Posts Tagged: "Patent Litigation"

Talkin’ Trade: When Administrative Agencies Collide—Litigating in Parallel at the ITC and the PTAB

Over the past decade, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has emerged as a critical and much-relied-upon tool for those facing patent infringement allegations. Some say that’s exactly what Congress intended with the America Invents Act—a defendant can file a validity challenge at the PTAB and get an expedited ruling on invalidity in a forum with specialized technical expertise and before judges with relevant technical backgrounds, at a lower cost than litigating validity issues in district court. And in fact, district courts will often stay infringement actions pending PTAB review of a patent at issue in a particular case.But the district courts and the PTAB are not the only fora in which patent issues are adjudicated. The United States International Trade Commission (ITC)—an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency based in Washington, DC—has become a forum of choice for patent owners seeking fast and effective relief for patent infringement.

As Judge Stark Ascends to the Federal Circuit, a Look Back at His 2018 Ruling in American Axle

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Judge Leonard P. Stark to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit bench has great importance to the world of patent law as this is the U.S. federal court of appeal with specialized subject matter jurisdiction over all patent cases arising in U.S. district court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Judge Stark was confirmed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 61-35 vote, reported to be one of the most bipartisan confirmation votes thus far into the Biden Administration. Perhaps chief among Judge Stark’s qualifications that inspired such confidence in his nomination at the Senate was his previous position as U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware. Serving as the Chief Judge of that district court since 2014, Judge Stark’s docket has seen more than 2,400 patent cases filed since he joined the District of Delaware back in 2010.

Original Claims to Award-Winning Wireless Mic Tech Found Obvious at CAFC, But Narrowed Claims Upheld

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) agreed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) decision that the original claims of Zaxcom’s U.S. Patent No. 9,336,307 for Engineering Emmy® and technical OSCAR award-winning wireless microphone technology were unpatentable as obvious. However, the court upheld the substitute claims Zaxcom had proposed. Zaxcom appealed the PTAB’s decision on the original claims in May of 2020, arguing that the PTAB misconstrued the patent claims and failed to properly consider evidence of industry praise.

Patent Filings Roundup: Qualcomm Dragged into Waco by Magentar on IoT Chips; Board Skips Merits in Denial

Happy belated Valentine’s Day; there were 74 district court terminations last week (mostly file-and-settle flotsam); 36 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (bolsted by Qualcomm indemnification filings and some medical device action); and 56 district court patent filings this week, in a mid-month lull before certain entities have to hit their end-of-month quota; let’s get to it.

CAFC Affirms District Court Finding that Dual-Access Lock Patents are Invalid Under 101

On February 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the Eastern District of New York’s grant of summary judgment that inventor David Tropp’s patents were invalid because they claim ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The appeal was brought by Tropp against Travel Sentry, Inc. and other lock and luggage makers. The asserted claims relate to U.S. Patent Nos. 7,021,537 (the ’537 patent) and 7,036,728 (‘728 patent). Representative claim 1 of the ’537 patent relates to a method of making available a dual-access lock having a combination-lock portion and a master-key-lock portion. The dual-access lock allegedly enables travelers to lock their bags while still allowing luggage screeners to access luggage (with a marked lock) with a master key.

Word Salad, Fact Confusion, and Lawyering: One Take on ParkerVision v. Qualcomm

Last month, I followed a hearing in a case called ParkerVision v. Qualcomm in Federal Court in the Middle District of Florida and reviewed the court briefs. This patent infringement case is potentially one of the largest of the year and is related to very important technology that miniaturized radio frequency (RF) transceivers, thus paving the way for the invention of the smartphone. Lawyer arguments in these hearings are very interesting, and you can learn a lot about the law. You can also learn how lawyers distort and twist the facts by confusing the court with word games, something I call word salad. Courts are pretty good at figuring out word games in most subject matter, but technology is foreign territory to many courts, so a well-tossed word salad can bring about an unjust decision.

General Counsels Ask Raimondo to Immediately Repeal NHK-Fintiv Framework

Invoking familiar warnings about grave threats to U.S. innovation, 23 chief legal officers of big companies spanning industries from high-tech, internet and streaming to auto, financial services and home security, recently sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo calling on her to “immediately repeal the NHK-Fintiv rule” established by former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu via precedential Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions. According to the letter, NHK-Fintiv practice has written vital protections intended by the America Invents Act out of the law without public notice or comment, and “has caused—and continues to cause—immediate and irreparable harm to American innovators and manufacturers.”

