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PTAB Adopts the Phillips Claim Construction Standard in AIA Proceedings

October 11, 2018 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Daniel Weinger, Courtney Herndon

Today the Patent Trial and Appeal Board announced a final rule changing the claim construction standard for interpreting claims in inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), and covered business method patent (“CBM”) proceedings.  The Board retired the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) standard in favor of the standard used to construe patent claims in federal court and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) as articulated in Phillips v. AWH Corp.  In doing so, the Board announced that it will now consider prior constructions, either from a federal district court or the ITC, in construing a claim term in an IPR, PGR, or CBM, where such prior constructions are timely made of record.  This rule change is another positive development for patent owners and should provide for consistent construction of the same term across multiple tribunals going forward.
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Recently in Nobel Biocare Services AG v. Instradent USA, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) in an inter partes review (“IPR”) finding certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,714,977 (“the ’977 Patent”), directed to dental implants, unpatentable as anticipated.  The Nobel decision is the latest in a recent line of Federal Circuit cases holding that materials distributed at conferences, trade shows, and meetings are publically available “printed publications” within the meaning of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).
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In our continuing post-TC Heartland coverage, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas recently issued an interesting decision regarding the venue analysis for car companies selling into a particular jurisdiction. In Blitzsafe Texas v. BMW, Judge Gilstrap concluded that independently owned and operated BMW dealerships count as a regular and established place of business for purposes of establishing proper venue as to BMW of North America (“BMWNA”). (The court also concluded summarily that venue was proper as to BMWNA’s foreign parent company.) BMWNA argued in the main that the four dealerships located within the district were not their regular and established places of business because the dealerships are franchised. BMWNA also argued that it is not permitted to “own or control” the dealerships within the District pursuant to the Texas Occupations Code.
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PTAB Finds Recycled Art and Advanced State of Parallel District Proceeding Warrant Denial of IPR Trial

September 17, 2018 | Blog | By Peter Snell, Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro, Chris Duerden

Last week the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) provided yet another arrow in the patent owner’s quiver for defending against institution of IPRs.  In NHK International Corp. v. Intri-Plex Technologies, Inc., IPR2018-00752, the PTAB exercised its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) and denied institution because the asserted art was already considered during the original examination of the patent.  The PTAB also found that denial was warranted under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) in light of the additional factor that a district court trial on the same patent was imminent. 
In the time since the Federal Circuit issued its Vanda Pharma decision in April, Vanda Pharm. Inc. v West-Ward Pharm. Intl. Ltd. 887 F.3d 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2018), we have had more good news for the patent eligibility of claims relating to diagnostic or similar tests utilized in treating patients.

The Patent Act Allows for Full Compensation for All Forms of Infringement

June 22, 2018 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Sandra Badin

Patent owners have a new arrow in their quiver. The Supreme Court has held that patent owners can recover foreign lost profits for the use or sale of infringing products abroad if the products were assembled from components of the patented invention exported from the United States.
According to the Eastern District of Texas, no. In our continued post-TC Heartland coverage, for the purpose of establishing venue, courts typically will decline to treat the place of business of one corporation as the place of the business of the other, even when the two are related, so long as a formal separation of entities is preserved.

Discovery Concerning Potential Litigation Funding is Not Relevant or Proportional

June 14, 2018 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Andrew DeVoogd, Catherine Xu

A recent order from the Northern District of California provides some succinct guidance on the relevancy of discovery concerning litigation funding. In Space Data Corp. v. Google LLC, 5-16-cv-03260, the court denied Defendants Google and Alphabet’s motion to compel discovery as to potential litigation funding allegedly considered by Plaintiff Space Data.
According to a recent decision from the Southern District of New York, no.  In our continued post-TC Heartland coverage, the court in CDX Diagnostic, Inc. v. U.S. Endoscopy Group, Inc. clarified that a storage unit does not qualify as a regular and established place of business.

Evidence of Bad Faith Patent Prosecution Can Support an Award of Attorney Fees

June 5, 2018 | Blog | By Andrew DeVoogd, Chris Duerden

A recent opinion from the District of New Jersey is a cautionary tale for patent practitioners regarding conduct during patent prosecution that can be framed as bad faith. This can become an expensive misstep during subsequent litigation. 

Insincere Licensing Discussions Can Support a Willful Infringement Claim

June 4, 2018 | Blog | By Andrew DeVoogd, Chris Duerden

A recent order from the Northern District of California provides patent practitioners interesting guidance regarding conduct during licensing discussions—and may be a cautionary tale to potential licensors engaged in efficient infringement.

Smartphone Wars – The Last Jury: Samsung Owes $539M for Infringing Apple’s Patents

May 31, 2018 | Blog | By Michael Newman, Patrick Driscoll

A California jury recently awarded Apple $538.6 million in total damages for patent infringement by Samsung. This is the latest development in the patent battle between smartphone industry titans that began in 2011 and took another step towards completion.
In another interesting development in our ongoing coverage of the application of the TC Heartland patent venue standard by lower courts, the District Court for the Western District of Texas recently determined that when a parent company ratifies its subsidiary company’s place of business, it can be considered a “regular place of business” for purposes of establishing proper venue.
On May 14, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, In re: ZTE (USA) Inc., No. 2018-113, held that Federal circuit law governs the burden of proof for venue challenges under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) and that the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to demonstrate proper venue upon a defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of venue.
In our continuing coverage of the post-TC Heartland landscape, the Federal Circuit recently clarified that venue is proper in only one district per state in In re BigCommerce, Inc., 2018-122 (Fed. Cir. May 15, 2018) (slip op.).
In a May 10, 2018 ruling, discussed earlier on this blog, Magistrate Judge Payne affirmed the jury’s willfulness finding largely on the ground that TCL did not proffer any evidence that it held a subjective, good faith belief that it did not infringe the patent-in-suit or that the patent was invalid.

Upon Reconsideration, E.D.Tex. Judge Affirms Ericsson’s Previously-Vacated Jury Award Against TCL

May 16, 2018 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Andrew DeVoogd, Daniel Weinger, Robert Moore

On May 10, 2018, Magistrate Judge Payne reconsidered his previous March 2018 order which had vacated a jury award, and granted plaintiff Ericsson’s motion for reconsideration. The May ruling makes clear that the accused infringer bears the burden of production for royalty-stacking and other mitigatory arguments on damages.
Further to our ongoing coverage of post-TC Heartland patent litigation, in a recent case in the Western District of Wisconsin, the court granted defendants' motion to transfer for improper venue. In doing so, it rejected the plaintiff’s contention that venue can be proper where one corporation “works closely” with another corporation resident in the jurisdiction.

ITC Updates Its Rules of Practice and Procedure to Increase Speed and Efficiency

May 11, 2018 | Blog | By Aarti Shah, Daniel Weinger, Tiffany Knapp

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, the International Trade Commission (“ITC” or the “Commission”) published the final changes to its rules of practice and procedure. The Commission stated that the changes are intended to both modernize and simplify Commission practice as well as to increase the speed and efficiency of investigations.
The Federal Circuit recently overturned a decision estopping the plaintiff from pursuing its infringement claims in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and clarified the effect of reexamination on equitable estoppel and laches.
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