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Posts Tagged: "Chief Judge Sharon Prost"

Federal Circuit Says PTAB Erred by Accepting Stipulation of Parties

According to Judge Taranto, when the issue of indefiniteness of claims is raised in an IPR the challenge is not merely a contest between the petitioner and the patent owner, but rather protects the interests of the judicial system, the agency, and the public. Therefore, the Board should have conducted a prior-art analysis without any consideration of or deference to the stipulation of the parties, and entry of a final written decision on the merits absent such an independent consideration was inappropriate. The Board should have determined if there is indefiniteness and if “such indefiniteness renders it impossible to adjudicate the prior-art challenge on its merits, then the Board should conclude that it is impossible to reach a decision on the merits of the challenge and so state in its decision.”

Federal Circuit Vacates and Remands District Court’s Infringement and Willfulness Findings in Omega Patents v. CalAmp

On April 8, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Omega Patents, LLC v. CalAmp Corp. that reversed and vacated a district court’s ruling that CalAmp had directly infringed certain patent claims asserted by Omega. While the Federal Circuit did affirm that CalAmp directly infringed one of the asserted claims, it vacated and remanded on a number of the district court’s other findings. The decision was issued by a panel including Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judges Timothy Dyk and Evan Wallach. Omega’s allegations of patent infringement centered on CalAmp’s sale of Location Messaging Unit (LMU) products that assist businesses and government entities by tracking fleets of vehicles and retrieving vehicle information such as battery health and speed for remote monitoring. A jury verdict in the Middle District of Florida held that all asserted claims were not invalid, were infringed, and that CalAmp had committed willful patent infringement. The jury awarded compensatory damages of $2.98 million and the judge trebled that damages award and added attorney’s fees, damages for sales subsequent to the jury verdict and pre-judgment interest, increasing the monetary award to about $15 million with an ongoing royalty rate of $12.76 per sale of infringing unit by CalAmp.

Mandamus Relief Denied: Federal Circuit Avoids Clarifying TC Heartland in In re Google LLC

The Federal Circuit recently elected not to decide en banc “whether servers are a regular and established place of business, such that venue is proper under 35 U.S.C. § 1400(b). In re: Google LLC, No. 2018-152 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 5, 2019) (Before Prost, Chief Judge, Newman, Lourie, Dyk, Moore, O’Malley, Reyna, Wallach, Taranto, Chen, Hughes, and Stoll, Circuit Judges) (Dissent by Reyna, Circuit Judge, joined by Newman and Lourie, Circuit Judges). SEVEN Networks, LLC’s (SEVEN) patent infringement suit against Google arose in the Eastern District of Texas. SEVEN alleged Google’s servers, stored in a third-party ISP’s facility, where the allegedly infringing activities occurred, were a regular and established place of business, such that venue is proper under 35 U.S.C. § 1400(b). The district court denied Google’s motion to dismiss for improper venue. As a result, Google petitioned the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to dismiss or transfer the case for improper venue. On appeal, the panel majority found mandamus relief inappropriate because “it is not known if the district court’s ruling involves the kind of broad and fundamental legal questions relevant to § 1400(b),” and “it would be appropriate to allow the issue to percolate in the district courts so as to more clearly define the importance, scope, and nature of the issue for us to review.”

Federal Circuit Says Erroneous Claim Construction Led PTAB to Uphold Claims as Valid

On Thursday, December 20th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential decision in Vivint, Inc. v. Alarm.com, Inc. which affirmed aspects of three inter partes review (IPR) proceedings conducted by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidating certain claims from three patents owned by Vivint. However, the Federal Circuit panel of Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judges Kathleen O’Malley and Todd Hughes found an erroneous claim construction led the Board to uphold some of the challenged claims.

