Posts Tagged: "Patent Litigation"

Patent Filings Roundup: Denial of Me-Too Joinder under General Plastics; Magnetar Sub, Wielding LG Wireless Charging Patents, Sues Volkswagen

A light district court week saw just 37 new patent complaints filed (I believe, the lowest week of the year to date); statistically, the beginning of the year, month, and quarter are generally lower than the rest of the year in terms of patent filings, due primarily to the filing patterns of megafiler IP Edge and their proclivity to ramp up filings at the ends of months and quarters. There were 78 terminations (just above average). Frequent filer, RFC Lenders of Texas LLC, ensnared yet another local Texas company, this time Texas Southern Tire Mart LLC, in volume patent litigation; Intellectual Ventures refiled their new automotive OEM campaign outside of the Eastern District of Texas, moving to the Northern for certain OEMs; and Jack Henry Associates, as provider to many banks and websites of check deposit software, filed a declaratory judgment action against frequent filer, Lupercal LLC.

Leahy/ Tillis Announce Bill to Balance PTAB Process

Last night, the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property published an op-ed in The Hill on the important role the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays in the U.S. patent ecosystem, and expressed their commitment to strong patent rights as a necessity for American innovation to flourish. “In order to ensure America’s continued dominance in all areas of innovation, we must have strong patent rights,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote. “However, for our patent rights to truly be strong, they have to be based on high-quality patents… The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays a critical role in this process and is a necessary backstop to invalidate truly low-quality patents that do not represent true innovation and never should have been issued.”

Money, Media, Votes, and Passing H.R. 5874

All things in Washington are driven by money, media and votes. If you can deliver one or more of those things, you will get the results you want. Engaging in politics with this in mind is key to fixing the broken patent system by passing HR 5874, the Restoring American Leadership in Innovation Act (RALIA). Since no mortal can compete with Big Tech’s big bucks and their control of social media, and the media in general, the only lever remaining is delivering votes back home, or more importantly, delivering those votes to candidates who commit to supporting HR 5874.

CAFC Vacates Section 112 Indefiniteness Ruling, Sending St. Jude Medical Back to Court

On April 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision in Niazi Licensing Corp. v. St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. in which the court affirmed most of a ruling from the District of Minnesota, including sanctions against Niazi for improper use of expert testimony, as well as a finding of no induced infringement by St. Jude on one of Niazi’s asserted patent claims. However, the Federal Circuit’s decision reversed the Minnesota district court’s ruling invalidating most patent claims asserted by Niazi for indefiniteness under Section 112. The CAFC found that Niazi’s asserted claims were not invalid simply for including descriptive words or terms of degree, as long as the intrinsic record and extrinsic evidence enable a skilled artisan to identify the boundaries of a claim’s scope.

CAFC Orders New Damages Trial for Roche, Clarifies Standard for Patent Damages Limitations Period

On April 8, in a mixed and split precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed, reversed, vacated, and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the district of Delaware in a patent infringement suit brought by Meso Scale Diagnostics (Meso) against Roche Diagnostic Corporation and BioVeris Corporation (collectively Roche). Judge Pauline Newman dissented. Meso brought suit claiming that Roche violated exclusive license rights belonging to Meso by both direct and induced infringement of their patents. The CAFC affirmed the district court’s findings on the direct infringement claim, reversed the induced infringement finding, vacated the awarded damages, and remanded for a new trial on damages.

CAFC Says District Court’s Claim Construction Rendered Dependent Claims ‘Meaningless’

On April 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential decision in Littelfuse, Inc. v. Mersen USA EP Corp. clarifying how U.S. district courts handling claim construction are to construe a patent’s independent claims in light of limitations included in dependent claims. While the Federal Circuit found that the District of Massachusetts was correct to give meaning to the term “fastening stem” by looking to uses of “fastening” and “stem” within the patent, the appellate court vacated and remanded a stipulated judgment of non-infringement, as the district court’s construction of certain independent claim terms would render superfluous other claim terms from dependent claims.

PTAB Denies OpenSky’s Request for Rehearing But VLSI Cases Highlight Broader PTAB Problems

On March 28, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied petitioner OpenSky Industries’ request for rehearing of an earlier decision denying institution of inter partes review (IPR) of one of two VLSI patents supporting a massive $2.2 billion infringement damages verdict in U.S. district court. The ruling is the latest chapter in a series of challenges to VLSI’s patent claims, which has forced VLSI to run a gauntlet arguably demonstrating that the PTAB fails to function as the alternative forum for speedy validity resolutions originally envisioned by Congress when it passed the America Invents Act (AIA) into law back in 2011.

CAFC Overturns Win for Nintendo Based on District Court’s Incorrect Claim Construction Analysis

On April 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a summary judgment decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in an infringement suit brought by Genuine Enabling Technology (Genuine) against Nintendo Company and Nintendo of America (collectively “Nintendo”) for allegedly infringing certain claims of Genuine’s U.S. Patent No. 6,219,730 (‘730 patent). The CAFC reversed the district court’s summary judgment decision because the district court erred in its construction of “input signal” and should have construed the term to mean “a signal having an audio or higher frequency.”

