Posts Tagged: "Chief Judge Sharon Prost"

En Banc Federal Circuit Dodges PTAB Constitutionality

Patlex, which dealt with reexamination of applications by an examiner — not by an Article I tribunal — could be considered a next step beyond McCormick. MCM, however, simply cannot be viewed as consistent with either Patlex or McCormick on any level. Indeed, the Supreme Court was abundantly clear in McCormick, which remains good law. The courts of the United States (i.e., Article III courts), not the department that issued the patent, is the only entity vested with the authority to set aside or annul a patent right. Since the PTAB is not a court of the United States, it has no authority to invalidate patent rights. It is just that simple.

Federal Court validity decisions do not bind the PTAB

On appeal, Novartis argued that the PTAB unlawfully reached different conclusions than the Federal Circuit and U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in addressing the “same” arguments and the “same” evidence… The Court stated that “Novartis’s argument fails on factual and legal grounds.” First, the record in front of the PTAB differed from that of the prior litigation, meaning that Novartis’ argument rests on a “faulty factual predicate.”… “Nevertheless, even if the record were the same, Novartis’s argument would fail as a matter of law.” The PTAB reviews patentability under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. See 35 U.S.C. § 316(e). District court litigation requires “clear and convincing” evidence. Therefore, “the PTAB may properly reach a different conclusion based on the same evidence.”

Federal Circuit OKs PTAB invalidating patent claims prior litigation confirmed as valid

Patent claims being adjudicated valid in federal district court and then being killed in an administrative proceeding at the PTAB is exactly the problem so many of us saw coming. Time and time again throughout the debates in Congress, and all through the legislative history, post grant proceedings were explained as being a faster, low-cost alternative to litigating validity disputes in Federal District Court. That was just a lie. Post grant proceedings at the PTAB are not cheap, and they are not an alternative to district court proceedings. The PTAB is duplicative and anti-patent. In fact, because of the different standards used between district courts and the PTAB, and because district courts presume patents are valid pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 282, different outcomes are practically inevitable.

Federal Circuit Affirms Patent Invalidity and District Court’s Denial of Post-Judgment Motions

The Federal Circuit heard the case on TVIIM, LLC v. McAfee, Inc. A unanimous panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed jury determinations of non-infringement and patent invalidity and affirmed the district court’s denial of motions for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) and for a new trial… Litigators risk jury confusion by relying on “ordinary meaning” for a key claim term, without articulating what that meaning is. An alternative “ordinary meaning” will not be considered for the first time on appeal. Furthermore, alternative meanings may be considered harmless, if substantial evidence nevertheless supports a finding of invalidity under any construction.

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.

Teva Liable for Induced Infringement of Eli Lilly’s Lung Cancer Drug ALIMTA

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Akamai V broadened the circumstances in which the actions of others may be attributed to a single actor to support liability for direct infringement. Here, a patent that claims a method of administering treatment can be directly infringed if a physician performs some of the claimed steps and the patient performs the other steps under the physician’s direction and control. The infringement is induced by the drug manufacturer when it unambiguously encourages the performance of the infringing steps, as in its labeling for the drug.

Patent Territoriality: Is the IP World Getting Flatter?

It is a ubiquitous concept that U.S. IP rights cannot extend beyond the territorial borders of the U.S. But the IP world may be in for a change. If the Supreme Court upholds the Federal Circuits decision in Life Technologies Corporation, et al. v. Promega Corporation (No. 14–1538) currently pending before the Supreme Court, it will change the way companies engage in domestic and international business. The Supreme Court is specifically set to consider if supplying a component to a foreign manufacturer of a patented product creates liability under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1).

CAFC Vacates TTAB, Refuses Bright-Line Rule to Distinguish Software from Services Rendered

The Federal Circuit vacated the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) cancellation of two JobDiva service mark registrations—one in whole and the other in part—and remanded for further consideration. As the Court pointed out in its opinion, JobDiva could have avoided the issues in this case by initially registering “marks to identify both software and services performed by software.” Practitioners should take care to register a mark for all goods and services for which the mark may be used.

CAFC Remands Injunction Against Dismissed Party, Affirms Infringement and Validity

A district court does not have authority to issue an injunction against a party not adjudicated to be liable for infringement in the underlying case unless that party aided or abetted the liable party in the infringement, or the non-liable party is legally identified with the liable party through privity or some other means. This determination requires specific findings of fact about the parties.

Federal Circuit Finds District Court Mischarged the Jury on Induced Infringement

This case concerns ongoing disputes between Power Integrations and Fairchild Semiconductors. The companies sued each other in Delaware, each asserting infringement of multiple patents by the other. At issue were power supply controller chips used ubiquitously in modern electronics, the patents related to those chips, and how power is supplied and regulated from the upstream source to the downstream electronic device… Induced infringement requires successful communication between the alleged inducer and the third-party infringer; it is not sufficient in itself that others directly infringed the asserted claims.

Light on analysis, heavy on conclusion, no claim construction, CAFC rules claims ineligible

How patent claims can be invalidated without a proper and thorough claim construction is baffling. It flies in the face of everything patent law stands for and does nothing but encourage patent examiners, PTAB judges and district courts to do a facial check based on a gut feeling, nothing more… That type of subjective, half-baked analysis is antithetical to the patent process and the Federal Circuit should be ashamed for engaging in such a review. The only way to competently determine what a claim is directed to and whether the claim adds significantly more, whatever that means, is to do a proper, thorough and competent claim construction, period. Seriously, if the Court is going to publish a decision like this that is heavy on conclusions, non-existent on analysis, and almost certainly drafted by an intern or Staff Attorney, then why even make it a non-precedential opinion?

Federal Circuit Affirms Anticipation Based on Converting Units of Measure; Remands for Consideration of Prior Conception

Neste filed a petition for inter partes review of REG’s U.S. Patent No. 8,231,804 (‘804 patent) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ultimately found all of the challenged claims anticipated by either of two references. REG appealed, citing exhibits allegedly demonstrating a date of invention earlier than the prior art. Anticipation can be found where prior art discloses the claimed range in a different unit of measure that can be converted using reasonable and reliable methods. Prior invention is fact-intensive and must take into account all of the relevant evidence. Exhibits offered to show the fact of a communication, and not the truth of the communication’s contents, are not excludable as hearsay.

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.

Federal Circuit Upholds Obviousness Rejection of Claimed Influenza Inhaler

A divided panel of the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s rejection of all pending claims as obvious in an appeal arising from a method for treating or preventing influenza by oral inhalation of zanamivir. The teaching here seems to be that references can be combined to show that it would have been obvious to zero in on one of a few options disclosed in the prior art. Judge Newman filed a dissenting opinion.

District Court sua sponte raising dispositive issues not enough for case to be reassigned

While TecSec had urged the panel to reassign the case to a different judge on remand in part because the district court judge repeatedly held against TecSec, raised dispositive issues sua sponte, had been reversed on appeal for many of those issues, and had pre-judged a § 101 issue that has not yet been raised, reassignment is only appropriate in exceptional circumstances. “Here, reassignment is governed by Fourth Circuit law, which applies a three factor test for reassignment: 1) whether the judge would be reasonable expected to have substantial difficulty putting her views that were held to be incorrect out of her mind; 2) whether reassignment is necessary to preserve the appearance of justice; and 3) the degree of waste of judicial resources and duplication if the case were reassigned. See United States v. Guglielmi, 929 F.2d 1001, 1007 (4th Cir. 1991). Nothing in this case merits reassignment on remand.”