Posts Tagged: "Patentability"

Federal Circuit Holds Google Forfeited Claim Construction Arguments Not Presented to PTAB

On November 13, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the Board in In re: Google Technology Holdings LLC. In particular, the CAFC upheld a decision of the Board affirming a patent examiner’s final rejection and holding that Google forfeited the arguments put forth on appeal. Google’s U.S. Patent Application No. 15/179,765 was directed to “distributed caching for video-on-demand systems, and in particular to a method and apparatus for transferring content within such video- on-demand systems.” During prosecution, the examiner finally rejected the claims of the ‘795 application as being obvious under Section 103.

Rently Makes Section 101 Bid to High Court

Consumer 2.0, Inc. d/b/a Rently has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision holding its patent claims ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The claims are directed to “the use of lockboxes able to recognize time-limited codes and coordination of those codes with software to facilitate secure automated entry.” Rently’s petition was filed just as the High Court kicked off its new term by denying certiorari yesterday in Chamberlain v. Techtronic, which also sought review of a Section 101 eligibility decision.

Federal Circuit Reinstates Jury Verdict Finding Claims of Biogen’s MS Drug Were Anticipated

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Biogen MA, Inc. v. EMD Serono, Inc., reversing the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey’s judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) for Biogen. The New Jersey court had found no anticipation of Biogen’s patent claims, overturning a jury’s finding that the claims were anticipated by the prior art. The Federal Circuit’s decision, which turned on the issue of applying a product-by-process novelty analysis to certain nested claim limitations, said that a reasonable jury could find the claims anticipated and remanded with instructions to reinstate the jury verdict.

‘IP Consciousness’ – It Starts with Leadership

Intellectual property rights continue to be the Rodney Dangerfield of assets – they “can’t get no respect.” The reasons are complex, but not terribly surprising, given the increased speed and importance of technology in recent years. Compounding the disconnect are many individuals and businesses who prefer to view IP rights as impediments, not assets that can be licensed or otherwise monetized. In their mind, pilfering content, using someone else’s invention or borrowing a name or image is akin to a “white” lie that does no real harm. This myth has been perpetuated over time in different ways by other IP holders and consumers who would prefer not to pay for what they need. The result is a strangely inhospitable environment for IP that dissuades innovation and depresses value.

New Enablement-Like Requirements for 101 Eligibility: AAM v. Neapco Takes the Case Law Out of Context, and Too Far – Part I

With its recent opinion in AAM, Inc. v. Neapco Holdings, LLC, No. 18-1763 (Fed. Cir. July 31, 2020), and a 6-6 stalemate by the court’s active judges on whether to take the case en banc, the Federal Circuit has now adopted—under the rubric of 35 U.S.C. §101—a formalized set of enablement-like requirements for patent claims. For a simple “threshold” eligibility test, section 101 has grown remarkably complex. Indeed, since the Supreme Court’s 2012 Mayo and 2014 Alice decisions re-cast patent eligibility into a “two-step framework,” the Section 101 test adjudges not just subject-matter eligibility and the three “limited” exceptions thereto, but also patentability or “inventive-concept” challenges predicated on comparisons to the prior art, see 35 U.S.C. §§ 102-103. And now the enablement-type requirements imposed by AAM v. Neapco.

Techtronic Dismisses Chamberlain Petition to SCOTUS as ‘Nothing Important’

On August 7, Techtronic Industries filed a brief in opposition to The Chamberlain Group’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for review of “whether the Federal Circuit improperly expanded § 101’s narrow implicit exceptions by failing to properly assess Chamberlain’s claims ‘as a whole.’” Techtronic’s brief asks the Court to deny the petition, and presents the following two questions in the case it is granted: “1) Whether the Federal Circuit, on the particular facts of this case, erred in analyzing the claims as a whole and 2) Whether Chamberlain forfeited and is estopped from making its current arguments about the scope and preemptive effect of its claims in view of its inconsistent arguments below.”

Strong Roots: Comparative Analysis of Patent Protection for Plants and Animals

Much has been written about the uncertainty in U.S. patent law concerning laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas following the Supreme Court’s decisions in Mayo v. Prometheus and Alice Corp Pty Ltd v. CLS Bank Int’l. A recent decision from the Enlarged Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (the Enlarged Board), however, demonstrates that the United States is not alone in grappling with issues surrounding patent eligibility. In the case of genetically modified plants and animals, questions arise on where to draw the line between human invention and biological processes. Earlier this year, the Enlarged Board reversed a 2015 decision that had held that product-by-process patents could be sought for genetically modified plants and animals despite a patent exclusion for “essentially biological processes.” 