Continuing to Pursue Claim Construction Arguments Does Not Make Case Exceptional

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the decision of the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota denying attorney fees to Wright Medical Technology, Inc. Spineology, Inc. had alleged Wright’s X-REAM® expandable reamer product infringed several claims of its patent. The alleged infringement hinged on the claim construction of the term “body.” Initially, the district court declined to adopt either party’s construction of the term. On cross-motions for summary judgment, however, the court construed “body” consistent with Wright’s non-infringement position and granted Wright’s motion… When a court chooses not to adopt either party’s claim construction order, continued pursuit of the proposed claim construction does not necessitate a finding of an exceptional case. Further, a district court need not decide issues mooted by summary judgment to determine whether a case is exceptional.

Even If New Matter, Entire Application Relevant to Assessing Compliance with Written Description Requirement

Several weeks ago, in a non-precedential opinion, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in In re: David Tropp, which vacated and remanded a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB decision had affirmed an examiner’s rejection of a patent application covering a luggage inspection technology. The Federal Circuit panel of Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judges Raymond Clevenger and Kimberly Moore determined the PTAB erred in its written description analysis by failing to consider all of the language of the specification as filed when determining whether there was sufficient support for the claimed invention. “Even if it is new matter, the language in the ’233 application as filed is relevant to assessing compliance with the written description requirement,” Judge Moore wrote. “The Board’s failure to consider this language was erroneous.”

CAFC Refuses to Find Post-URAA Patent to be Invalidating Reference Against Pre-URAA Patent

The Federal Circuit recently reversed a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware holding that a patent filed after the Uruguay Round Agreement Act (“URAA”) is a proper obviousness-type double patenting reference against an earlier-filed, yet later-expiring, pre-URAA patent. Applying the Federal Circuit case Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Natco Pharma Ltd., the district court invalidated the earlier-filed compound patent by asserting the later-filed method of treatment patent as a double patenting reference. The Federal Circuit reversed the decision by holding the analysis in Gilead “was limited to the context of when both patents in question are post-URAA patents.” While the Court limited the present opinion to the specific facts of this case, the Court applied pre-URAA double-patenting practices to the pre-URAA patent and reasoned that the invalidating reference “did not exist as a double patenting reference” when the pre-URAA patent issued

CAFC Affirms PTAB Win for Patent Owner in Nonprecedential Decision, Chief Prost Dissents

The Federal Circuit recently issued a nonprecedential opinion in Amazon.com, Inc. v. ZitoVault, LLC, affirming a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that e-commerce giant Amazon failed to prove a patent owned by security solutions provider ZitoVault was unpatentable. The Federal Circuit majority of Circuit Judges Kara Stoll and Kathleen O’Malley disagreed with Amazon’s that the PTAB erred in its claim construction. Dissenting, Chief Judge Sharon Prost wrote that she believed the PTAB’s analysis of a specific claim term was flawed, and she would have vacated the PTAB decision and remanded the case for further consideration. The patent-at-issue was ZitoVault’s U.S. Patent No. 6484257, titled System and Method for Maintaining N Number of Simultaneous Cryptographic Sessions Using a Distributed Computing Environment. Issued in November 2002, it claims a software architecture for conducting a plurality of cryptographic sessions over a distributed computing environment.

Federal Circuit affirms PTAB Mixed Decision in Acceleration Bay v. Activision Blizzard

Acceleration Bay appealed the final written decisions of the Board holding claims 1-9 of U.S. Patent No. 6,829,634, claims 1-11 and 16-19 of U.S. Patent No. 6,701,344, and claims 1-11 and 16-17 of U.S. Patent No. 6,714,966 all unpatentable. Petitioners Activision Blizzard, Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 2k Sports, Inc., and Rockstar Games, Inc. (collectively, “Blizzard”) also cross-appealed portions of the Board’s decisions holding patentable claims 10-18 of the `634 patent, as well as substitute claims 19 of the `966 patent, 21 of the `344 patent, and 25 of the `634 patent. Blizzard also cross appealed the Board’s decisions holding that one particular reference — the Lin article — was not a printed publication under 35 U.S.C. § 102(a). In an opinion authored by Judge Moore and joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Reyna, the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB decision, finding that both Acceleration Bay’s and Blizzard’s arguments were without merit.

