Posts Tagged: "Judge Alan Lourie"

Halo v. Pulse: CAFC Dismisses Premature Appeal of Pending Judgment Interest Award

The Court first addressed whether the district court’s decision awarding Halo pre- and post-judgment interest and ordering the parties to either file a stipulation on the amount of interest or file briefs explaining their positions constituted a “final decision” appealable under § 1295(a)(1). The Court noted that the district court had not resolved the parties’ dispute on the calculation of pre- and post-judgment interest before Pulse appealed. As a result and based on Supreme Court precedent, the Court found that the district court’s pre- and post-judgment interest decision was not “final” because the court had not “determine[d], or specif[ied] the means for determining the amount” of interest.

Mylan’s Preliminary Injunction Against Aurobindo Affirmed

The Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against Aurobindo in favor of Mylan in the case of Mylan Institutional LLC v. Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. On appeal at the Federal Ciruit, Aurobindo challenged three district court findings: 1) it was likely that Aurobindo infringed; 2) Aurobindo failed to raise a substantial question of validity; and 3) there was irreparable harm to Mylan. The Federal Circuit found that, while the district court made some errors, it correctly analyzed one of the three Mylan patents, and the preliminary injunction was affirmed.

Federal Circuit: Adding one abstract idea to another abstract idea does not make the claim non-abstract

In RecogniCorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co., the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that RecogniCorp’s patent claims are directed to an abstract idea, and do not contain an inventive concept sufficient to make them patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101… Adding one abstract idea, such as math, to another abstract idea, such as encoding- decoding, does not make the claim non-abstract. A claim containing a mathematical formula can satisfy § 101 when it applies the formula in a structure or process which, as a whole, is performing a non-abstract function that the patent laws were designed to protect. Under Alice step two, a claim that is directed to a non-abstract idea is not rendered abstract simply because it uses a mathematical formula. However, the reverse is also true: A claim directed to an abstract idea does not automatically become patent eligible by adding a mathematical formula. The elements of the claim must be examined to determine whether there is an inventive concept beyond the addition of a mathematical formula, e.g. to be implemented on a computer. The claims must make it clear how the invention improves a specific technology, rather than simply stating to an abstract end-result.

In precedential decision, Federal Circuit rules patent directed to encoding and decoding image data is not patent-eligible

The Federal Circuit held that the claim was directed to the abstract idea of encoding and decoding image data. According to the panel, the claim recited “a method whereby a user displays images on a first display, assigns image codes to the images through an interface using a mathematical formula, and then reproduces the image based on the codes… This method reflects standard encoding and decoding, an abstract concept long utilized to transmit information.” The Federal Circuit went on to note under step one that RecogniCorp’s Claim 1 differed from the invention in Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 822 F.3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2016) because, unlike Enfish’s invention, Claim 1 did not recite a software method that improved the functioning of a computer but instead recited a process “for which computers are invoked merely as a tool.”

Is It Really That Obvious? A Tale of Two Decisions

On January 3, 2017 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the court) handed down two decisions relating to obviousness under § 103 – In re: Marcel Van Os, Freddy Allen Anzures, Scott Forstall, Greg Christie, Imran Chaudhri, No. 2015-1975 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (Van Os) and In re: Ethicon, Inc., No. 2015-1696 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (Ethicon). In Van Os, the Appellants appealed a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirming the Examiner’s rejection of the claims of U.S. Patent Application No. 12/364,470 under § 103. The court addressed the question of whether the PTAB properly held that the claims were obvious in light of prior art. The court vacated and remanded. In Ethicon, the Appellant appealed a decision from the PTAB affirming, in a merged inter partes reexamination, the Examiner’s rejection of the claims of U.S. patent 7,591,844 (the ’844 patent) under § 103. The court addressed the question of whether the PTAB properly affirmed the rejection of the claims of the ’844 patent under § 103. The court affirmed. These two cases raise several interesting questions, especially given that they were decided on the same day.

Federal Circuit Reverses PTAB Anticipation Decision and Clarifies Kennameta

Anticipation can arise when the disclosure of a limited number of alternative combinations discloses the one that is claimed. However, a reference does not anticipate because an artisan would immediately envision a missing limitation… In Kennametal, the challenged claim required a ruthenium binding agent and a PVD coating to be used together. The prior art reference disclosed five binding agents (including ruthenium) and three coating techniques (including PVD), and taught that any binding agents could be used with any coatings. Thus, Kennametal held that the reference effectively taught fifteen combinations, one of which anticipated the challenged claim. A limited number of possible combinations effectively disclosed one of them. Kennametal does not hold that a reference can anticipate a claim if a skilled artisan would “at once envisage” the missing limitation. As a result, the Court reversed the Board’s finding of anticipation.

