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Posts Tagged: "Judge Alan Lourie"

Chief Points from Responses to Senator Hirono’s Questions to Section 101 Panelists

Yesterday, we ran a series of excerpts from responses to Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) questions for the record to panelists following the June hearings on U.S. patent eligibility law, held by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Along with Tillis and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) also posed several questions to the participants in the 101 hearings. Hirono’s questions overall demonstrate a good faith desire to get to the heart of the problems in search of real solutions.

Federal Circuit Corrects District Court’s Claim Construction

The United Stated Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held that a district court erred in its claim construction and vacated the district court’s judgment of noninfringement, which the parties stipulated to based on the erroneous construction. See Continental Circuits LLC v. Intel Corp., No. 2018-1076, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3920, 2019 WL 489069 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2019) (Before Lourie, Linn, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the court, Lourie, J.). The Court highlighted that the first step in claim construction should always be to determine the plain and ordinary meaning of the claims. Further, the specification should serve to limit the plain and ordinary meaning only when it includes a definition for a claim term or a clear disclaimer or disavowal of claim scope.

Mandamus Relief Denied: Federal Circuit Avoids Clarifying TC Heartland in In re Google LLC

The Federal Circuit recently elected not to decide en banc “whether servers are a regular and established place of business, such that venue is proper under 35 U.S.C. § 1400(b). In re: Google LLC, No. 2018-152 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 5, 2019) (Before Prost, Chief Judge, Newman, Lourie, Dyk, Moore, O’Malley, Reyna, Wallach, Taranto, Chen, Hughes, and Stoll, Circuit Judges) (Dissent by Reyna, Circuit Judge, joined by Newman and Lourie, Circuit Judges). SEVEN Networks, LLC’s (SEVEN) patent infringement suit against Google arose in the Eastern District of Texas. SEVEN alleged Google’s servers, stored in a third-party ISP’s facility, where the allegedly infringing activities occurred, were a regular and established place of business, such that venue is proper under 35 U.S.C. § 1400(b). The district court denied Google’s motion to dismiss for improper venue. As a result, Google petitioned the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to dismiss or transfer the case for improper venue. On appeal, the panel majority found mandamus relief inappropriate because “it is not known if the district court’s ruling involves the kind of broad and fundamental legal questions relevant to § 1400(b),” and “it would be appropriate to allow the issue to percolate in the district courts so as to more clearly define the importance, scope, and nature of the issue for us to review.”

Federal Circuit Addresses Whether Anticipating Prior Art Reference is ‘By Another’ as Described in 35 U.S.C. § 102(e)

The Federal Circuit recently overturned a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) inter partes review decision finding that an IPS Group (IPS) patent was not unpatentable as anticipated, holding that the Board erred when determining the inventive entities of the asserted IPS patent and the asserted prior art, which was a different IPS patent that shared an inventor with the other IPS patent. See Duncan Parking Techs. v. IPS Group, Inc., Nos. 2018-1205, 2018-1360, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3137 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 31, 2019) (Before Lourie, Dyk, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the Court, Lourie, J.). The claims at issue related to parking meter technology. IPS has two relevant patents for this technology, the ’310 patent and the ’054 patent. The ’054 patent issued in 2013 from a 2006 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. It named the Founder of IPS, Dave King, and the Chief Technical Officer of IPS, Alexander Schwarz, as inventors. The ’310 patent was issued in 2010 and based on an application filed in 2008. The ’310 patent named King, along with three other engineers, as inventors. The ’310 patent, however, did not disclose Schwarz as an inventor.

Federal Circuit Holds Parties Joined to an IPR have Right to Appeal PTAB Decision—Even if Original Petitioner Lacks Article III Standing

The Federal Circuit on February 1 affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision in an inter partes review concluding that the claims of a patent directed to a composition for treating epilepsy are not unpatentable. The Federal Circuit first visited the issue of whether three petitioners—Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Breckenridge Pharmaceuticals, and Alembic Pharmaceuticals, all of whom were sued for infringement of the patent more than one year prior to the institution of the IPR, and all of whom were joined in the IPR under 35 U.S.C. § 315(c)—had standing to appeal the Board’s final decision. The Court held that the petitioners had a statutory right, under 35 U.S.C. § 319 to appeal.

Conclusory Legal Opinions of Patentee’s Expert Not Enough to Prevent 12(b)(6) Dismissal

Several weeks ago, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Glasswall Solutions Limited v. Clearswift Ltd., affirming a district court’s findings that claims from two patents that were asserted in an infringement case filed by Glasswall were directed to unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101… The Federal Circuit found that testimony offered by an expert witness for Glasswall didn’t preclude a dismissal on the pleadings as the alleged factual assertions in that testimony weren’t actually factual in nature but, rather, were conclusory legal arguments the district court wasn’t bound to accept as true.

