Posts Tagged: "Judge Alan Lourie"

Federal Circuit reverses Board on erroneous application of the broadest reasonable interpretation

The Federal Circuit concluded that the Board’s construction of the term ‘body’ was unreasonably broad even given proper usage of the broadest reasonable interpretation claim standard… This ruling obviously makes perfect sense. Absent a comprehensive glossary that defines each and every term appearing in a patent application it would be impossible for any applicant to ever proscribe and/or preclude any and all possible broad readings for various terms that a patent examiner may come up with after the fact. Defining every term has never been required and anticipating frivolous examiner arguments has never been required, and is in fact considered inappropriate.

Federal Circuit Clarifies Standard for Pleading Infringement in Lifetime v. Trim-Lok

Lifetime Industries, Inc. v. Trim-Lok, Inc., 2017-1096, (Fed. Cir. Sept 7, 2017) is an appeal involving a dispute over the correct pleading standard in the context of allegation of infringement of a patented product.  The appeal resulted in the reversal of a district court’s final judgment granting Trim-Lok, Inc.’s motion to dismiss Lifetime’s complaint for failing to adequately allege that Trim-Lok either directly or indirectly infringed claims of its U.S. Patent 6,966,590 (’590 patent)… In sum, the Federal Circuit opinion in Lifetime is a good refresher on sufficiency of facts needed for filing a complaint alleging patent infringement. It is a refresher also on proving infringement resulting from assembly of components to make the claimed product when not all of the components are made by the same party.

Federal Circuit strikes down Gilstrap’s four-factor test for patent venue

After briefly parsing the statutory language of §1400(b) critical to the decision the Federal Circuit concluded that Judge Gilstrap’s four-factor test was not compliant with the statutory language. Judge Lourie simply concluded: “The district court’s four-factor test is not sufficiently tethered to this statutory language and thus it fails to inform each of the necessary requirements of the statute.”… “The fact that Cray allowed its employees to work from the Eastern District of Texas is insufficient,” wrote Judge Lourie as he shifted to the specifics of the case before the Court.

Federal Circuit Upholds the Board’s Invalidation of Southwire Patent

The Court found that the Board did not provide an adequate explanation for finding that the “30%” limitation was inherent in the reference, as a predicate for its holding of obviousness. Nevertheless, the Board “made the necessary underlying factual findings to support an obviousness determination.”  Specifically, the reference disclosed the same process for manufacturing electric cables, the steps did not differ in any material way, and there were no unexpected results. The Court also pointed to precedent that shifts the burden to the patentee. “[W]here all process limitations are expressly disclosed by the prior art reference, except for the functionally expressed limitation at issue, the PTO can require an applicant to prove that the subject matter shown to be in the prior art does not possess the characteristic relied on.”

Federal Circuit Reverses and Remands Dismissal of Direct and Indirect Infringement Claims

A party need not prove its infringement case with detailed facts at the pleadings stage. For direct infringement, it is sufficient to identify where the alleged infringement occurred, when it occurred, who performed the allegedly infringing act, and why. For induced infringement, the pleadings must also allege an intent to infringe. For contributory infringement, it is sufficient to plead that the alleged infringer had knowledge, not necessarily intent, that its activities would lead to infringement.

Board cannot shift burden of proving patentability to applicant, must articulate reasoning

The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the Board’s decision, finding that it “failed to adequately articulate its reasoning, erroneously rejected relevant evidence of nonobviousness, and improperly shifted to Stepan the burden of proving patentability.” … The Board cannot shift the burden of proving patentability to the applicant, and must provide sufficient reasoning or explanation for why a skilled artisan would have found the claimed invention obvious, particularly when given evidence of unexpected results or “no reasonable expectation of success.” It is not enough for the Board to merely state that a combination of prior art would have been “routine.”

Music Artist will.i.am Cannot Trademark “I Am”

In re i.am.symbolic, llc, William Adams, better known by his stage name “will.i.am”, was refused registration of a Trademark for “I AM” on the ground of a likelihood of confusion with registered marks. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board… Identical registrations for the same or similar goods may present overwhelming evidence of likelihood of confusion, regardless of other factors supporting registration.

