Posts Tagged: "Judge Jimmie Reyna"

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 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.

No evidence of lost sales or price erosion means no irreparable harm and no permanent injunction

Nichia Corporation (“Nichia”) sued Everlight Americas, Inc., Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd. and Zenaro Lighting (collectively, “Everlight”) for infringement of three of Nichia’s patents disclosing packaging designs and methods of manufacturing LED devices. Following a bench trial, the district court found that Everlight infringed all three patents and failed to prove the patents invalid. The district court denied Nichia’s request for a permanent injunction. Nichia appealed the district court’s refusal to enter a permanent injunction, and Everlight cross-appealed the district court’s infringement and validity findings. The Court affirmed on all grounds.

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.”

Recent court rumblings about a narrow scope of IPR estoppel

An Inter Partes Review (IPR) is an important tool for companies that face frequent patent infringement challenges. An IPR is essentially a mini-litigation focusing solely on patent validity conducted before a panel of administrative patent judges sitting in the Patent Trial and Appeal board (PTAB). Once an IPR is initiated, a decision on validity is issued within one year. The narrow focus, fast timing, and lower cost of an IPR, along with certain legal advantages that make proving invalidity easier in an IPR than in a district court, make it an attractive alternative to district court litigation when good invalidity arguments are available.

CAFC: A reference that requires significant modification will not anticipate and invalidate that claim

The Federal Circuit noted that precedent requires a prior art reference to disclose the invention without modification in order to anticipate. “[A] prior art reference that must be distorted from its obvious design does not anticipate a patent claim.” The Court applied that principle here and found that the first reference (Rambert) would only anticipate if one of its elements was removed. The Board failed to explain the removal of that element. The second reference (Bouttens) also required “significant and impermissible modification,” which was also unexplained. Consequently, the Board’s conclusions were not supported by substantial evidence.

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 Declines to Award Attorney Fees in Inventorship Dispute

The Federal Circuit heard the case on Univ. of Utah v. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung der Wissenschaften e.V. At issue is whether the district court abused its discretion in declining to award attorney fees to Max Planck. The case involved an inventorship dispute over the “Tuschl II patents,” for certain RNAi discoveries, and owned by Max Planck. March 2000, the Max Planck inventors published an article describing certain RNAi discoveries. A month later, Dr. Bass of the University of Utah published a review article discussing the Max Planck article and offering some hypotheses regarding RNAi. The Tuschl II patents were filed on subject matter that was influenced by testing Dr. Bass’ hypotheses. The University of Utah sued Max Planck, alleging that Dr. Bass is either a sole or joint inventor of the Tuschl II patents… The Court will not second-guess a district court’s finding that a case was not “exceptional” so long as the Court reasonably explained why the case does not stand out from other patent cases. A district court is not constrained to a specific or formulaic approach proposed in cases like Octane Fitness.

Sprint Still on the Hook to Comcast for $7.5 Million

The Federal Circuit affirmed a jury award of $7.5 million for Sprint’s infringement of three Comcast patents. The district court did not error in construing the challenged claims, there was sufficient evidence to support both the jury’s verdict and the award of prejudgment interest.

CAFC affirms reliance on expert declaration, remands inter partes reexam over O’Malley dissent

Reliance on expert declarations is not per se deficient because the declaration utilizes a legal turn-of-phrase, i.e. “It would have been obvious.” The declaration is sufficient, and reliance is not an error if the declaration incorporates factual determinations that support its legal conclusions….Strava sought Inter Partes Reexamination of several claims of a patent owned by Icon. During reexamination, the Examiner rejected all pending claims as obvious. Icon appealed the Examiner’s findings and the Board affirmed. Icon appealed to the Court and challenged the Board’s reliance on Strava’s expert declarations as improper and its decision as lacking substantial evidence.

Can Congress Bar Review of PTAB Decisions to Institute Inter Partes Review?

Wi-Fi One stands among the latest—and potentially the most important—in a series of cases that have called into question both the degree to which Congress intended to restrict the authority of federal courts to review certain decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the limits on Congress’s power to actually do so. While it remains to be seen how the en banc Federal Circuit will ultimately rule, the answer to its question will inevitably have a broad and deep impact on future inter partes review and other post-grant proceedings, Patent Office procedures, and beyond.

Derivation requires showing conception and communication of idea from claimed invention, not an obvious variant

Mylan had to show by clear and convincing evidence that the idea for the ’445 patent claim was conceived by someone at the FDA and communicated to Mr. Pavliv, the named inventor. The Court agreed with the district court that Mylan did not carry the burden of showing that someone other than Mr. Pavliv had conceived a “definite and permanent idea” of an EDTA-free Acetadote formulation. Mylan argued that Mr. Pavliv’s prior communications with the FDA, including the FDA’s request for justification of the inclusion of EDTA, required Cumberland to undertake research that would have inevitably led to the invention. However, this was not the same as a suggestion to remove EDTA. Derivation is not proved by showing conception and communication of an idea different from the claimed invention, even if that idea would make the claimed idea obvious.

Rule 36: Unprecedented Abuse at the Federal Circuit

The principal manner in which the district courts are divining their guidance from the Federal Circuit is by review of the precise language of claims that court finds non-statutory and comparing them to those at issue before the lower court. In Enfish v. Microsoft, Judge Hughes openly acknowledged that the test for patent eligibility is an ex post facto test that compares the instant claims against other cases where there is an opinion and then figures out which case is most similar to the claims in the instant case. Essentially, the patent eligibility test is a matching test without any semblance of intellectual rigor. How then could it be possible that more written opinions would not shed important light and have precedential value? Indeed, given the nature of the 101 test accurately described by Judge Hughes in Enfish, the Federal Circuit should review as many different claims as possible to expand its guidance to the lower courts. Any Section 101 case in the present state of affairs would necessarily have precedential value. How does this continuing affirmance of multiple district fact patterns without written opinions not violate the clear language of Rule 36 itself?

Admissions that programming was commonly known doom patent owner in CBM appeal

The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision to invalidate certain claims in three patents owned by Ameranth. The Court relied heavily on Ameranth’s concessions within the specification that certain aspects of the invention were “typical” or “commonly known.” Practitioners should be wary of using such language and should take steps to identify specific technological improvements.

Prior Art Combination that Sometimes Provides Results of Broadly Claimed Method Can Make that Method Obvious

In 2013, Google, Inc. (“Google”) filed inter partes review and covered business method petitions challenging the validity of Unwired Planet, LLC’s (“Unwired”) patent, at issue on appeal. The patent describes a prioritization of search results based upon the location of a mobile device and including prioritization of “preferred providers” within those search results, in turn providing a “farther-over-nearer” ordering of the results. The Board invalidated all of the challenged claims as obvious. The Federal Circuit concluded, “[b]ecause the use of alphabetical order as prioritization information would sometimes meet the farther-over-nearer claim elements, the Board was correct to conclude that the proposed combination” rendered claim 1 obvious.