Posts Tagged: "Guest Contributor"

Pumping the Brakes on IP Infringement in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Industry

With leading-edge, tech-savvy companies in the internet, social networking, and e-retailing space often dominating headlines nationwide, it is easy to overlook the myriad businesses competing in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (“FMCG”) industry, and to dismiss them as somewhat out-of-touch with the modern consumer. However, FMCG companies have combined revenues nearly on par with those in the more highly-publicized technology-based sectors, and have been thriving in the retail space for decades. IP Rights are critically important in the FMCG industry because businesses operating in this sector rely heavily on brand awareness and brandy loyalty for their success. It makes sense then that IP Rights are pivotal in any FMCG company’s long-term strategy for success.

Restricted Sales Do Not Exhaust Patent Rights Under Supreme Court Rulings

The Federal Circuit took the case en banc to review the applicability of the patent exhaustion doctrine under Mallinckrodt and Jazz Photo, in view of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Quanta and Kirtsaeng. The Federal Circuit affirmed the holdings in Mallinckrodt and Jazz Photo, and distinguished them from the Supreme Court’s decisions. In Quanta, the Supreme Court was reviewing whether a patentee’s rights in a product were exhausted by a licensee’s sale of a product.

CAFC: Defendant had no notice of intent to pursue patent rights in US after foreign proceedings

Each week, we succinctly summarize the preceding week of Federal Circuit precedential patent opinions. We provide the pertinent facts, issues, and holdings. Our Review allows you to keep abreast of the Federal Circuit’s activities – important for everyone concerned with intellectual property. We welcome any feedback you may provide. – Joe Robinson, Bob Schaffer, Parker Hancock, and Puja Dave 83-2.…

Federal Circuit Vacates Board’s IPR Decision on Patentability of Substitute Claims

Finally, the Court held that the Board’s denial of Nike’s motion to amend for failure to show patentable distinction over “prior art not of record but known to the patent owner” was improper. The Court held that the Board’s finding that Nike’s “conclusory statement” was “factually inadequate” under its interpretation of the Idle Free decision was too rigid and was an improper ground to deny Nike’s motion. Accordingly the Court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the decision to the district court.

Established Automakers Not Yielding to Technology Companies on Autonomous Cars

Thomson Reuters analysts put their research in high gear to quantify just who the major players in this space are with the “2016 State of Self-Driving Automotive Innovation.” Data was aggregated from the Derwent World Patents Index® collection to identify global patent activity and the total number of unique inventions issued in published patent applications and granted patents were analyzed from January 2010 through October 31, 2015. The findings detail a notable commitment from carmakers and tech companies to advance driverless technology, while uncovering the fact that established automakers are the most likely to have the biggest impact in the self-driving category in the near term.

CAFC Dismisses Inter Partes Reexamination Appeal By a Party Who was Not Initial Requester

Waters argued that Agilent could not appeal, because Aurora was the third-party requester of the reexamination, not Agilent. The Court held that the relevant question was whether Agilent was a member of a class of litigants that may enforce a legislatively created right under 35 U.S. C. § 141 (reexamination appeals). If so, that party has a ‘cause of action’ under the statute, and this cause of action was a necessary element of his ‘claim.’ See Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228, 239 (1979). The Court held that both 35 U.S. C. § 141 and 35 U.S. C. § 315(b) confirm that the right to appeal an adverse reexamination decision is reserved only to patent owners and third-party requesters.

Communication Techniques to Get Prompt Client Instructions

Many of my clients are not patent specialists. Providing an opinion will help them in deciding on the action to take. Uncertainty about what to do often leads to procrastination by the client, which I want to avoid. Finally, the call to action is simply a sentence asking for client instructions. I used to finish my client communications with “Please provide instructions at your earliest convenience/by some date”. I found that this was too vague and demanded too much effort to process. When the client is at the end of the email, he is often starting to think about the next thing to do on his agenda. I use much more precise calls to action, such as “Please confirm that you will pay the next maintenance fee” or “Let me know if you want me to prepare a response to the office action”.