CAFC says Attorney’s Fees are an Equitable Remedy Not Subject to Right to a Jury Trial

Avid sought fees as a prevailing party under § 285, and therefore the attorney’s fees in this action were properly characterized as an equitable remedy, properly decided by a judge. AIA argued that when an award of attorney’s fees is based in part or in whole on a party’s state of mind, intent, or culpability, only a jury may decide those issues. The Court rejected this argument because AIA provided no cases holding that once an issue is deemed equitable, a Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial may still attach to certain underlying determinations.

Board’s analysis internally inconsistent, Federal Circuit vacates inter partes reexam

At the Federal Circuit, Honeywell argued that the Board erred in (1) finding a motivation to combine the references with a reasonable expectation of success, (2) rejecting Honeywell’s objective evidence of patentability, and (3) relying on a new ground of rejection (Omure), without giving Honeywell notice and opportunity to respond. The Court found that the Board improperly relied on inherency to find the claims obvious and in its analysis of motivation to combine. First, the Board’s analysis was internally inconsistent. While finding that “the claimed combination’s stability/miscibility is an inherent property of HFO-123yf and cannot confer patentability, the Board also acknowledged that inherent properties must be considered if they demonstrate unexpected and nonobvious results.

Federal Circuit says Will.i.am not allowed to trademark I AM

William Adams is the well-known front man for the music group The Black Eyed Peas and is known as will.i.am. Adams’ company – i.am.symbolic, llc – already owns trademarks on WILL.I.AM for certain goods and services, and also the mark I AM (typed drawing) for clothing in class 25. The trademark examining attorney refused registration of the standard character trademark I AM on the ground of likelihood of confusion with existing registered trademarks. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed. Because the TTAB did not err in its likelihood of confusion conclusion the Federal Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Lourie (joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Schall) affirmed.

Causal-nexus for a permanent injunction only requires ‘some connection’ to infringement

The district court denied a request for a permanent injunction against Metaswitch after a jury found infringement because Genband failed to establish irreparable harm. More specifically, the court found that Genband failed to establish a causal-nexus between infringement and irreparable harm, i.e. that “the patent features drive demand for the product.” The Federal Circuit remanded because this causal-nexus requirement was too stringent. The Federal Circuit explained that the court could not have confidence as to the answer to the causation question under the standard properly governing the inquiry or whether there is any independent ground for the district court finding no irreparable harm or otherwise denying an injunction.

Federal Circuit says Cleveland Clinic Diagnostic Patents Ineligible Under § 101

The Cleveland Clinic’s diagnostic or “testing” patents at issue dealt with a process by which an enzyme was measured and correlated against known levels of the enzyme in patients who were healthy or had cardiovascular disease. The Federal Circuit applied the two step Alice analysis, affirming a finding of Section 101 ineligibility and a failure by plaintiff to state a claim of contributory or induced infringement.

Use of ‘Means’ with term that Designates Structure Does Not Invoke § 112 ¶ 6

MindGeek and Playboy filed an IPR petition. The Board determined that § 112 ¶ 6 did not apply because “‘wireless device means’ is not purely functional language, but rather is language that denotes structure.” In the alternative, Skky argued that the “wireless device means” term should be construed to require multiple processors or a specialized processor. The Board found Skky’s alternative argument unconvincing. The claims were held invalid in light of prior art that disclosed a “wireless device means,” specifically a cell phone. Skky appealed.

Federal Circuit Affirms Service Mark is Owned by Group, Not by Departing Group Member

In Lyons v. American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) cancellation of Sheila Lyons’s registration of the service mark, THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SPORTS MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION (“the mark”) on the Supplemental Register on the grounds that she does not own the mark… Ownership of a service mark, as between a group and a departing member, depends on the objective intentions and expectations of the parties and on who the public associates with the mark and stands behind the quality of services offered under the mark.

Federal Circuit Reverses Grant of Attorney Fees; Case Not Exceptional Under 35 U.S.C. § 285

In the Federal Circuit case of Checkpoint Systems v. All-Tag Sec, The Federal Circuit held that the district court erred in finding this case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285, and it reversed its award of attorney fees to the defendants. The record showed that the plaintiff’s charge of infringement was reasonable and the litigation was not abusive or brought in bad faith.