Posts Tagged: "Judge Alan Lourie"

Reviewing the ACLU and Myriad Oral Arguments at the CAFC

The ACLU lead plaintiffs have a real predicament relative to standing. It does not sound as if the Federal Circuit believed any single plaintiff could satisfy both prongs required to bring a Declaratory Judgment Action, and rather were trying to say we have some plaintiffs with first prong evidence and some with second prong evidence. Simply put, that dog doesn’t hunt, at least not under current law relative to standing. Thus, there seems a real chance that the entire case could be thrown out because no plaintiff has standing.

Federal Circuit Grants Writ of Mandamus in False Marking Case

Seeking a writ of mandamus seems as if it is becoming a more popular avenue to pursue than it once might have been. A writ of mandamus essentially seeks an order from a higher court to direct a lower court to follow the law. They are extraordinary remedies because they come well before the case is over, which means that an ordinary appeal cannot be taken at that point; appeals are only typically allowed for final adjudications. Notwithstanding the extraordinary nature of a mandamus request, earlier today the Federal Circuit issued a writ of mandamus requiring a district court to dismiss a false marking lawsuit because the complaint did not contain allegations sufficient to allow the plaintiff to appeal. Essentially, even if each and everything in the complaint were believed the plaintiff could not possibly be entitled to a recovery. Kudos to the Federal Circuit for standing up and getting rid of a frivolous lawsuit initiated by an obviously defective complaint.

KSR Fears Realized: CAFC Off the Obviousness Deep End

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in a split decision with Judge Lourie writing and Judge Bryson joining, took a step forward in the evolution of the law of obviousness that confirms my worst fears about obviousness in this post-KSR era. It has been argued by many that even after KSR it is not an appropriate rejection, or reason to invalidate an issued claim, that it would be “common sense” to modify elements within the prior art in a wholly new way and then combine the “common sense” modifications. I did agree that was true, at least until yesterday.

A New Doctrine of Equivalents? CAFC Defines “Use” Under §271

I wonder why we are discussing the definition of “use” under § 271(a) at all. It would seem that the Federal Circuit is potentially broadening the definition of “use” under § 271(a) in a manner that expands direct infringement to start to include those types of things that normally would have been infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Of course, the Supreme Court in Festo together with the Federal Circuit in Honeywell International Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation have eviscerated the doctrine of equivalents to the point of its non-existence. Perhaps Centillion v. Qwest, NTP and other cases yet to come will breathe new life into the theory under the guise of a direct infringement “use” of a system under § 271(a).

How About a Patent Attorney for the Federal Circuit?

In looking at the cases filed at the Federal Circuit during 2010, 42% of the docket for the CAFC were patent cases. At the moment, the three judges who are patent attorneys on the Federal Circuit are all on active status, and by that I mean are not on senior status. Judges Newman and Lourie, however, currently qualify to move to senior status or retire, and in a matter of a few years Judge Linn could elect senior status, or to retire, as well. Thus, moving forward in the not too distant future there could be a time when none of the judges active on the Federal Circuit would be patent attorneys by training and experience. This, in my opinion, would not be at all wise.

Judge Kathleen O’Malley Finally Confirmed by Senate for CAFC

Judge Kathleen O’Malley was confirmed by the United States Senate earlier today. O’Malley’s confirmation, along with the confirmation of 18 others in recent days, is the result of a deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans that ensured passage of 19 nominations in exchange for an agreement not to move forward with other controversial nominations, including the hotly challenged nomination of Goodwin Lui, who is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at University of California Berkeley School of Law.

Prometheus Diagnostic Methods Are Patentable Subject Matter

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in one of the patentable subject matter cases that was returned to the Court by the Supreme Court in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos. On remand, once again, the Federal Circuit held (per Judge Lourie with Judge Rader and Judge Bryson) that Prometheus’s asserted method claims are drawn to statutory subject matter, reversing for the second time the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity under § 101.

Federal Circuit Bar Association Honors Chief Judge Michel

On Tuesday, October 19, 2010, I attended the retirement dinner and reception of the Honorable Chief Judge Paul R. Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington DC. As fate would have it, I got lost on my way to the party. Even though I thought I gave myself plenty of time to get there, I arrived right before dinner. After dinner the celebration began with a video featuring numerous speakers and a toast. What follows is a recap of the evening’s events, as well as some quotes on the record from several distinguished guests that were at the event to celebrate with Chief Judge Michel.