Judge Michel Implores Full CAFC to Fix ‘Fuzzy’ Rebuttable Presumption of Nexus Jurisprudence

On March 20, Zaxcom, Inc., the owner of U.S. Patent No. 9,336,307 for Engineering Emmy® and technical OSCAR award-winning wireless microphone technology, petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) for rehearing en banc after the court found its original patent claims unpatentable as obvious. Zaxcom argued that the CAFC’s precedent in Fox Factory, Inc. v. SRAM LLC, 944 F.3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2019), “confused the law” regarding a rebuttable presumption of nexus. Now, former CAFC Chief Judge, Paul Michel, has filed an amicus brief supporting Zaxcom and asking the full CAFC to resolve “unintentional confusion and conflict” in the court’s obviousness jurisprudence.

NIH’s Fight for Ownership of Moderna’s COVID-19 Patent Highlights Hazards of Business Collaborations

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is at legal odds with Moderna, claiming that Moderna neglected to add three NIH scientists to Moderna’s patent application on a principal COVID-19 vaccine. If a court ends up siding with NIH, it would co-own any issued patents on the technology, which could prove to be quite valuable; in 2021, Moderna’s vaccine sales were forecasted to be in the range of $15 billion and $18 billion. With an equal undivided interest in the patent, NIH could do whatever it wishes with it, such as licensing it to others and collecting royalties.

Patent Filings Roundup: Intel Cancels Qualcomm Claims on Remand; New Rideshare, Cloud Storage NPE Campaigns Launched

Some new assertion entities popped up this week, including a high-stakes campaign filed by LS Cloud Storage Technologies LLC (a Waco vintage, if from 2016) on a couple of data-sharing patents (one very old, one somewhat new, U.S. 6,549,988 and U.S. 10,154,092). There was also a new ride-sharing NPE campaign from Fare Technologies LLC (another older LLC with apparent ties to monetizers) against Uber and Lyft on just one patent, RE46727. By the numbers: the district courts saw 70 new patent complaints and another 106 terminated cases this week; the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had their now-usual 25 petitions. 

CAFC Says Dyfan Claim Limitations are Not Invalid Due to Means-Plus-Function Format

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas that Dyfan, LLC’s claims were invalid as indefinite. The CAFC concluded that the disputed claim limitations were not drafted in means-plus-function format, and therefore 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6 did not apply. Patent owner Dyfan sued Target Corp. for infringement of various claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,973,899 and 10,194,292. Following a claim construction hearing, the district court found that the disputed (1) “code”/“application” limitations and (2) “system” limitations of the patents-in-suit were invalid as indefinite. Specifically, the district court found that: (1) these claim limitations of the patents-in-suit are in means-plus-function format under Section 112 ¶ 6 and (2) the specification does not disclose sufficient structure corresponding to the recited functions. Dyfan subsequently appealed.

Lessons from Junker v. Medical Components, Inc. on Commercial Offers for Sale Invalidating a Patent

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) further explained the “on-sale” bar in Junker v. Medical Components, Inc., Case No. 2021-1649 (Feb. 10, 2022). As previously reported here, the case hinged on whether a letter between Larry Junker’s business partner and Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) was a “commercial offer for sale” before the one-year grace period took effect. The CAFC held that all necessary terms for a commercial offer were present in the letter, and therefore, the letter qualified as a commercial offer for sale invalidating Junker’s patent.

CAFC Upholds PTAB Precedential Opinion Panel Decision Despite ‘Problematic’ Reasoning

On March 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Precedential Opinion Panel’s (POP’s) decision allowing patent owner DynaEnergetics Europe GmH to amend its claims, and also affirmed the PTAB’s decision that the original claims of the patent were unpatentable. Hunting Titan, Inc. petitioned for inter partes review of claims 1–15 of the U.S. Patent No. 9,581,422, asserting grounds of unpatentability based on anticipation and obviousness, including allegations that the claims were anticipated by U.S. Patent No. 9,689,223 (Schacherer). The Board instituted trial on all grounds and found all of the original claims unpatentable.

ED of Texas Adopts Magistrate’s Claim Construction in Finding No Infringement of Debit Card Patents

On March 16, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division adopted the Report and Recommendation (R&R) of a magistrate judge and granted two motions of non-infringement for Simon Property Group L.P. (Simon) and Blackhawk Network, Inc. (Blackhawk). AlexSam, Inc. filed suit for patent infringement against Simon and Blackhawk, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,000,608 (the ‘608 patent). AlexSam asserted that “[t]he ‘608 Patent covers a variety of important technologies relating to the debit card industry,” and “[t]he multifunction card system disclosed in the ‘608 Patent enabled consumers and retailers to use existing point-of-sales devices, the existing banking infrastructure, and a bank identification number (BIN) to perform financial transactions.”