Posts Tagged: "Judge Alan Lourie"

Federal Circuit Denies Remand Despite Changes in Direct Infringement Law under Akamai

The Court held that remand was improper. Generally, remand is proper where the governing legal standards change during appeal. However, the Court found that the change in legal standard would not affect the district court’s order because Medgraph failed to present a case of direct infringement even under the broader theory of attribution in Akamai V.

Federal Circuit denies en banc rehearing, IPR proceedings can be instituted for less than all of the challenged claims

The Federal Circuit denied appellant SAS’s petition for rehearing en banc from a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, without an explanatory opinion. Judge Newman dissented. Without discussing the facts of the case, she undertook to review the statutory provisions for inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings under the America Invents Act (“AIA”). According to Newman, the Court should have granted the petition, in order to correct the Patent Office position that “the final order of the [Patent Trial and Appeal] Board need not address every claim raised in the petition for review.” According to Judge Newman, a review of the statutory provisions of the AIA makes it clear that, if the PTAB decides to institute review, it should do so for all of the challenged claims, not just some of the challenged claims.

Section 314(d) Bars Appellate Review of PTAB’s Reconsideration of Decision to Institute

In 2013, Cardiocom, LLC (“Cardiocom”), a subsidiary of Medtronic, Inc. (“Medtronic”), sought inter partes review of two patents owned by Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems, Inc. (“Bosch”). The Cardiocom petitions were denied in January 2014. Medtronic later sought another inter partes review of the same two patents, without naming Cardicom as an interested party… Section 314(d) bars review of questions regarding the application and interpretation of statutes “closely related” to the decision whether to institute an IPR, including reconsideration of the Board’s decision to institute.

Claims broad enough to encompass mental processes are unpatentable abstract ideas

The Court reasoned that the claims were limited to straightforward steps that a skilled artisan could perform mentally and that the inventors admitted to doing so. The claims, on their face, do not call for computer implementation, and Synopsys did not advance a claim construction requiring a computer. Additionally, complex details in the specification are insufficient to transform broad claims from an abstract idea into patentable subject matter. Given the breadth of the claims, the Court declined to decide if a computer-implemented version of the invention would be patentable under § 101.

En Banc Federal Circuit finds substantial evidence to support jury verdict in Apple v. Samsung

The Court found substantial evidence to support the jury’s finding of infringement. While Samsung’s expert offered conflicting testimony, a reasonable jury could have credited Apple’s expert. Thus, there was no error in the district court’s conclusion that substantial evidence supported the jury verdict of infringement… Note that the underlying dispute in this case does not concern design patents that were also asserted against Samsung, and which are currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Federal Circuit recognizes its role as only an appellate court in Apple v. Samsung

This decision reestablishes what should always have been the case; namely that the Federal Circuit is an appellate court that does not consider evidence outside the record or engage in fact finding on their own. The Federal Circuit has been increasingly out of control for years, acting as a trial court and jury rather than an appellate court. Hopefully that will end today.

Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Review if Assignor Estoppel Precludes PTAB from Instituting IPR

The Federal Circuit dismissed Husky’s appeal, finding that it lacked jurisdiction to review the Board’s determination of whether assignor estoppel barred institution of an inter partes review for two reasons. First, Husky’s appeal did not fall into any of the three categories of challenges that were reviewable by the Federal Circuit: there were no constitutional concerns at issue, the question of assignor estoppel did not depend on other less closely related statutes, and there was no question of interpretation reaching beyond § 314(d). Second, Husky’s challenge only implicated the question of who may ask the Board to evaluate the validity of a patent, not the Board’s authority to invalidate a patent.

Federal Circuit Affirms Disqualification of Counsel, Dismissal of Complaint Based on Confidential Information

Schlumberger raised Rutherford’s potential conflict of interest to the court in April 2014, and subsequently filed a motion to disqualify Dynamic’s counsel. The district court found that Rutherford’s work at Schlumberger was substantially related to her current work at Acacia. The court found that because the accused features of Petrel existed in the older versions that Rutherford was exposed to, and because she was involved at Schlumberger in efforts to license Petrel to other companies, the evidence created an irrebuttable presumption that she acquired confidential information requiring her disqualification.