Judge Dyk Departs from Majority’s Obviousness Analysis on Gaming Service Patent Claim

The Federal Circuit on Wednesday affirmed a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that found FanDuel had failed to prove that claim 6 of Interactive Games’ U.S. Patent No. 8,771,058, was obvious in view of the asserted prior art. FanDuel, Inc. v. Interactive Games, LLC (CAFC, July 29, 2020). FanDuel appealed to the Federal Circuit on the ground that the PTAB violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and also challenged its factual findings. Judge Dyk dissented in part, saying he would have found the claim obvious, and that the obviousness standard used by the PTAB was overly rigid and not in the spirit of KSR v. Teleflex.

Curtain Call For Computer Related Inventions in India: An Analysis of the Ferid Allani Case

The precedent with respect to the patentability of Computer Related Inventions in India ranges from little to non-existent; but not for lack of trying. In December 2019, the High Court of Delhi in Ferid Allani v. Union of India (2009 SCC Online Del 11867) examined the rejection of a patent by the Indian Patent and Appeal Board (IPAB) to a Computer Related Invention (CRI).

Over O’Malley’s Dissent, CAFC Affirms PTAB View that IPR Claim Amendments Are Subject to Eligibility Analysis

On July 22, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) in Uniloc 2017, LLC v. HULU, LLC. In particular, the CAFC found that the case was not moot despite a prior CAFC judgment of invalidity and that the Board did not err in rejecting Uniloc’s Request for Rehearing on the basis of Section 101 invalidity of the proposed substitute claims. Judge O’Malley issued a strong dissent, accusing the majority of “breath[ing] life into a dead patent and us[ing] the zombie it has created as a means to dramatically expand the scope of inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings.”

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court’s Eligibility Analysis, Reyna Dissents

On July 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with Judge Lourie writing for the majority, affirmed-in-part and vacated-in-part a decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Packet Intelligence, LLC v. NetScout Systems, Inc. The CAFC affirmed the district court’s judgments on the issues of infringement, invalidity, and willfulness, but reversed with respect to pre-suit damages. Judge Reyna wrote separately, dissenting on the issue of patent eligibility under Section 101.

CAFC Decision in CardioNet Should Make More Accurate Diagnostics Patentable

A strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic is testing for antibodies to determine possible immunity. Such diagnostic tests may suffer from a high false positive rate. Improving accuracy is therefore desirable. However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is generally not receptive to diagnostic claims that improve accuracy. The recent case of CardioNet v. Infobionic, makes patenting more accurate diagnostics easier. CardioNet considered whether a more accurate cardiac monitoring device was eligible. Claim 1 recites a device that detects abnormal heart rhythms (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter) in a patient. The district court held that the claims were directed to an abstract idea of identifying atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter “by looking at the variability in time between heartbeats and taking into account ventricular beats.” The Federal Circuit reversed and held an improved cardiac monitoring device was not an abstract idea.

Federal Circuit Vacates PTAB Holding for Failure to Consider Merits of Patentability

On July 8, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), in Fitbit, Inc. v. Valencell, Inc., vacated a Final Written Decision of the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in an appeal from an inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 8,923,941 (the ’941 patent). In particular, the CAFC held that the PTAB erred in failing to consider the patentability of claims 3-5 of the ‘941 patent when determining that the claims were not unpatentable. Thus, the CAFC vacated the PTAB’s decision and remanded for consideration on the merits of patentability.

Amici Implore Supreme Court to Take Up Chamberlain Petition

Two amicus briefs have now been filed in The Chamberlain Group’s bid to the Supreme Court for review of “whether the Federal Circuit improperly expanded § 101’s narrow implicit exceptions by failing to properly assess Chamberlain’s claims ‘as a whole.’” Former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader has submitted a joint brief with Chargepoint, Inc.—which recently lost its own plea to the High Court to fix Section 101 law—and High 5 Games submitted a separate brief. Both are backing the petition and urging the Court to resolve the uncertainty around U.S. patent eligibility law once and for all, and sooner rather than later.

Disclosure-Dedication Rule: An Effective Tool Against Infringement Claims Under the Doctrine of Equivalents

The doctrine of equivalents allows a patentee to raise a claim of infringement even when each and every element of the patented invention is not identically present in the allegedly infringing product/process. The doctrine is aimed at preventing an infringer from gaining the benefit of a patented invention by making insubstantial changes. Disclosure-dedication doctrine is a bar to the doctrine of equivalents. Under the disclosure-dedication doctrine, when a patentee discloses subject matter but does not claim it, the patentee dedicates the unclaimed subject matter to the public and cannot recapture it through the doctrine of equivalents. The public can then practice the unclaimed subject matter without fear of infringement.Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Slayback Pharma LLC, No. 2019-1924 (Fed. Cir. May 8, 2020) (“Eagle Pharm”) is the most recent Federal Circuit case involving this doctrine. In Eagle Pharm, the Federal Circuit considered whether a patentee can avoid dedication on the ground that the disclosure occurred in an embodiment distinct from the claimed invention. The court answered the question in the negative.