Posts Tagged: "patent"

Federal Circuit Snubs Applicant’s Attempt to ‘Recapture’ Ineligible Subject Matter via Reissue

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today ruled in a precedential decision that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) correctly rejected a patent applicant’s reissue claims as “impermissibly attempting to recapture subject matter that the patentee intentionally surrendered during prosecution.” The opinion, authored by Judge Cunningham, explained that John Bradley McDonald, who is named as the inventor on U.S. Patent No. 8,572,111, amended claims 1-9 and 19-21 following an examiner’s rejection of them as patent ineligible, since they were not tied to a processor for conducting the claimed searches. McDonald added “a processor” to certain claim limitations in order to meet the requirement for tying the methods described by the patent to a particular machine and the examiner ultimately withdrew the Section 101 rejection.

USPTO Lawyer Explains Divergence from CAFC on Eligibility

June Cohan, Senior Legal Advisor in the Office of Patent Legal Administration at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today explained to attendees of an event about the Office’s patent eligibility guidance that there are no plans to revise the guidance in light of the denial of certiorari in American Axle. She also acknowledged several areas of “divergence,” or “outlier cases,” between the USPTO and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit (CAFC) approaches to determining patent eligibility which the Office has no plans for revising, despite the fact that the CAFC is the reviewing court for the USPTO.

CAFC Denies HPE Mandamus Petition for Transfer from Texas to Massachusetts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied Hewlett Packard’s petition for a writ of mandamus ordering the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer its case to Massachusetts. Intellectual Ventures (IV) sued Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) in the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of a patent directed to data storage solutions assigned to IV. HPE moved for transfer, arguing that the development of the accused products occurred mostly in Massachusetts, but the district court denied the motion.

Blow to AI, Clarity for Humans: Key Insights from the DABUS Rulings

The August 2019 announcement that two patent applications had been filed naming an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm as an inventor in the United States and a dozen other countries was regarded as disruptive and profound at the time. It was one of the hot topics in patent law during those last few months before the pandemic. But since then, given all the other crazy and disorienting stuff that has happened in the world, we have become desensitized to the question, even if it is just as radical and important today. To be sure, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s August 5 ruling that an “inventor” must, under the Patent Act, always be a human being, would seem to definitively resolve the question. As a matter of existing and clearly settled law, Stephen Thaler’s AI machine, DABUS, cannot be a named inventor on his applications for a fractal-shaped beverage container and a neural flame, like we always thought in the Before Times. It’s time to relegate this parlor-game discussion to the same recycle bin as Beeple’s non-fungible token (NFT), The Tiger King, and so many other viral distractions. Or, perhaps, not so fast.

Dissent Today, Majority Tomorrow—A Federal Circuit Approach to Rehearing

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! That is precisely what the Federal Circuit did for HEC Pharm Co. recently in Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare Inc. et al (No. 2021-1070). In what can only be characterized as an astonishingly unprecedented procedural betrayal of justice, Novartis recently found itself on the losing side of a request for panel rehearing. Save for a moment just how extraordinarily uncommon it is for the Federal Circuit to grant panel rehearing, and likewise save for a moment how extremely uncommon it is for the Federal Circuit to overrule a prior panel decision even when a panel rehearing is granted. But in Novartis Pharmaceuticals v. Accord Healthcare, neither of the panel members in the majority of the original opinion even agreed to rehear the case, let alone agreed to reverse their prior ruling.

CAFC ‘Unambiguously’ Backs USPTO in AI as Inventor Fight

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled today in Thaler v. Vidal that an artificial intelligence (AI) machine does not qualify as an inventor under the Patent Act. The decision is the latest in a series of rulings around the world considering the topic, most of which have found similarly. Judge Stark authored the opinion.

Federal Circuit Affirms Water Heater Infringement Ruling Based on District Court Claim Construction

On August 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a decision in A. O. Smith Corp. v. Bradford White Corp. which affirmed rulings from the District of Delaware that A. O. Smith’s patent covering a hot-water heater system was both infringed by Bradford White and not invalid. The appellate court ruled that the district court’s construction of a contested limitation within claim 1 was supported by the patent’s specification. Judge Timothy Dyk concurred with the majority’s ruling but argued that the majority should have based its decision to affirm claim construction on evidentiary findings made by the district court.

The Federal Circuit’s ‘CAR T-Cell’ Decision: Courting a Disaster for American Innovation

The only president ever to obtain one, Abraham Lincoln knew the essential role patents have played in the scientific and technological innovations that have driven American growth and prosperity since the founding of the republic. Lincoln listed the development of patent laws—along with the invention of writing and the discovery of America—among the most important events in world history. Patents have “peculiar value…in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries,” he said in a speech in 1858. Giving inventors exclusive use of their inventions for a limited time, “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things.” What was true a century and a half ago remains true today. But a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is threatening to bank the fire and limit the inventions of the future. Last August, a three-judge Circuit Court panel invalidated Sloan Kettering’s patent for its CAR T-cell cancer immunotherapy and overturned the $1.2 billion awarded Sloan Kettering and its partner and exclusive licensee, Juno Therapeutics, after a jury trial found Kite Pharma had infringed upon the patent. The court, en banc, refused to reconsider the ruling.

