one reasonable interpretation, it cannot rise to the level of a clear and unmistakable disclaimer.

Federal Circuit: Disclaimer based on arguments actually made, not those that could have been made

The scope of surrender is not limited to what is necessary to overcome the prior art reference. Instead, patentees may surrender more than is required to overcome the prior art… Thus, the question is what a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand to have been disclaimed based on the argument actually made, not what one of ordinary skill in the art would have thought was necessary to disclaim the prior art identified. Ultimately, because of the breadth of the disclaimer, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s construction relative to the first disclaimer.

Form Over Substance: CAFC Kills Patent Due to Paralegal Mistake

Every once in a while you stumble across a situation where what is fair seems obvious. At those moments we are all too frequently reminded that we do not have a fairness system, but rather we have a justice system. Which is one way to say that I think the Federal Circuit made a terribly poor decision; one that flies in the face of common sense, and frankly common decency. If the legal system cannot fix a mistake like this before the mistake has even been made public then the system is broken