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The Federal Circuit Provides New Guidance for Patent Licensees Wishing to Challenge the Licensed Patent’s Validity

April 21, 2021 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Peter Cuomo, Monique Winters Macek, Mark Hammond

The Federal Circuit in Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Incorporated handed down a decision on April 7, 2021 that provides guidance on the determination of standing for patent licensees who wish to contest the validity of a patent or patents in a licensed portfolio.
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The Federal Circuit’s recent Uniloc 2017 v. Facebook Inc. decision is a mixed bag of good and bad news for both patent owners and inter partes review petitioners.  On the plus side for patent owners (but not for petitioners), the Federal Circuit determined that the so-called “No Appeal” provision does not necessarily apply to 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(1), and, therefore, a patent owner may still appeal a Patent Trial and Appeal Board determination that a petitioner is not estopped from maintaining an IPR under § 315(e)(1). 
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Copy Cats II: Nexus of Copying Required to Substantiate Non-Obviousness

February 17, 2021 | Blog | By Ken Jenkins, Jeff Giering

On January 28, 2021, the Federal Circuit affirmed the general principle that the mere fact of copying by an accused infringer is insufficient to rebut a charge of obviousness (L’Oreal USA, Inc. v. Olaplex, Inc.; appeal from PGR2018-00025; non-precedential). 
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Federal Circuit Says Automated Systems Are Not Abstract when Tied to Improvements

February 9, 2021 | Blog | By Michael Van Loy, F. Jason Far-hadian, Mark Hammond

It is now over 10 years since the Bilski decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court.  In that decision and several other decisions that followed (i.e., Mayo, Myriad, and Alice), the Supreme Court pronounced patent claims directed to abstract ideas not eligible for patent protection.
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In Network-1 Techs., Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard, No. 18-2338, the Federal Circuit reversed and vacated multiple aspects of the district court’s final judgment holding that Hewlett-Packard (HP) did not infringe U.S. Patent No. 6,218,930 (“the ’930 patent”) disclosing an apparatus and method for remotely powering Ethernet compatible equipment.
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Sort It Out: Cell Sorting Method with Data Processing Steps Patent Eligible

August 11, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Jeff Giering

In XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC (Case 2019-1789, issued July 31, 2020), the Federal Circuit provided another example of a life sciences method claim avoiding patent ineligibility under the Alice framework at step one, altogether avoiding the “inventive concept” analysis under step two. 
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Federal Circuit Reminds PTAB That Short Cuts Are Not Allowed

August 11, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller

Last month, in a precedential decision, the Federal Circuit vacated-in-part and remanded the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) obviousness determination regarding Alacritech’s computer networking patent because the Board failed to adequately explain its findings for three of the challenged claims.
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The Standard Does Rule Them All: Federal Circuit Panel Finds Standard Sufficient to Prove Infringement for SEP Compliant Products

August 5, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Daniel Weinger, Kara E. Grogan

The Federal Circuit yesterday, in a decision likely to be celebrated by holders of standard essential patents (“SEPs”), found that it is appropriate for the jury to decide essentiality of a patent, rather than the judge during claim construction.  This decision in Godo Kaisha IP Bridge I v. TCL Commc’n Tech. Holdings Ltd. also approved of the use of the standard as evidence of infringement where it was established that the accused products are standard compliant. 
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Yesterday we discussed the Federal Circuit’s decision in Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Hulu, LLC  confirming the Board’s authority to review contingent substitute claims after the original claims have been held invalid by a federal court.  Today we cover the panel’s ruling that the Board can use any patentability requirement to evaluate and reject proposed substitute claims in an IPR, notwithstanding that originally-petitioned claims in such proceedings can only be challenged under §§ 102 and 103 based on prior patents and printed publications.
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Entities with patent-related relationships with state universities scored a victory under the rarely implicated (at least for patent practitioners) doctrine of sovereign immunity.  For patent holders, sovereign immunity comes into play when a state actor, for example a state university, enters contracts related to patents, such as in Gensetix v. Baylor College of Medicine. 
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Last week a Federal Circuit panel in Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Hulu, LLC issued an important decision regarding inter partes review (IPR) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on two questions concerning contingent motions to amend—(i) whether the Office has statutory authority to review the patentability of substitute claims after a final federal-court judgement of invalidity of those claims and, if yes, (ii) whether that review of patentability may include analyzing the substitute claims for patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. 
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Federal Circuit: Licensees’ Failure to Mark Eliminates Entitlement to Pre-Suit Damages

July 27, 2020 | Blog | By Adam Samansky, Peter Cuomo, Matthew Karambelas, Courtney Herndon

Recently, in Packet Intelligence LLC v. NetScout Sys., Inc., No 19-2041 (July 14, 2020), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a jury verdict of $3.5 million in pre-suit damages and vacated the trial court’s enhancement of that award because licensees of the asserted patents failed to properly mark allegedly patent practicing products.
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Intellectual Property Viewpoints Thumbnail
Recent oral arguments at the Fed Circuit suggest that the U.S. may be taking steps which would enhance its attractiveness for SEP patent holders looking to resolve licensing disputes.  The Federal Circuit heard oral argument on Monday, July 6th, in Godo Kaisha IP Bridge I v. TCL Commc’n Tech. Holdings Ltd., No. 19-2215, that may pave an easier path for owners of standard essential patents (“SEPs”) to prove literal infringement of products that comply with that standard. 
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Federal Circuit Upholds Application of Dedication-Disclosure Doctrine at the Pleading Stage

May 15, 2020 | Blog | By Thomas Wintner, Adam Samansky, Nana Liu

On May 8, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s application of the disclosure-dedication doctrine in granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings in Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Slayback Pharma LLC, No. 19-1924. 
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Last week, the Federal Circuit, in a precedential decision, reinforced that an accused infringer can be a “prevailing party” for the purposes of seeking attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 when it successfully invalidates the asserted patent at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). 
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Federal Circuit Finds IPRs Can Circumvent Assignor Estoppel

April 27, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Kara E. Grogan

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit held that while assignor estoppel is applicable in district court proceedings, petitions for inter partes review continue to not be subject to the equitable remedy.  Assignor estoppel is an equitable doctrine based on the principle of fair dealing that prevents a party who divests a patent from later challenging the validity of that patent.
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Intellectual Property Viewpoints Thumbnail
On Thursday, the Federal Circuit ruled that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) must give the parties proper notice if considering a sua sponte theory of unpatentability in relation to a motion to amend.
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Patent Litigation Viewpoint Thumbnail
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in February that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) cannot cancel claims for indefiniteness in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. The case is Samsung Electronics America, Inc., v. Prisua Engineering Corp., case number 19-1169, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
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Understanding Antedating of a Prior Art Reference for a Patent

April 17, 2019 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

The Federal Circuit’s decision in ATI Technologies ULC v. Iancu (April 11, 2019) highlights the proper standard to use in evaluating whether a claimed invention was reduced to practice before the effective date of a prior art reference.
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In the continuing Amgen v. Sanofi saga, Amgen has asked SCOTUS to take up the issue of written description, which is currently established by showing “whether the disclosure…reasonably conveys…that the inventor had possession of the claimed subject matter as of the filing date.” Ariad Pharms., Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010)(en banc)(emphasis added).
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