The Anti-suit Injunction Conundrum: How We Got Here and How to Avoid It

An anti-suit injunction is an interim order issued by a court in one jurisdiction that prohibits a litigant from initiating or continuing parallel litigation in another jurisdiction. The practice of the anti-suit injunction is traced back to fifteenth century England, where royal courts issued writs of prohibition to stay parallel proceedings in the ecclesiastical courts or common law courts. Initially, the use of anti-suit injunctions was limited in England. By the nineteenth century, however, their use expanded to prevent litigation in other British colonies and eventually foreign countries.

Federal Circuit Denies Mandamus in Due Process Violations Case Against Big Tech Companies

The CAFC on Friday, February 11, denied a petition for writ of mandamus filed by B.E. Technology in November of last year asking the court to intervene to “prevent an unconstitutional deprivation of B.E.’s property rights in the onslaught of IPR proceedings that have been brought to challenge the validity of its most critical patents.” B.E. has been embroiled in litigation with big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google for close to a decade now. The CAFC said in its denial that “B.E. has not shown a clear right to a different result here by relying primarily on a self-published article that is outside of the record.”

CAFC Affirms District Court Finding that Naloxone Patents are Obvious; Newman Dissents

On February 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, explaining that the district court did not err in finding several Adapt Pharma patents obvious. The asserted claims relate to U.S. Patent Nos. 9,468,747; 9,561,177; 9,629,965; and 9,775,838 (collectively, the “patents-in-suit”). The patents-in-suit claim methods of treating opioid overdose by intranasal administration of a naloxone formulation, as well as devices for intranasal administration. Naloxone is the active ingredient in Adapt’s NARCANâ Nasal Spray and is an opioid receptor antagonist, thus helping reverse the effects of opioid overdose. The opinion was authored by Judge Kara Stoll; Judge Pauline Newman dissented.

Patent Filings Roundup: End-of-Month Filing Spike; IP Val Sues Smart Thermostat Cos.

Last week included the end of January, which meant district court filings spiked as they usually do at the end of the month, with 92 new patent filings, and plenty of terminations (66). Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenges (41) were propped up by filings between Ericsson and Apple in their large-scale 5G dispute, Samsung challenging an entire portfolio, it seems, on some assets owned by a subsidiary of the perennial file-and-settle consort IP Edge (which seems to be getting big eyes and going after bigger players these days, after years of filing thousands of suits against smaller companies); a number of competitor-competitor chipmaker suits, including one by Infineon against more Vector Capital-backed Monterey Research semiconductor patents; challenges by Nokia against monetizer IP Bridge patents; and a number of petitions filed by Chanel against Molo Design Ltd.

CAFC Corrects District Court’s On-Sale Bar Analysis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today reversed the U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania’s summary judgment that a medical device design patent was not invalid under the on-sale bar. Junker v. Medical Components, Inc. The district court found the patent was infringed and awarded damages in the amount of $1,247,910. But the CAFC held that a letter sent by the inventor’s business partner to Boston Scientific Corporation in 1999 represented a commercial offer for sale of the claimed design.

Federal Circuit Gets New Blood as Senate Confirms Leonard Stark to Replace O’Malley

Judge Leonard Philip Stark was confirmed by the U.S. Senate yesterday to be the next judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, replacing Judge Kathleen O’Malley. O’Malley announced in July of last year that she will officially retire on March 11, 2022. Stark was confirmed by a vote of 61-35, which is reportedly one of the most bipartisan votes so far during President Joe Biden’s administration.

When Commercial Success Can Prove Non-Obviousness

Imagine, as a patentee, that you assert your broadly claimed patent(s) against an alleged infringer, and your opponent takes you to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) via an inter partes review (IPR) petition, where they present sufficient evidence of obviousness such that you have to resort to (gulp) secondary considerations. While no dream situation for patentees, it is important to understand the patent owner’s evidentiary burden when confronting obviousness challenges using secondary considerations, such as commercial success, long-felt but unsolved needs, failure of others and unexpected results. Here are three recent Federal Circuit decisions that are informative with respect to successfully (or unsuccessfully) utilizing evidence of commercial success in countering an obviousness attack.

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Attempt to Unseal Uniloc Licenses Falls Flat at CAFC

In its second appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) regarding the sealing of documents in several related cases against Apple, Uniloc scored a win when the CAFC said today that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California failed to comply with its original remand instructions, constituting an abuse of discretion. The appellate court for a second time ordered the district court “to make particularized determinations as to whether the third-party licensing information sought to be sealed should be made public.”