Posts Tagged: "patent"

Federal Circuit Delivers Amazon a Win, Vacating Jury Verdict that Echo Induced Infringement

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday reversed a district court’s denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) to Amazon of no induced infringement and vacated a jury verdict finding that it had induced infringement of Vocalife LLC’s patent for a method of enhancing acoustics. Judge Hughes authored the opinion. The asserted patent was U.S. Patent No. RE 47,049, which covers “methods and systems for ‘enhancing acoustics of a target sound signal received from a target sound source, while suppressing ambient noise signals.’” Vocalife filed suit against Amazon, claiming certain Amazon Echo products infringed the ’049 patent–specifically, Claim 1’s reference to “providing a microphone array system comprising an array of sound sensors positioned in a linear, circular, or other configuration” and “determining a delay . . . wherein said determination of said delay enables beamforming for said array of sound sensors in a plurality of configurations.”

Patent Filings Roundup: Future Waco Patent Cases Headed to Wheel; Ax Wireless Launches WiFi 6 Campaign; Helsinn Paragraph IV Litigation

This week saw 63 new patent filings in district court, and the typical (these days) 71 terminations, with 34 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (one post grant review and 33 inter partes reviews). I expect terminations will drop for a bit, as parties do what they can to hold on to venue before Judge Alan Albright in the wake of the Western District’s recent reassignment memorandum directing new filings to be randomly distributed (i.e., be put “on the wheel”) throughout the Western District. In major dismissals, WSOU either settled with or was scared off by always-tough Microsoft in that long-running campaign; the dozen or so dismissals of WSOU’s typical 13 parallel filings make up a chunk of the terminations. The Board filings were dominated by tech-versus-long-running-NPE suits, with a few competitor-competitor challenges (e.g., Vivint v. ADT).

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances USPTO-FDA Collaboration Bill Toward Floor Vote

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary convened a brief executive business meeting to discuss a series of judicial nominees selected by the Biden Administration, as well as a pair of proposed bills. One of those bills, the Interagency Patent Coordination and Improvement Act of 2022, follows various efforts to limit certain patent rights in the pharmaceutical industry and was passed favorably out of the Committee via voice vote toward a full vote on the Senate floor.

CAFC Says Improper Litigation Conduct Warrants Attorneys’ Fees Award for Netflix

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today issued a precedential decision affirming a California district court’s award of attorneys’ fees in part to Netflix, Inc. for Realtime Adaptive Streaming LLC’s “improper” litigation conduct. The CAFC said that Realtime’s use of forum-shopping to blatantly avoid an adverse ruling amounted to “gamesmanship” that “constitutes a willful action for an improper purpose, tantamount to bad faith, and therefore [is] within the bounds of activities sanctionable under a court’s inherent power in view of the Ninth Circuit’s standard.” The opinion was authored by Judge Chen and Judge Reyna concurred-in-part and dissented-in-part.

USPTO to Expand Initiatives for Under-Resourced Inventors and First-Time Filers

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal penned a blog post today announcing several new programs aimed at expanding the U.S. innovation ecosystem, which she said “could quadruple the number of American inventors, and increase the GDP per capita by as much as 4%, or by about $1 trillion.” The initiatives are being spearheaded by the USPTO’s Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), for which Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo serves as Chair and Vidal as Co-Chair.

Faux Outrage Over Patent Friendly Court Leads to WDTX Order Curbing Albright Caseload

Yesterday, Chief Judge Orlando Garcia of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas issued an order that, in Garcia’s words, will “equitably distribute” new patent cases among 12 district judges. This order is an effort to address “the volume” of new cases assigned to the Waco Division’s Judge Alan Albright. Albright’s court is viewed as patent owner friendly and he has been under fire recently from both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Congress on different fronts for his policies and procedures, which do tend more often than not to give patent owners their day in court.

IP Issues for Retail Businesses Advertising in Augmented Reality

With the advent of augmented reality systems, unique opportunities exist for retail businesses. The ability to provide dynamic and layered advertisements can add a new dimension and effectiveness to attracting consumers to a brick-and-mortar retail location. However, a number of intellectual property pitfalls appear to be awaiting those retailers that utilize the emerging augmented reality platform to reach and attract customers. For instance, a retailer may find that they do not own the exclusive rights to display augmented reality content to customers despite the customers being physically present in their own store.

Protecting AI-Generated Inventions as Trade Secrets Requires Protecting the Generative AI as Well

Editor’s Note: Dean A. Pelletier of Pelletier Law, LLC co-authored this article with Erik Weibust.