Questions Corporate Counsel Should Ask to Get Maximum Value from E-Discovery

The volume of electronic data and the costs involved in collecting, culling and reviewing electronically stored information (ESI) are critical considerations in any litigation, large or small. Parties to a lawsuit are inevitably faced with significant litigation costs, due in large part to the burden of responding to overly broad discovery requests relating to ESI. To maximize the value of the e-discovery process, corporate counsel should ask how outside counsel plans to efficiently analyze ESI and reduce the expenses associated with e-discovery. Here are some specific questions to consider.

Will the Supreme Court Save Apple from Itself?

The victory, if it stands, will encourage more design patent infringement claims, and Apple will likely find itself defending against similar suits in the not so distant future. On December 14, Samsung filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal in the case. Given the economics of future litigation, Apple might quietly hope that the Court takes the opportunity to articulate the appropriate standard for awarding total profit damages for infringement.

CAFC: Obvious even if it meant foregoing benefits of prior art

The Court affirmed the obviousness rejection. “As the Board properly found, one of ordinary skill would have been motivated to pursue the desirable properties taught by Wong [a shorter reaction time like Urbanski’s], even if that meant foregoing the benefit [of more stable fibers from a longer reaction time] taught by Gross.” One of ordinary skill could have been motivated to modify Gross in view of Wong to achieve the desired effects.

Federal Circuit Reverses District Court on Direct and Induced Infringement

The Court agreed, noting testimony from Cisco’s engineer who stated that the system needed only one copy of the protocol to support all devices. Commil’s expert opined that the protocol was a state machine, and since Cisco’s devices tracked separate information regarding their communication states, each communication state represented a copy of the protocol that was unique. The Court disagreed, finding that tracking separate states for each device was not substantial evidence that each device ran a separate copy of the protocol.

Printed Matter Doctrine Implicates Matter That Is Claimed for What it Communicates

The Court held that printed matter must be claimed for what it communicates, and it is only afforded patentable weight if the claimed informational content has a functional or structural relation to the substrate. In this case, the Court held that the Board erred in finding that the origins of the web assets made them printed subject matter, because nothing in the claim called for the origin to be part of the web asset.

Fitbit alleges patent infringement in growing market for fitness tracking devices

On November 2, 2015, San Francisco-based Fitbit Inc. filed a Section 337 complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against AliphCom (d/b/a Jawbone) and BodyMedia, Inc. (Investigation No. ITC-337-3096). In a parallel proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, Case No. 1:15-CV-00990, Fitbit alleged infringement of three patents assigned to Fitbit—namely, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,920,332 (titled Wearable Heart Rate Monitor); 8,868,377 (titled Portable Monitoring Devices and Methods of Operating Same); and 9,089,760 (titled System and Method for Activating a Device Based on a Record of Physical Activity). According to the district court complaint, Jawbone’s products associated with components of its UP series of trackers indirectly infringe the patents-at-issue. Fitbit hopes that it will be successful in preventing the import and sale in America of wearable activity tracking devices sold by Jawbone by requesting the ITC to issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

Innovation A, B, C’s: Amazon, Boehringer and Chevron Disrupt World’s Top Innovator List

According to Thomson Reuters 2015 list of Top 100 Global Innovators, Amazon and several other established players in mature markets are proving that it’s not just start-ups that have the potential to upend traditional business models and reinvent our world. In fact, several of the companies new to this year’s ranking of top innovators have been around a lot longer than Amazon, among them: Boehringer Ingelheim, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Johnson Controls, Thales, and Yamaha.

Napa Valley Vintners first wine group in US to receive certification mark registration

Earlier this month, Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), the nonprofit trade association that works to “promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation,” became the first wine group in the U.S. to be granted a certification mark registration. So-called certification marks are a unique species within the trademark law, functioning to “certify” the nature or origin of goods or services, rather than merely convey the producer of those goods or services.