Posts Tagged: "patentability requirements"

CAFC Reverses PTAB Win for St. Jude, Finding Snyders’ Heart Valve Claims Not Unpatentable

On October 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that Snyders Heart Valve LLC’s (Snyders) patent claims for an artificial heart valve were unpatentable. The court said the PTAB relied on an erroneous claim construction. The CAFC previously vacated and remanded the appeal after only reaching Snyders’ argument under the Appointments Clause following its decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. The U.S. government sought certiorari to challenge the remand, and after its decision in United States v. Arthrex Inc. (U.S. Supreme Court, 2021), the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the CAFC and remanded the matter back. Snyders waived the Appointments Clause challenge and asked the CAFC to consider the merits of the case on remand.

Reyna Concurs in CAFC Reversal of Ineligibility Holding, But Blasts Majority’s Approach to Alice

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today reversed a district court decision that patent claims directed to an “authentication method” were ineligible as abstract under Section 101. The CAFC said that the claims at issue satisfied Alice step two because they “recite a specific improvement to a particular computer-implemented authentication technique” and were thus eligible for patenting. The opinion was authored by Judge Stoll and a concurring opinion was filed by Judge Reyna.

A Kinder, Gentler ‘Death Squad’: Ten Years in, Despite Some Reforms, the USPTO is Still Killing U.S. Patents

Now that the 10th anniversary of the America Invents Act (AIA) has passed, we can look back not only at the past decade, but also the reactions of various interested parties and how they responded to that anniversary. There were two revolutionary amendments to U.S. patent laws enacted on September 16, 2011; one relating to the U.S. changing from first-to-invent to first-to-file, the other relating to the creation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and three new procedural mechanisms to invalidate issued patents. While from a philosophical and practical point of view, the change from first-to-invent to first-to-file had the largest impact on patent practice, it has essentially become a footnote in patent history. Yes, the United States had a bizarre system that allowed the second filer in some instances (i.e., the first to invent) to obtain a patent over the first-to-file, but that almost never happened. And now, the United States has a strange, hybrid first-to-file system that still theoretically allows the first-to-invent to prevail in even rarer circumstances, but that change became easily baked into the system, because overwhelmingly, the first-to-invent did file first. The real story of the change to first-to-file is that much more is now prior art, including foreign filed applications as of their foreign filing date, typically, which continues the theme of the last 15+ years of making it harder to obtain and keep patent rights in the United States.

Tillis and Leahy Urge USPTO to Address Inconsistent Prior Art Statements by Patent Applicants at the FDA

On Thursday, September 9, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter addressed to Drew Hirshfeld, performing the functions and duties of the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), discussing the issue of inconsistent statements made by patent applicants pursuant to their disclosure requirements at the USPTO and other federal agencies, especially the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senators are asking the USPTO to take swift action to ensure that applicants are disclosing all known prior art at both the USPTO and the FDA.

It’s All in the Hardware: Overcoming 101 Rejections in Computer Networking Technology Classes

Technologies such as computer networking, which, unlike software inventions, typically incorporate at least some hardware elements, may be less vulnerable to rejection under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. However, responding to these rejections when they are issued still requires some finesse. In these cases, rejections usually revolve around whether the hardware included in the claims serves as an improvement over existing hardware or is merely used as a tool for a mental process or other abstract idea. If the examiner concludes that the networking hardware merely serves as a tool, the claims usually fail the Alice/Mayo test. However, if you can show that the networking hardware either presents novel features or is improved by the invention to become a more effective tool, you may overcome the rejection.

Building High-Quality Patent Portfolios in the United States and Europe: Part I – Intervening Prior Art

One ingredient that distinguishes a good patent portfolio from a great patent portfolio can be the synergistic strength of its U.S. and European patent family members. To develop this strength, it is not enough to have a U.S. attorney and a European attorney simply coordinate the procedural strategy for filing an application; rather, the drafter and manager of the application should analyze important issues upfront and prepare a patent application that accounts for the substantive differences between U.S. examination, U.S. courts, European examination, and national courts in Europe.

The U.S. Patent System and Quantum Cryptography: An Awkward Relationship

Quantum computing continues to gain traction as an emerging technology, with potentially far-reaching and dangerous applications in the United States and worldwide. However, there are some applications for the technology which have not yet passed theoretical muster. In other words, the case for quantum advantage cannot be made by reference to known mathematical algorithms. But many applications, including quantum decryption (discussed below), have been concretely mapped out on a theoretical level and are now subject to only “engineering limitations” (i.e., implementation details).