Legal, technology, business, and academic professionals currently are debating whether an invention autonomously generated by artificial intelligence (AI) should be patentable in the United States and elsewhere. Some proponents of patentability argue that if AI, by itself, is not recognized as an inventor, then AI owners will lack protection for AI-generated inventions and AI innovation, commercialization, and investment (collectively, AI innovation) will be inhibited as a result. Some of those proponents further argue that, without patent protection as an option, AI owners increasingly will opt for trade secret protection, which by design reduces public disclosure of corresponding inventions and, as such, still will inhibit AI innovation. Some opponents of patentability, on the other hand, argue that patenting AI-generated inventions will promote those inventions and discourage human-generated inventions, thereby reducing human innovation and ultimately competition, because patent ownership will become concentrated, or more concentrated, in fewer entities—in particular, large, well-funded entities.

Patent Filings Roundup: Board Denies Petition for Claims Not in Litigation; SK Hynix Hits Longhorn with Declaratory Judgment on Semi Campaigns

It was a slow summer week at the Board with just 23 new petitions—one post grant review and 22 inter partes reviews; in district court, a relatively average 63 new filings and 53 terminations rounded out the count. The major streaming companies, including Disney, challenged WAG Acquisitions [of Woodsford Litigation Funding] patents before the Board; SharkNinja challenges Bissel patents on vacuum cleaners; and FedEx challenged patents owned by Raymond Anthony Joao’s ultra-litigious Transcend Shipping. Apple lost three challenges at institution against an Identity Security LLC (f/k/a Integrated Information Solutions Corporation]. In the district court high-volume litigant M4Siz roped in more retailers, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Under Armor, Victoria’s Secret, and J Crew, bringing the total defendant count to 31; and more semiconductor litigation bloomed, with multiple campaigns filing against Micron and TI this week alone.

House IP Subcommittee Drills Down on GAO’s Preliminary Findings that PTAB Judges are Being Influenced by USPTO Leadership

The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet today held Part II in a series of hearings to consider reforms to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) 10 years after it was created by the America Invents Act (AIA). The hearing, titled “The Patent Trial and Appeal Board After 10 Years, Part II: Implications of Adjudicating in an Agency Setting,” coincided with the release of a preliminary report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that was commissioned in June of last year by IP Subcommittee Chair Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) to investigate PTAB decision-making practices. The GAO’s preliminary findings revealed that “the majority of [administrative patent] judges (75 percent) surveyed by GAO responded that the oversight practiced by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) directors and PTAB management has affected their independence, with nearly a quarter citing a large effect on independence.”

Amicus Filings in Biogen v. Mylan Urge SCOTUS to Eliminate Uncertainty in Drafting Patents to Satisfy Written Description Requirement

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court received several amicus briefs filed in support of the petition for writ of certiorari filed in Biogen International GmbH v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. If cert is granted, this case will ask the nation’s highest court to clarify the written description requirement under 35 U.S.C. § 112. The appeal follows a contentious decision this March from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to deny panel rehearing and rehearing en banc of an earlier ruling affirming the Northern District of West Virginia’s invalidation of Biogen’s patent claims covering a method of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) under Section 112.

Send the USPTO Your Comments on Director Review, POP and PTAB Internal Review Processes

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday announced and today published an official Request for Comments on the interim process for Director Review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions, the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) process and the interim process for PTAB decision circulation and internal PTAB review. USPTO Director Kathi Vidal released updated interim guidance on Director Review and PTAB decision circulation/internal review soon after taking office in April and has been accepting preliminary feedback via a dedicated email address, but the comments received in response to this request will officially  inform upcoming notice-and-comment rulemaking to formalize these processes, as well as any modifications to the interim processes prior to formalization. Comments are due by September 19, 2022.

Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of JMOL, Partial Costs in Favor of Amazon

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today affirmed a district court’s ruling denying Innovation Sciences’ post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that claims of three of its patents are not invalid and that Amazon.com, Inc. infringed them, or, alternatively, a new trial. The CAFC said that substantial evidence supported the district court’s finding of anticipation, which Amazon proved via expert testimony relating to a prior art home automation software called HAL.

A Tale of Two Motions: A Closer Look at Motions to Dismiss in Design Patent Cases

For most people, what comes to mind when they hear the word “patent” might be an invention like the lightbulb—Thomas Edison’s version rather than Sawyer and Man’s, probably—or the telephone—another hotly-contested invention between Alexander Graham Bell and the lesser-known Elisha Gray….What the average person might not be aware of is the type of patent intended to protect “any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.” This is the domain of the design patent…. Traditionally, design patents covered physical designs that had some tangible effect on the shape, or texture of the “article of manufacture.” Over time, design patent protection extended to cover screen layouts and graphical user interfaces (“GUIs”)…. Two recent cases are some of the rare examples of a company arguing infringement solely based on GUI design patents.

CAFC Affirms Invalidation of Stanford Organ Transplant Rejection Test in Latest Patent-Eligibility Blow to Medical Diagnostics

On July 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in CareDx, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. affirming a summary judgment ruling of the District of Delaware, which invalidated claims from three Stanford University patents licensed by CareDx as patent  ineligible. The decision marks yet another blow to medical diagnostic testing, this time in the context of organ transplants, and the prospects of their developers for obtaining enforceable patent rights.