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Posts Tagged: "Judge Haldane Robert Mayer"

Equitable Considerations Warranted Departure from First-To-File Rule

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled on an appeal regarding a Pennsylvania district court’s decision to decline jurisdiction over a first filed declaratory judgment filed by Communications Test Design, Inc. (“CTDI”) in favor of a patent infringement suit filed six days later in a New York district court by Contec LLC (“Contec”). The Federal Circuit concluded that the Pennsylvania district court did not abuse its broad discretion under the Declaratory Judgment Act to departure from the typical first-to-file rule given the presence of equitable considerations.

In CAFC Holding Finding Dice Games Abstract, Judge Mayer Delivers Concerning Concurrence

On December 28, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in In re Marco Guldenaar Holding B.V. (2017-2465) in which the claims of a patent application directed to a dice game were held to be patent-ineligible for being directed to an abstract idea, with “the only arguable inventive concept relat[ing] to dice markings, which constitute printed matter.” The holding in the case is unsurprising post-Alice, but Judge Mayer’s concurrence reveals some concerning views on patent eligibility. The concurrence concludes by alleging that “Alice, for all intents and purposes, articulated a ‘technological arts’ test for patent eligibility.” The statute certainly does not hint at the sort of “technological arts” test that Judge Mayer would prefer and that Alice itself never required, despite Judge Mayer purportedly being concerned with precedent.

Federal Circuit Relies on Printed Matter Doctrine in Affirming Examiner’s Rejection of Claims Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The examiner concluded the claims were directed to the abstract idea of rules for playing a game, which fell within the realm of methods of organizing human activities. The examiner further found the claims were unpatentable as obviousness over old and well known to dice games, applying the printed matter doctrine… Marco also contended that its claimed method of playing a dice game could not be an abstract idea because it recites a physical game with physical steps. The Court rejected this argument “because the abstract idea exception does not turn solely on whether the claimed invention comprises physical versus mental steps.” Since the only arguably unconventional aspect of the recited method of playing a dice game was found to be printed matter, thus falling outside the scope of § 101, the rejected claims did not recite an “inventive concept” sufficient to “transform” the claimed subject matter into a patent-eligible application of the abstract idea.

Federal Circuit Affirms $140M Reasonable Royalty for Sprint in Nonprecedential Decision

The Federal Circuit upheld the district court’s damages award of approximately $140 million for Sprint after Time Warner was found to infringe claims of five patents covering technologies related to methods for linking circuit-switched and packet-switched networks within a telecommunications system. Despite the nonprecedential designation, Circuit Judge Haldane Mayer issued a dissenting opinion reflecting his views that the damages award should be vacated and the asserted patent claims found invalid for failing the written description requirement… The Federal Circuit majority also disagreed with Time Warner that the references to the 25 percent rule of thumb in the 2007 Vonage verdict made it inadmissible as evidence to the jury in district court.

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB’s Finding of Implicit Disclosure

The Federal Circuit recently issued an opinion affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“PTAB”) finding of obviousness of a hot-spot technology patent based on implicit disclosures in a prior art reference. Even though the reference did not expressly disclose the limitation at issue, the Board’s holding that a POSITA would, nonetheless, read the reference as implicitly describing the claimed configuration was supported by substantial evidence.

CAFC vacates $51 million fee award, exceptional case requires ‘causal connection’ to award fees

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s “exceptional” case finding under 35 U.S.C. § 285, which resulted in Appellant Rembrandt Technologies paying attorney’s fees to Appellees, a number of communications companies.  The Court, however, vacated the fee award of $51 million and remanded for a new determination of fees. While the Federal Circuit was comfortable affirming this was an exceptional case, the panel explained that the district court award needs to establish some causal connection between the misconduct and the fee award.  See In re Rembrandt Techs. LP Patent Litig., No. 2017-1784, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 15, 2018) (Before O’Malley, Mayer, and Reyna, J.) (Opinion for the court, O’Malley, J.). 

Federal Circuit Denies Petition for Rehearing En Banc in Xitronix Appeal on Walker Process Claims

On Friday, June 15th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied a petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc in Xitronix Corporation v. KLA-Tencor Corporation. The petition for rehearing was filed by KLA-Tencor after the Federal Circuit first decided Xitronix back in February of this year, where the appellate court held that it didn’t have jurisdiction to hear an appeal in a patent case which only involved claims of monopolization under U.S. Supreme Court standards set in 1965’s Walker Process Equipment v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp.

