Posts Tagged: "Patentability"

Professors Tell SCOTUS to Correct the CAFC’s ‘Profound Misunderstanding’ in American Axle Case

In one of six amicus briefs filed this week in American Axle & Manufacturing v. Neapco Holdings, LLC—the closely-watched Section 101 patent eligibility case involving driveshaft automotive technology—Professors Jeffrey Lefstin and Peter Menell told the U.S. Supreme Court that the Federal Circuit’s 6-6 split decision to deny en banc rehearing in the case “mischaracterized fundamental patent principles and case law on which the modern patent system is built.” The professors added that “current § 101 jurisprudence conflates patent eligibility with the substantive requirements set forth in § 103 and § 112 and is getting more confusing by the day” and that “there is no patent law doctrine more in need of clarification.”

How to Safeguard AI Technology: Patents versus Trade Secrets

A common refrain is that an invention is only as valuable as the patent that protects it. But what happens when you cannot secure the patent? This is a frequent hurdle for inventors seeking to patent products utilizing artificial intelligence (AI). While still in its infancy, at least compared to the lofty expectations of technology enthusiasts, AI has proven integral to driving innovation, but it has also proven equally vexing to fit into the intellectual property legal regime.

Dyk Splits from CAFC Panel on Application of Collateral Estoppel to Inter Partes Reexaminations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Monday held that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) incorrectly found certain claims of SynQor, Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 7,072,190 unpatentable as obvious in an inter partes reexamination proceeding. The CAFC said that the PTAB’s previous reexamination decisions on related patents gave rise to common law issue preclusion that collaterally estopped the Board from such a finding. Judge Hughes authored the majority opinion and Judge Dyk dissented, calling the ruling “without support and contrary to governing Supreme Court authority.”

CAFC Reverses In-Part, Vacates In-Part PTAB Patentability Finding for Skin Cancer Detection Device

On February 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a precedential opinion in an appeal by Canfield Scientific, Inc. (Canfield) from the decision of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) on inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 7,359,748 (the ‘748 patent) owned by Melanoscan, LLC. The court held that the Board erred in ruling that all the claims of the ‘748 patent were patentable. The decision was reversed with respect to the independent claims and vacated and remanded as to the dependent claims.

CAFC Affirms Section 112 Invalidation/ Non-Infringement in Synchronoss v. Dropbox Dispute

On February 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a district court’s conclusion of invalidity under Section 112 and/or non-infringement in Synchronoss v. Dropbox. Synchronoss had appealed the district court’s decision that the asserted claims, which were “drawn to technology for synchronizing data across multiple devices” are either invalid under 35 U.S.C. Section 112 for indefiniteness, or not infringed.” Meanwhile, Dropbox cross-appealed, arguing that the claims are patent ineligible subject matter under Section 101. The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 6,671,757; 6,757,696; and 7,587,446.

Pardon Me, But What Is the Point of Deciding Whether or Not a Reference ‘Teaches Away’?

“Teaching away” is a concept important to obviousness analysis under U.S. patent law. “Teaching away” basically bears upon the issue of motivation to combine elements in a manner set out by a patent claim, and such motivation is relevant to obviousness analysis but not to anticipation analysis: would one skilled in the art have had reason (or motivation) to put the known elements in the arrangement that the inventor has claimed? In a sense, “teaching away” is an anti-motivation, as it weighs against such an arrangement…. The question I propose to address is: Does the jurisprudence concerning “teaching away”—particularly the jurisprudence pertaining to whether a reference does or does not “teach away”—make any sense? And if not, what ought to replace it?

Federal Circuit Says Amgen’s Repatha® Patent Claims Require ‘Undue Experimentation’ to Practice

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Thursday upheld the District of Delaware’s grant of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that Amgen’s patent claims covering its Repatha cholesterol treatment were invalid for lack of enablement. The court found that Amgen’s composition claims were defined by meeting functional limitations, rather than by structure, and that the patent specifications didn’t enable the preparation of the full scope of the claims without undue experimentation. Judge Lourie authored the opinion.  Amgen v. Sanofi (CAFC, Feb. 11, 2020)

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Finding that Fax/Scanner Patent Claims Are Indefinite

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) yesterday issued a precedential opinion affirming a Delaware district court finding that Infinity Computer Products, Inc.’s patent claims relating to using a fax machine as a printer or scanner for a personal computer were invalid for indefiniteness. Infinity Computer Products, Inc. v. Oki Data Americas, Inc. (Feb. 10, 2020). Chief Judge Prost authored the opinion. The patents at issue were U.S. Patent Nos. 6,894,811; 7,489,423; 8,040,574; and 8,294,915, which share a specification. The term at issue was “passive link,” which refers to the link between the fax machine and the computer.