Congress Initially Rebuffs SCOTUS Dominance of Patent Law, But Not for Long

The chaos created by this forum shopping was exacerbated by differing views of what in these rulings by SCOTUS was holding, and what was simply dicta.  Together with the enactment of Bayh-Dole (which sought to alleviate the prior dismal record of commercialization of federally-sponsored research where the federal government retained the patent rights), Congress created the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as the successor to the CCPA, as well as to supplant all other circuit courts as the arbiter of patent law jurisprudence, effective as of 1980.  Creation of the Federal Circuit was also at least an implicit (and more likely, explicit) warning to SCOTUS to tread carefully on patent law jurisprudence and to let the Federal Circuit do the heavy lifting without significant interference or meddling from the highest court in the land. For almost two decades, SCOTUS seemed to heed that warning, rarely interfering with Federal Circuit precedent… But beginning with the eBay case in 2006, SCOTUS started an almost relentless series of rulings which meddle with, chastise, and overturn longstanding Federal Circuit precedent, often using the rubric that the Federal Circuit’s ruling/precedent was “too rigid,” or “too inflexible.”

CAFC Overturns Preliminary Injunction on Generic Suboxone Film Over Newman Dissent

The Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Indivior Inc. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, S.A., which vacated a preliminary injunction handed out by the District of New Jersey in a Hatch-Waxman patent infringement case brought by British pharmaceutical firm Indivior. The Federal Circuit panel majority concluded that the district court had abused its discretion in granting the injunction. The majority found that the ‘305 patent’s specification disparaged, and therefore disclaimed, the method of drying the films with the use of conventional methods which only dry the top of the film. Judge Pauline Newman authored a dissenting opinion in which she explained she would have found the district court’s preliminary injunction grant sustained on appeal. According to Judge Newman, the majority’s decision imported the drying limitation from the ‘514 patent claims into the ‘305 patent claims despite the fact that the ‘305 patent was amended specifically to remove this limitation.

Federal Circuit Issues Another Rule 36 Patent Eligibility Loss to a Patent Owner

This particular Rule 36 patent eligibility loss for the patent owner came in Digital Media Technologies, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., et al., affirmed the district court’s finding that patent claims asserted by Digital Media against Netflix, Amazon and Hulu were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because they were directed to an abstract idea… Using Rule 36 in an area of the law as unstable, chaotic and unpredictable as patent eligibility is irresponsible. Whether the decision would be the same or not, the parties and the public have a right to have the Federal Circuit make sense ‘this § 101 conundrum.’

Supreme Court Refuses Another 101 Patent Eligibility Appeal

REAL argued in its petition that step two of the Alice test used to determine invalidity under Section 101 requires questions of fact that were never asked by the lower court. To invalidate without asking those questions contradicts the Federal Circuit’s recent holdings in Berkheimer v. HP and Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software. REAL’s appeal to the Federal Circuit was decided by a panel including Circuit Judges Alan Lourie, Evan Wallach and Kara Stoll, a trio where the majority has held that step two of Alice is a pure question of law, which is a misapplication of the Alice standard. REAL further contended that both the district court and the Federal Circuit disregarded the factual record in their Alice analysis; that the patents-in-suit claim patentable improvements to computer user interface technology; and that the district court found that there were material facts in dispute while also finding that the claims were well-understood, routine and conventional.

Service Starts § 315(b) Time-Bar Even If Complaint Involuntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice

In Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co. the Federal Circuit ruled the time-bar for filing a petition for inter partes review in Section 315(b) begins to run as soon as a complaint for infringement is served in district court, regardless of whether the complaint is involuntarily or voluntarily dismissed or is ultimately successful on the merits. There are no exceptions to the statutory time limit for filing a petition for inter partes review in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b).

CAFC Reverses Nonobviousness Ruling in IPR as Board Failed to Apply Burden-Shifting Standard

The Federal Circuit recently reversed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) inter partes review decision on nonobviousness, holding that the Board erred when it did not require Synvina, the patent owner, to come forward with evidence of nonobviousness (e.g., teaching away) once DuPont, the petitioner, established the prior art disclosed an overlapping range for a claimed result-effective variable. See…

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Invalidation of Claims Federal Circuit Previously Upheld as Valid

Previously, the ITC instituted an investigation of Instradentdental implants based on a complaint filed by Nobel alleging violations of 19 U.S.C. § 1337 by reason of importation of an implant product infringing the ’977 patent and another patent. The ITC’s Administrative Law Judge issued an Initial Determination finding claims 1–5 and 19 anticipated by the ABT catalog but the ITC later issued a Commission Opinion finding that Instradent failed to show by clear and convincing evidence, the standard applied by the ITC, that the ABT catalog is prior art under § 102(b). A Federal Circuit panel affirmed the ITC’s decision without opinion. Subsequently, Instradent petitioned for IPR of claims 1–7, 9, and 13–20 of the ’977 patent, and Nobel filed a statutory disclaimer of claims 9 and 13–18.

Board Decision Vacated Due to §315 Time-Bar Despite USPTO Intervention

The Federal Circuit recently issued a decision that once again addressed the issue of whether an IPR was time-barred. The Court vacated the final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) with respect to one of challenged patents because it was time-barred and affirmed the Board’s decision that two other claims from two different patents were invalid as being obvious.See Luminara Worldwide, LLC v. Iancu, Nos. 2017-1629, 2017-1631, 2017-1633, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22836 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2018) (Before Lourie, Dyk, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the court, Dyk, J.)

IPR Time-Bar Applies Even If Patent Infringement Suit Voluntarily Dismissed

In Click-To-Call Technologies v. Ingenio, Inc., Yellowpages.com, LLC, the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, held §315(b) precludes IPR institution when the IPR petitioner was served with a complaint for patent infringement more than one year before filing its petition, even if the district court action in which the petitioner was so served was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.