Federal Circuit: Foreign Application Not Priority in Interference When it Only “Envisions” Invention

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling in Goeddel v. Sugano, which might be one of a dying breed should patent reform actually pass. The case dealt with an appeal from an interference proceeding where the Board awarded priority based on a Japanese application. The Federal Circuit, per Judge Newman, explained that it was inappropriate to say that the Japanese application demonstrated a constructive reduction to practice because the application merely would allow the skilled reader to “envision” the invention covered in the interference count. If patent reform passes (and yes that could really happen) cases like Goeddel would become a thing of the past, although priority determinations like this one in Goeddel will certainly not go away.

Looking Ahead to TiVo v. Dish at the Federal Circuit

Putting aside my disdain for the Supreme Court stepping into patent matters of any kind, what does seem clear is that the Supreme Court wants to pretend that patents are the same as any other area of law and the same processes and procedures pertaining to other areas of law apply equally to the patent world. See eBay v. MercExchange and Zurko v. Dickinson for but two examples. The Supreme Court also loves case by case approaches without hard and fast rules that can actually be objectively and even-handedly applied. See KSR v. Teleflex and Bilski v. Kappos for but two examples. So strictly adhering to this clear trend it would suggest that the Supreme Court would be quite open to giving district court judges broad latitude to enforce their own Orders when appropriate. This would allow the district courts discretion to handle different cases differently, so that would cover the case by case approach, and it would seem to be in keeping with theories of judicial economy, which are typically left to the district court to handle, particularly when procedure, process and management of the docket are at issue.

No $5.4 Trillion Bounty for False Patent Marking Bounty Hunter

In Perquignot v. Solo Cup Co., the stakes were truly mind-boggling: about $10.8 trillion in total. Approximately $5.4 trillion of that bounty would be the federal government’s share which the Federal Circuit characterized as “sufficient to pay back 42% of the country’s total national debt.” High stakes indeed! But unfortunately for the bounty hunter (Pequignot) in Perquignot, the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court grant of summary judgment that there was no “deceptive intent” on the part of the patentee (Solo Cup), thus no approximately $5.4 trillion bounty was owed.

IPO Honors Judge Michel and Dupont Inventors at Smithsonian

At these types of ceremonies everyone says such nice things, but what Judges Newman, Linn and Lourie said about Judge Michel seemed particularly heartfelt, and they seemed almost saddened to see their friend choose to leave and set out to make a difference advocating rather than opining. The video also included flattering comments from Chief Judge Anthony Joseph Scirica of the Third Circuit, one of Judge Michel’s former clerks and executives of the IPO. It was extremely tasteful, gave an appropriate but not lingering recap of his career and did not linger or go on at an uncomfortable length as these things sometimes can do. Extremely well done and kuddos to the IPO.

Pressure Products v. Greatbatch: Why Another 5 Judge Panel?

Nothing in the appealed issues in Pressure Products (claim construction, denial of motion for JMOL, leave to amend answer) even remotely hints at or suggests the basis for this five judge panel. In fact, Pressure Products has all the markings of a fairly ordinary, garden variety patent infringement case. So why not the standard three judge panel? Not a word of explanation.

Not Losing the Forest for the Trees: Newman Concurs in Ariad

Coming as no surprise, a majority of the en banc Federal Circuit just ruled in Ariad Pharmaceuticals v. Eli Lilly &Co. that there is there is a separate and distinct “written description” requirement in the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. § 112. Also not surprisingly, there were multiple concurring (and dissenting) opinions. Judge Lourie (writing the majority opinion) has now won the on-going debate that has raged between him and Judge Rader (who has strenuously argued there is no written description requirement separate and distinct from the “enablement” requirement) since the 1997 case of Regents of the University of California v. Eli Lilly & Co.

Best Mode Patent-Raptor Devours Another Victim in Ajinomoto

In the end, Ajinomoto, and especially the ‘698 and ‘160 patents, were unable to outrun the “best mode” patentraptor. And like the sequels to Jurassic Park, there are likely to be future instances where this patentivour devours other U.S. patents, including those of foreign applicants who may even be ignorant of this patent monster. But ignorance of the “best mode” patentraptor is equivalent to not being aware that the bioengineered dinosaurs were multiplying in dangerous numbers in Jurassic Park. The message is now clear in the Ajinomoto case: be aware or be eaten by the “best mode” patentraptor.