CAFC Affirms Rejection of Application for Incorrect Inventorship

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed a decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to reject VerHoef’s pending application 13/328,201 for a dog harness under pre-AIA Section 102(f) because the applicant “did not himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented.” At the Federal Circuit, VerHoef conceded that the figure “8” loop was an essential feature, and did not dispute that the veterinarian, and not he, contributed the idea of the figure eight loop.

Reexam Claim Construction Thwarts Subsequent Infringement Claim

In 01 Communique Lab v. Citrix Systems, the Federal Circuit rejected Communique’s appeal. The court properly relied on a comparison of the allegedly infringing GoToMyPC product to the asserted patent claims, as shown by careful jury instructions. Citrix’s comparison to the BuddyHelp prior art, in aid of a legitimate defense, did not cause prejudice to Communique. In reaching its decision, the Court noted that claim terms must be construed the same way for both invalidity and infringement. Thus, if a narrow construction was appropriate for validity in the reexamination to avoid the prior art, a broader construction should not be applied against alleged infringers.

BRI does not allow unfettered license to disregard inventor’s description of the invention

The Court took issue with the PTO’s construction of “coupled.” While the “broadest reasonable interpretation” applies at the PTO, that interpretation must be consistent with the specification, and does not allow “unfettered license to interpret the words in a claim.” The Court pointed to several portions of the specification that support a narrower construction of “coupled”, noting that the patent “strives to eliminate unnecessary components and create a more compact circuit.”

Federal Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Case Involving Question of Joint Inventorship Under Section 102(f)

In a prior abandoned patent application, VerHoef listed himself as joint inventor of the dog mobility device with Dr. Lamb, the veterinarian making the suggestion; this joint venture failed and then each party tried to file competing patent applications. This was all done at a time when VerHoef was not well acquainted with patent law according to Thomas Loop, patent attorney at Loop IP Law representing VerHoef in the case. “All inventors take limitations and elements from others, that’s the essence of inventions,” Loop argued to the Federal Circuit panel of Circuit Judges Pauline Newman, Haldane Robert Mayer and Alan Lourie. “[VerHoef] had the entire reduction to practice of the invention… she blurted out an idea, and he adopted it. That’s what happened here.” Although VerHoef agreed that Dr. Lamb did provide the suggestion, Loop argued that this suggestion did not elevate the veterinarian to the level of inventor.

Federal Circuits invalidates patent covering starting a session on one communication-enabled device and transferring it to another

The Federal Circuit decision in the case of CRFD Research v. Matal resolves three appeals involving a single patent: CRFD’s ‘233 patent describing methods and systems that allow a user to begin a session on one communication-enabled device and transfer it to another… Lack of anticipation based on a single reference does not preclude a finding of obviousness based on the same reference. Even if a reference’s is insufficient for anticipation, which is a question of fact, that same reference teachings may be used to find obviousness, a question of law based on underlying factual findings.

Beware Waiver: Recovery Not Permitted on Damages Theories Not Presented/Preserved at Trial

In Promega Corporation v. Life Technologies Corporation, on remand from the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit affirmed district court rulings that granted Life Technologies’ motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) that Promega Corp. had failed to prove its infringement case under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) and § 271(f)(1), and subsequently denied Promega’s motion for a new trial.

CAFC Reverses and Remands Attorney’s Fees Issue in Newegg’s Favor

The district court made clearly erroneous factual findings that independently supported reversal. Particularly, the record supported a finding that this case was exceptional given the weakness of AdjustaCam’s litigating position. The evidence offered by AdjustaCam showed that its lawsuit was baseless. However, the district court instead found that AdjustaCam’s litigation position was not exceptional because Newegg’s ball-and-socket products were constrained in such a way that AdjustaCam could reasonably argue that it rotated on a single axis, consistent with the original district judge’s Markman order. But the Court pointed out that AdjustaCam never advanced this argument.

Federal Circuit Affirms CBM Unpatentability Holding; Finding Estoppel Did Not Apply

In Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Westlake Servs. the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) in a Covered Business Method (“CBM”) review proceeding, agreeing with the Board that petitioner Westlake was not estopped from maintaining a CBM review of the challenged claims and confirming that the challenged claims are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101… Dissenting-in-part, Judge Mayer would have held that the Court does not have jurisdiction to review a decision by the Board regarding a motion to terminate a post-grant review proceeding as barred by § 325(e)(1).