PTAB arbitrary and capricious in denying motion to amend in IPR

In the final decision by the Board in the IPR, the Board denied the patent owner’s motion solely because the patent owner did not discuss whether each newly added feature was separately known in the prior art. The Board concluded that the motion and the declaration of Veritas’s expert, Dr. Levy, was insufficient because it did not discuss the features separately but discuss only the newly added feature in combination with other known features. The Federal Circuit found that denying the motion to amend for this reason alone was unreasonable and, therefore, the decision of the Board had to be set aside as being arbitrary and capricious.

Negotiation to Sell Products Outside the US is not an Infringing Offer for Sale

The Federal Circuit again addressed whether Pulse’s domestic sales activities were either a sale or an offer for sale in the U.S. While the patent statute does not define “sale,” the Court has previously held that it carries its ordinary meaning, including the transfer of title or property. Further, a “sale” must be understood in view of the strong policy against extraterritorial liability for patent infringement. Here, no sale occurred in the U.S., because the final formation of a contract and all elements of performing the contract occurred outside the U.S.

Federal Circuit Vacates District Court’s Determination on Personal Jurisdiction

Polar argued on appeal that the district court erred in finding that Suunto did not have sufficient contacts in Delaware. The Court agreed with Polar. The Court held that there were sufficient contacts, because there was evidence Suunto purposefully shipped at least ninety-four accused products to Delaware retailers and fully expected that its products would then be sold in Delaware. The record also showed that Suunto entered into a distribution agreement with ASWO to market and distribute its products in the United States. It was Suunto who physically fulfilled orders, packaged products, and prepared shipments intended for Delaware. Suunto did not simply leave the products on a dock in Finland. Because Suunto purposefully availed itself of the Delaware market, the Court concluded that Suunto had sufficient minimum contacts with Delaware.

Federal Circuit Affirms Registration of MAYARI over Opposition from MAYA Trademark Holder

Oakville Hills Cellar, Inc. (“Oakville”), doing business as Dalla Valle Vineyards, appealed from the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) dismissing its opposition to a trademark application filed by Georgallis Holdings, LLC (“Georgallis”) to register a MAYARI mark for use on wine. Oakville had previously registered the mark MAYA, also for wine. Because there was substantial evidence to support the finding of the TTAB that there would be no likelihood of confusion, the Federal Circuit affirmed a registration of the mark MAYARI for wine products, affirming the TTAB’s decision and dismissing Oakville’s opposition.

Objectively Unreasonable Claim Construction does not Avoid Induced Infringement

In light of Commil, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to the Federal Circuit… First, the Court concluded that Warsaw’s non-infringement theory was objectively unreasonable. Second, the Court concluded that NuVasive had presented sufficient evidence such that a jury could conclude that Warsaw knew it was inducing doctors to infringe NuVasive’s patent. In a concurrence, Judge Reyna expressed several concerns about the court’s reasoning in reaching this conclusion.

Patent’s Non-Standard Use of “Fractionation” Limits Scope of the Claims

The Court found that “fractionation” referred only to distillation-based techniques. The specification’s use of the term “fractionation” controlled even if the definition was idiosyncratic. By that standard, the Court found that “fractionation” did not encompass solubility-based techniques. The specification identified the limits of “conventional fractionation” which were only limits of “conventional distillation,” and no other fractionation techniques known in the art were mentioned. Therefore, the specification equated “conventional fractionation” and “conventional distillation.” More broadly, this demonstrated that the specification equated the terms “fractionation” and “distillation.” This finding was further supported by the repeated and consistent use of the term “fractionation” in discussion of processes to separate mixtures by distillation.

Federal Circuit denies mandamus, can decide later if patent was really a covered business method

On Friday, March 18, 2016, in a one paragraph Order that for some reason is not available on the Court’s website, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied that mandamus petition. The Court took the position that Trading Technologies simply has to go through the entire exercise of defending the ‘304 patent during a CBM review and then at the end they will circle back and determine whether the CBM should have been instituted in the first place. As if spending $1 million or more to defend a patent from a bogus challenge that never should have been instituted in a tribunal that clearly doesn’t have jurisdiction is no big deal. It just makes the Judges seem out of touch with the financial realities facing patent owners.