Federal Circuit says Assignor Estoppel Has “No Place” in IPR Proceedings

The Federal Circuit recently found that assignor estoppel has “no place in IPR proceedings,” affirming a holding of the Patent Trials and Appeal Board (“Board”) that assignor estoppel did not bar Arista Networks (“Arista”) from attempting to invalidate a patent belonging to Cisco Systems (“Cisco”).  Arista’s founder, Dr. David Cheriton, was the inventor on the patent Arista wanted to invalidate and had previously assigned the patent to Cisco while employed by Cisco. See Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Nos. 2017-1525, 2017-1577, 2018  (Fed. Cir. Nov. 9, 2018) (Before Prost, Schall, and Chen, J.) (Opinion for the court, Prost, J.).

Blockbuster Restasis Patent Goes Down at Federal Circuit a Victim of Rule 36

Without any explanation, analysis or justification, Chief Judge Prost, and Judges Reyna and Hughes affirmed the decision of colleague Judge Bryson. A patent to a blockbuster drug like Restasis, which has over $1.4 billion in annual sales in the United States, deserves greater consideration than a once sentence disposition that simply says: “Affirmed.”… It is one thing to use Rule 36 to dispose of an appeal that should never have been brought relating to an invention of modest or no commercial success. But there is something fundamentally arrogant about using Rule 36 to finally strike a fatal blow to a patent covering a blockbuster drug responsible for more than $1.4 billion in annual sales in the United States. And given that the district court judge was Judge Bryson, the lack of an opinion only raises further questions.

CAFC Vacates PTAB Obviousness Decision, Nonobviousness Nexus Established by Patent Owner

The Federal Circuit recently issued a non-precedential decision in LiquidPower Specialty Products v. Baker Hughes, vacating and remanding a final written decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which had invalidated claims of a LiquidPower patent in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. In a nutshell, the Federal Circuit found there to be substantial evidence supporting PTAB determinations relating to specifically what the prior art taught, and what the prior art motivated those of skill in the art to do vis-a-vis motivation to combine. However, the panel, made up of Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judges Todd Hughes and Kimberly Moore, determined that substantial evidence did not support the PTAB’s finding that the patent owner failed to establish a nexus between the claimed invention and objective evidence of nonobviousness, or secondary considerations as they are sometimes called.  The case is now remanded to the PTAB for proper consideration of the objective evidence of nonobviousness presented by the patent owner. 

Rule 36 Affirmances at the Federal Circuit – Week of October 8, 2018

During the week of October 8, 2018,  there were five cases involving patents that were decided without an opinion as a result of Rule 36 affirmances at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Three of those cases were issued by panels including Chief Judge Sharon Prost. In two cases, the Federal Circuit upheld district court invalidations of asserted patents whereas another two affirmed rejections of applicants claims by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The last case was a summary affirmance of a victory by German drugmaker Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep over Eli Lilly in the Eastern District of Texas.

Federal Circuit Decision Erases $234 million Damages Awarded to WARF

The Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling reversing the district court’s denial of Apple Inc.’s (“Apple”) motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) after finding no reasonable juror could have found infringement based on the evidence presented during the liability phase of trial. The decision erased an awarded over $234 million in damages to Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The Court, however, affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment with respect to invalidity in favor of the patent owner.

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Invalidation of Claims Federal Circuit Previously Upheld as Valid

Previously, the ITC instituted an investigation of Instradentdental implants based on a complaint filed by Nobel alleging violations of 19 U.S.C. § 1337 by reason of importation of an implant product infringing the ’977 patent and another patent. The ITC’s Administrative Law Judge issued an Initial Determination finding claims 1–5 and 19 anticipated by the ABT catalog but the ITC later issued a Commission Opinion finding that Instradent failed to show by clear and convincing evidence, the standard applied by the ITC, that the ABT catalog is prior art under § 102(b). A Federal Circuit panel affirmed the ITC’s decision without opinion. Subsequently, Instradent petitioned for IPR of claims 1–7, 9, and 13–20 of the ’977 patent, and Nobel filed a statutory disclaimer of claims 9 and 13–18.