CAFC Upholds PTAB’s Finding that Samsung Failed to Prove Magnetic Stripe Emulator Claims Obvious

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Tuesday affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that Samsung Electronics had failed to prove certain claims of Dynamics, Inc.’s patent for a magnetic stripe emulator that communicates with credit card readers unpatentable as obvious. Samsung petitioned the PTAB for inter partes review (IPR) of claims 1 and 5-8 of U.S. Patent No. 8,827,153. The patent is directed to “magnetic stripe emulators” for “generat[ing] electromagnetic fields that directly communicate data to a read-head of a magnetic stripe reader,” such as the magnetic stripes on credit cards. Samsung argued that the claims would have been obvious over U.S. Patent No. 4,868,376 (Lessin) and U.S. Patent No. 7,690,580 (Shoemaker), or alternatively, would have been obvious over U.S. Patent No. 6,206,293 (Gutman) in view of Shoemaker.

Tillis’ Promised Patent Eligibility Bill Would Overrule Myriad, Mayo

Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee, released the first draft of the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2022, which if enacted would, at a minimum, overrule the Supreme Court’s decisions in Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 2107 (2013) and Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 132 S.Ct. 1289 (2012)…. This legislation would absolutely be a solution to many of the patent eligibility problems that have plagued the industry for the last decade. Of course, if the tech giants in Silicon Valley think this will hurt them the bill will be killed, period.

A Cautious Welcome: Patent Community Chimes in on Tillis’ Eligibility Bill

This morning, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2022, S.4734, which would amend the U.S. Patent Act to clarify the application of 35 U.S.C. Section 101 to certain technologies. While the bill was welcomed by many in the intellectual property (IP) community, since it would abrogate or weaken many of the seminal decisions that have arguably caused confusion on eligibility over the last decade-plus, some have called the bill out as being far from perfect. Questions remain with respect to the text’s language regarding the definition of “technological” and what it means for software patents, for instance, as some commenters note below.

Tillis, Leahy Introduce Legislation Mandating Reports, USPTO Improvements on Patent Quality

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today announced the introduction of the Patent Examination and Quality Improvement Act of 2022, which is aimed at “evaluat[ing] and improv[ing] the patent examination process and the overall quality of patents issued by the USPTO,” according to a press release. Last week, Tillis told IAM that he would be introducing legislation to reform U.S. patent eligibility law, which is still to come. The bill announced today instead focuses on providing clarity around “what constitutes patent quality, the setting of patent quality metrics, and how the quality of work product performed by patent examiners is measured within the office.”

Induced Infringement: The Knowledge Requirement and When it is Established

To succeed on a claim of induced infringement, a patent owner must show that the accused infringer (1) actively encouraged infringement, (2) knew that the acts they induced constituted patent infringement, and (3) actuated direct patent infringement by those encouraging acts. In many courts, the knowledge requirement can be satisfied by service of a complaint for patent infringement itself. So, the accused infringer can start to incur liability at the onset of litigation. In the minority of courts, only pre-suit knowledge can satisfy the knowledge requirement. In those jurisdictions, the plaintiff must show the accused infringer knew about the alleged infringement before the onset of litigation. The amount of evidence required to show pre-suit knowledge at the pleading phase is an open question.

Vidal Takes Next Step on Senators’ Call to Curb Inconsistencies in USPTO/FDA Statements

Late last week, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal announced in a blog post that the agency had issued a notice in the Federal Register, which was published on Friday, to clarify the duties of disclosure and reasonable inquiry for pharmaceutical patent applicants, as well as parties to Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings. The notice was specifically targeted to parties proceeding before both the USPTO and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was issued in response to urging by Senators to establish interagency communications aimed in part at eliminating so-called drug patent thickets.

Three Letters Summarize the March-In/ Compulsory Licensing Debate

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra may consider himself a lucky man (which would probably sound ironic to him at the moment). He just received three letters which aptly summarize the fork in the road he faces in deciding which way to turn in a critical policy decision. On June 23, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), joined by 98 of their Democratic Congressional colleagues, sent him the latest in their series of letters urging him to use alleged existing authorities so that copycats can make expensive drugs to lower health care costs. That triggered an immediate rebuttal from six associations representing research universities and hospitals (including the Bayh-Dole Coalition, which I lead) and another from the Licensing Executives Society, USA & Canada, Inc. (LES), representing the licensing profession. It seems appropriate to let the letters speak for themselves, so let’s start with the Congressional letter, urging the Secretary to use tools they allege he already has to cut the Gordian Knot to lower drug costs.