Mentor Graphics v. Synopsys: Affirmed-in-Part, Reversed-in-Part, Vacated-in-Part, and Remanded

Various Synopsys parties and EVE-USA, Inc. (collectively “Synopsys”) sued Mentor Graphics, seeking a declaration that Mentor’s ’376, ’531, and ’176 patents were invalid and not infringed. Mentor counterclaimed for willful infringement of those three patents, and also asserted infringement of two more (the ’526 and ’109 patents). The court consolidated the case with another involving a fourth patent owned by Mentor (the ’882 patent)… A jury does not have to further apportion lost profits to patented features of a larger product after applying the Panduit factors, which implicitly incorporate apportionment into the lost profit award. Claim preclusion applies when a claim was asserted, or could have been asserted, in a prior action. It does not bar allegations that did not exist at the time of the earlier action.

Teaching Away Requires Discouragement or Implying the Combination Would Not Work

Michael Meiresonne (“Meiresonne”) appealed from the final inter partes review (“IPR”) decision of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”). The Board held that certain claims of the underlying patent were unpatentable as obvious… The Court stated that neither prior art reference said or implied that combining their teachings, especially for the “rollover viewing area” would be “‘unreliable,’ ‘misleading,’ ‘wrong,’ or ‘inaccurate,’ and which might lead one of ordinary skill in the art to discard” the combination. Thus, the references did not discourage a person of ordinary skill in the art from making the combination.

Federal Circuit reverses PTAB anticipation holding because not every element present in prior art

The PTAB held that anticipation can be found even when a prior art reference does not disclose each and every claim element as long as one of skill in the relevant art would “at once envisage” the claimed arrangement, citing Kennametal, Inc. v. Ingersoll Cutting Tool Co., 780 F.3d 1376, 1381 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Federal Circuit explained the PTAB fundamentally misinterpreted and misapplied the Court’s holding in Kennametal… For there to be anticipation each and every element must be present, period. Close is not the same and PTAB judges should know that.

Federal Circuit reverses PTAB, says CBM patents must be financial in nature according to the claims

The CBM determination includes patents that are “financial in nature” according to the claims; not patents that are “complementary” or “incidental” to financial activity according to the specification or post-grant assertion of the patent… Further, the Board’s reliance on post-grant activity, that Secure Axcess alleged infringement against financial institutions, was improper. “Those choices do not necessarily define a patent as a CBM patent, nor even necessarily illuminate an understanding of the invention as claimed.”

In precedential decision, Federal Circuit further clarifies what constitutes a covered business method patent for CBM review

When applying that definition to the present case, the majority opinion rejected as too limiting Secure Axcess’s proposal that CBM review should be limited to “products and services such as credit, loans, real estate transactions, securities and investment products, and similar financial products and services”. However, the Federal Circuit also rejected the Board’s much more expansive approach that CBM review should apply to financial products or services that were merely “used in” and “incidental to” a financial activity… In dissent, Judge Lourie disagreed with the majority’s holding on the basis of Secure Axcess’s claims being “surely claims to ‘a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service.’” This, he argued, was because “[t]here can be little doubt that such claims meet the ‘method or apparatus for performing data processing’ limitation of the statute.”

Federal Circuit grants Google mandamus petition to transfer patent case out of Eastern Texas

The Federal Circuit granted a mandamus petition filed by Google and ordered a Texas federal court to transfer a patent infringement case to a federal court that covers Silicon Valley as requested by Google. This extraordinary remedy was delivered in the form of a non-precedential opinion authored by Chief Judge Prost and joined by Judge Lourie. Despite the Federal Circuit’s designation of the decision as non-precedential the Court should be prepared for the onslaught of mandamus petitions that will now be filed given that they have shown a willingness to step in and re-weigh transfer factors de novo.

Federal Circuit affirms PTAB decision to invalidate MPHJ patent

The Federal Circuit upheld the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), on Inter Partes Review, to invalidate as anticipated or obvious all claims of a patent owned by MPHJ Technology Investments. MPHJ’s patent describes a system and method for scanning a physical document and “replicat[ing it] into other devices or applications or the internet,” for instance, by email.

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Decision on Obviousness, Judge Newman Dissents

The Court’s opinion stresses that in an obviousness analysis, it should consider “whether the improvement is more than the predictable use of prior art elements according to their established functions.” An explicit teaching, suggestion, or motivation in the references is not necessary to support a conclusion of obviousness… Judge Newman dissented with the majority’s finding there was motivation to combine the references without hindsight. She argued that the references recite thousands of polymer and copolymer components for stent coating materials, but not the copolymer of the ’844 patent.

CAFC Reverses on Indefiniteness Because Claim Terms Sufficiently Supported by Examples

The Court was careful to explain that its “holding in this case does not mean that the existence of examples in the written description will always render a claim definite, or that listing requirements always provide sufficient certainty.” Instead, its holding is simply that “visually negligible” is sufficiently supported by Sonix’s patent “to inform with reasonable certainty those skilled in the art of the scope of the invention.” Practitioners prosecuting applications in which arguably subjective terms exist should include as much guidance as possible in the specification to define that term. It may prove vital to include requirements or examples.