Federal Circuit Reiterates It Will Not Be Bound by USPTO Eligibility Guidance

Earlier today, in cxLoyalty, Inc. v. Maritz Holdings, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part and dismissed-in-part a decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in which the CAFC doubled down on its past contention that the USPTO’s Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance is not binding on the court’s analysis. The panel included Chief Judge Prost and Judges Lourie and Hughes. The opinion was authored by Prost.  

Federal Circuit Says PTAB Failed to Provide Proper Notice to IPR Respondent of Anticipation Theory

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on February 1 held in part that the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (UPSTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) erred in finding a claim anticipated when the petition for inter partes review had only asserted obviousness as to the claim. M&K Holdings, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (CAFC, Feb 1, 2020). The CAFC vacated the PTAB’s decision on that claim but affirmed the holding of unpatentability as to the rest of the asserted claims.

Alice in 2020: Slashing Software Patents and Searching for Functional Language at the Federal Circuit (Part II)

In Part I of this article, I explained that the CAFC invalidated almost every software patent on appeal for eligibility in 2020 and recapped the first 13 such cases of the year. Despite the many software eligibility cases decided last year, there is still some uncertainty about what passes muster under the Alice two-step framework. Below is a recap of the remaining 14 cases considered by the CAFC in 2020 with respect to software patent eligibility.

Alice in 2020: Slashing Software Patents and Searching for Functional Language at the Federal Circuit (Part I)

Last year was an active one at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) for software eligibility. It also was a brutal year for patent owners, as the CAFC invalidated almost every software patent on appeal for eligibility. Despite the many cases decided last year, there is still some uncertainty about what passes muster under the Alice two-step framework promulgated by the Supreme Court in 2014. But one thing that has become increasingly clear is that the CAFC wants to see how a particular result is achieved or how a problem is solved. This desire for a “how” or rule set from the claims creates an evident tension with the traditional notion that patent claims should recite structure, not functional language. These recent CAFC cases have also made it clear that courts will look to the specification for implementation details, even if these details do not emerge in the claims. This analysis has previously been reserved for the written description requirement under Section 112 but found its way into the Alice two-step.

The Patent System is ‘Desperate’: American Axle Implores High Court to Take Up Eligibility Fight

American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on December 28, 2020, asking it to review the Federal Circuit’s July 31, 2020 modified judgment and October 2019 panel opinion in a closely-watched Section 101 patent eligibility case involving driveshaft automotive technology. The Federal Circuit has been sharply divided by the issues presented, leading Judge Moore to refer to the original panel’s analysis as “validity goulash” and to state that the “majority’s Nothing More test, like the great American work The Raven from which it is surely borrowing, will, as in the poem, lead to insanity.”

One Entrepreneur’s Story: Snapizzi Gets Caught in the Section 101 Snare

In 2015, Randy dela Fuente launched Snapizzi. Randy had bet big, putting his career, savings, and company at risk. Later, Randy brought in a business partner, Chris Scoones, who cleaned out his savings and mortgaged his house. But they believed in the patent. On the patent’s government-issued cover, it stated that Snapizzi would have the “right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention. This meant that U.S. Patent No. 8,794,506 would protect their company from infringers and give them enough time to carve a toehold in the market. That patent cover also said that the patent was “granted under law”, which meant that it was a legally granted and presumed valid property right. In America, we are a nation of laws. Randy trusted the U.S. government, and this made the burden of huge risk much more tolerable. But in December 2019, a court held that the claims are all ineligible for patenting because they are “abstract ideas”.

The Inventive Step in Chinese Patent Law Compared With the U.S. Non-Obviousness Standard

While China is becoming an increasingly attractive patent filing destination for foreign companies, foreign counsels are often confused by the country’s inventive step requirement. Indeed, Chinese patent examiners often use abstract legal terms, such as “prominent substantive features” and “notable progress,” in their inventive step analysis. This article provides an overview of the inventive step requirement in China, in comparison with the non-obviousness standard in the United States.