In Win For Google, CAFC Holds Patentees May Not Bend Claim Terms to Fit Their Needs

On August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, holding Google LLC did not infringe patents held by Data Engine Technologies LLC (DET). DET sued Google for infringing certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,590,259; 5,784,545; and 6,282,551 (the Tab Patents). The Tab Patents are directed to systems and methods for displaying and navigating three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets by use of user customizable “notebook tabs” on a spreadsheet interface. The prior art discussed in this trio of patents explained that “three-dimensionality, as presently implemented, is an advanced feature beyond the grasp of many spreadsheet users.” ‘259 patent col. 3 ll. 9-11. Accordingly, the Tab Patents explain, prior art spreadsheets require the user to manipulate each individual spreadsheet within a three-dimensional spreadsheet as an individual window in a graphical window environment. By contrast, the Tab Patents recite notebook tabs that allow the user to simply “flip through” several pages of the notebook to rapidly locate information.

Federal Circuit Affirms 101 Invalidation of Secure Transaction System Patents in Victory for Apple and Visa

On Thursday, August 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc. in which the appellate court affirmed the District of Delaware’s grant of a motion to dismiss Universal Secure Registry’s (USR) patent infringement allegations. In a decision that will be discouraging to some, though unsurprising, the Federal Circuit okayed the district court’s invalidation of all asserted claims from USR’s four patents-in-suit, finding that each patent was properly gunned down after being placed on the firing line of Section 101 subject matter ineligibility. The opinion was authored by Judge Stoll.

CAFC Reverses Massive Jury Verdict for Juno and Sloan Kettering

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today reversed a jury verdict for Juno Therapeutics and Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (Juno), wiping out a $1.2 billion judgment for the entities. The CAFC found that the jury’s verdict with respect to written description was not supported by substantial evidence. The case relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,446,190, owned by Sloan Kettering, which is titled “Nucleic Acids Encoding Chimeric T Cell Receptors.” The patent generally covers cancer immunotherapy technology. Juno sued Kite Pharma, Inc. for infringement of the ‘190 patent through the sale of its YESCARTA product. Kite countersued, seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement and invalidity. The jury ultimately found in Juno’s favor and, in post-trial briefs, Kite moved for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on several grounds, including that the claims were not supported by sufficient written description. The district court denied JMOL and Kite appealed.

In First Half of 2021, 63% of U.S. Patents, 48.9% at EPO and 40.1% in China Were Software-Related

As an update to my posts from 2017, 2019, 2020, and March 2021, it has now been 86 months since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision. Yet the debate still rages over when a software (or computer-implemented) claim is patentable versus being simply an abstract idea “free to all men and reserved exclusively to none” (as eloquently phrased over 73 years ago by then-Supreme Court Justice Douglas in Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co.). Further, it has been 10 years since famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote the influential and often-quoted op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why Software Is Eating the World.” Today, the digital transformation where software is “eating the world” is undeniable. Let’s look at some facts and figures from the USA, Europe and China.

CAFC Reverses PTAB Patentability Finding in Campbell Soup Dispenser Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) finding that Campbell Soup Company, Campbell Sales Company, and Trinity Manufacturing, LLC did not demonstrate the claimed designs of Gamon, Inc.’s design patents would have been obvious over the prior art. The CAFC held that the designs were obvious because Gamon did not prove a nexus between commercial success and the claims, and because the evidence of Trinity’s copying did not overcome the strong evidence of obviousness provided by the prior art.

Teva Wins One, Loses Two at CAFC in Migraine Treatment Patent Cases

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today issued two precedential decisions and one nonprecedential decision in cases involving Teva Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, delivering wins and losses for each company. The cases relate to “humanized antagonist antibodies that target calcitonin gene-related peptide (‘CGRP’)” and methods of using such antibodies. All three cases were heard by Judges Lourie, Bryson and O’Malley, with Judge Lourie authoring the decisions.

We Have to Believe: Keeping an Open Mind on AI is Vital to the Future of Our Patent System

In response to articles on implementing AI into our patent system, and specifically to the suggestion that we should consider developing AI to replace some aspects of human decision making in the patent space, we have received a number of comments and even objections to the idea. A common objection: it is likely impossible and impractical for us to advance AI to the point where it can make reliable subjective decisions (e.g., infringement and obviousness), let alone reliably replace human decision making. At the outset, we challenge the presumption of this argument.  

DABUS Scores Again with Win on AI Inventorship Question in Australia Court

The Federal Court of Australia on Friday ruled in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879 that an artificial intelligence (AI) system can be an inventor under the Australian Patents Act. The Honorable Justice Beach, in a very thorough judgment, set aside the decision of the Deputy Commissioner of Patents that patent application no. 2019363177 did not comply with reg 3.2C(2)(aa) of the Patents Regulations 1991 (Cth), which “requires that the applicant, who in this case is Dr Stephen Thaler, must provide the name of the inventor of the invention to which the application relates.” The Deputy Commissioner of Patents said that Thaler could not name an inventor because an AI simply cannot be an inventor under the Act. But Justice Beach said “that position confuses the question of ownership and control of a patentable invention including who can be a patentee, on the one hand, with the question of who can be an inventor, on the other hand.”