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Patent Litigation

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Over the last decade, patent litigation has exploded at the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), which has caused the ITC to seek out ways to increase efficiency.  Several years ago, the ITC introduced an early 100-Day pilot program to dispose of dispositive issues early on in investigations. While now a mainstay, the 100-Day pilot program is rarely utilized. 
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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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On March 24, 2021, U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly of the District of Delaware, granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss claims for contributory and induced infringement and enhanced damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 because the complaint alleged knowledge of the asserted patents solely based on averments in prior original and amended complaints in the same lawsuit.
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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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Doctrine of Assignor Estoppel to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

February 25, 2021 | Blog | By Christina Sperry, Monique Winters Macek

On January 8, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case calling for it to abolish or limit the doctrine of assignor estoppel. See Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., et al., No. 20-440, 2021 WL 77248 (U.S. Jan. 8, 2021). Mintz previously discussed the Federal Circuit’s decision, which found assignor estoppel to be applicable.
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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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Year in Review: The Most Popular IP Posts of 2020

January 14, 2021 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

As 2021 begins and intellectual property (IP) strategies are being developed for the new year, it is a good time to reflect on what IP issues were prominent in 2020.  According to many readers, hot topics included Chinese foreign filing licenses, patenting involving either artificial intelligence (AI) or COVID-19, inter partes review, and attorney fee awards.
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Is This Seat Taken? A Chinese IP Court Proclaims Its Authority to Declare Global FRAND Terms

December 7, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Matthew Galica

A Chinese Court recently decided that it has the willingness, and jurisdiction, to set a global licensing rate that is fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) for standard essential patents (“SEP”). 
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Recently in Nike, Inc. v. Skechers U.S.A., Inc., 2:17-cv-08509 (C.D. Cal.) (October 26, 2020), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted-in-part and denied-in-part Defendant, Skechers U.S.A., Inc.’s (“Skechers”), motion to limit Plaintiff, Nike, Inc.’s (“Nike”), claim seeking attorney’s fees related to the infringement of its eight asserted design patents, resulting in the bifurcation of the willfulness issue from the trial on the merits.
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Recreating the Prior Art

October 7, 2020 | Blog | By Andrew D. Skale, Justin J. Leisey

In high-stakes litigation, parties go to great lengths to prove their case.  One such example is ongoing litigation between two giants in the paint and coatings world.  Sherwin-Williams Co. and PPG Industries, Inc. are involved in a patent infringement dispute over BPA-free can coatings.
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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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In the latest decision addressing antitrust liability for FRAND commitments, Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn of the Northern District of Texas dismissed a complaint from Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“Continental”) alleging, inter alia, violations of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and declaratory judgment as to FRAND obligations against Avanci, LLC (“Avanci”) and various members of its patent pool (collectively, “Defendants”).
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THE SEP WORLD IN BALANCE: UK Harmonizes with Germany’s Rejection of Implementer Hold Out

August 26, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Daniel Weinger, Matthew Galica

Another major development in global standard essential patent litigation was handed down today, as the UK Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that forced an efficient infringer of essential patents to accept a global license or face an injunction.
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On July 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, in APS Technology, Inc. v. Vertex Downhole, Inc. et al, No. 19-cv-01166, denied Vertex Downhole’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss APS’s patent infringement complaint.
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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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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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On July 13, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, in Mich. Motor Techs., v. Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, No. 19-10485, granted Volkswagen’s motion to dismiss Michigan Motor Technologies’ (MMT’s) willful infringement claims and request for enhanced damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 because MMT failed to allege sufficient facts to plausibly establish that Volkswagen acted egregiously and with knowledge of both the asserted patents and Volkswagen’s infringement thereof.
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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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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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