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Another Shoe Drops in the Qualcomm Patent Licensing Saga

May 24, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Bruce Sokler, Rich Gervase, Harold Laidlaw

Just when observers thought Qualcomm could celebrate its successful litigation with Apple another decision has come down which could have major implications for Qualcomm’s business going forward.
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Performing a Service without Selling the Process Still Triggers the On-Sale Bar

May 24, 2019 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Will Perkins, Kristina Cary, Serge Subach

Services play a large role in today’s economy, and it is important to be mindful of how certain pitfalls that apply to product-based intellectual property rights also apply to method or process-based intellectual property (“IP”) rights.  For example, the “on-sale bar” invalidates a patent on a product where a sale or offer to sell the product occurred more than a year prior to filing for a patent.
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In her April 16, 2019 Public Interest Findings, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) McNamara decisively stated that antitrust issues disguised as competitive conditions arguments are not a factor in the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) proceeding between Apple and Qualcomm.  See Mobile Electronic Devices II, Inv. No. 337-TA-1093, Analysis and Findings with Respect to the Public Interest, and Recommendation on Remedy and Bond, at 4 (April 16, 2019).
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Director Iancu Roundtable with BIOCOM San Diego

May 20, 2019 | Blog | By Marc Morley, Melissa Brayman

Andrei Iancu, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, believes that the U.S. needs a strong patent system in order to excel and thrive in the global economy.  He has made strengthening the U.S. patent system a core part of his mission responsibilities. Director Iancu has been travelling across the country and speaking with various patent stakeholders. As part of this effort, he met with BIOCOM’s Board of Directors and Intellectual Property Committee in San Diego on April 18, 2019. 
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We previously reported here on a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision involving a case in which a patent eligibility rejection was overcome by replacing a “comparing” step with a recitation that the sample is from a particular patient population.  However, because the eligibility rejection was dropped by the examiner before appeal, the PTAB did not revisit the issue. 
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Recently, in Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. TCL Commc’n Tech. Holdings Ltd., the Delaware District Court awarded the prevailing plaintiff in a patent infringement suit an ongoing royalty that covers not only the products adjudicated to infringe but also non-adjudicated products that were “not colorably different” from the adjudicated products.  The court noted that the patent claims asserted by the plaintiff, IP Bridge, were found to be essential to the LTE standard because LTE phones do not operate on the LTE network without infringing the asserted claims. 
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On April 25, 2019, in Int’l Designs Corp., LLC, et. al. v. Hair Art Int’l, Inc., Judge George H. Wu in the Central District of California denied Hair Art’s motion for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285.  Judge Wu concluded that, based on an analysis of the totality of the circumstances, “[t]his case was certainly ‘exceptional,’ but it was exceptional in that both parties made litigation choices leading to a significant waste of party and judicial resources.”  (Emphasis added.)
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On April 17, 2019, Judge Gilstrap of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in Apicore v. Beloteca, No. 19-cv-00077, held that while the court could exercise personal jurisdiction over a generic drug manufacturer in connection with the patentee’s action seeking a declaratory judgment of noninfringement, venue was not appropriate in the Eastern District of Texas under the applicable patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).
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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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The general rule is that a patent claim’s preamble does not limit the claim unless the preamble gives life, meaning, and vitality to the claim.  The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Arctic Cat Inc. v. GEP Power Products, Inc. (March 26, 2019) considers the situation where a patentee wants a preamble to be a required claim limitation, unlike the more typical situation where a patentee does not want a claim preamble to be limiting, such as in Pacing Technologies v. Garmin International previously discussed HERE.  The court deciding in Arctic Cat that the preambles at issue were not required claim limitations highlights important considerations for patent application drafting and for crafting post-issuance arguments.
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When Is Pre-Acquisition Analysis of Patents Protected from Discovery During Litigation?

March 29, 2019 | Blog | By Andrew DeVoogd, Daniel Weinger, Rithika Kulathila

A Discovery Master in Limestone Memory Systems LLC v. Micron Tech., Inc. pending in the Central District of California recently provided additional guidance to practitioners and patent owners on this important question.  The report, issued on February 19, 2019, sustained in part the plaintiff Limestone’s privilege and work product assertions related to pre-acquisition analysis of the asserted patents conducted by Acacia, Limestone’s parent company.  In doing so, the report emphasized that courts have long held that attorney-client privilege may arise when a company obtains legal advice, while seeking to acquire patents, protecting from discovery communications between the acquiring company and inventors.  
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A recent order from the District of Delaware in Evolved Wireless, LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 15-00542 (“Evolved Wireless”) provides interesting guidance regarding the use of future sales in calculating lump-sum damages.
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Commission Reverses Apple Infringement Finding, Thereby Mooting the Public Interest Inquiry...For Now

March 27, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Sandra Badin, Rithika Kulathila

Yesterday afternoon, the International Trade Commission issued its Final Determination in Certain Mobile Electronic Devices and Radio Frequency and Process Components Thereof, 337-TA-1065. The 1065 Investigation is one of several actions Qualcomm has brought against Apple both here and abroad.
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FRAND Licensing of Global Portfolios – Who Gets to Set Worldwide Rates?

March 26, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Sandra Badin

A key issue in the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs) is whether national courts have jurisdiction to determine what constitutes a global fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) license rate.  The Court of Appeal in England recently held that its patent courts have such jurisdiction.  In Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. v Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL, the Court of Appeal affirmed the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice to try a claim for the infringement of UK-designated European SEPs against Chinese as well as English defendants and to issue an injunction for the unauthorized use of the SEPs at issue.  In the process, it also affirmed the High Court’s jurisdiction to determine a worldwide FRAND rate. 
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PanOptis Patent Management, LLC (“PanOptis”) was recently awarded enhanced damages and ongoing royalties as a result of Huawei Technology Co. Ltd. (“Huawei”) infringing five of its patents, four of which were alleged to be essential to the 4G LTE technology standard.  Despite the successful legal outcome, the size of PanOptis’ cumulative damages award for its standard-essential patents was less than some observers anticipated.  This result emphasizes the importance of taking a global enforcement approach—leveraging international fora—to recoup meaningful compensation for standard-essential patents.
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Precedential PTAB Panel Says Petitioners Can Join Their Own Earlier-Filed IPRs and Join New Issues in Limited Circumstance

March 19, 2019 | Blog | By William Meunier, Brad M Scheller, Vincent Ferraro, Rithika Kulathila

In its first decision since its inception, the Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) for the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), in Proppant Express Investments, LLC v. Oren Technologies, LLC, IPR2018-00914, held that under 35 U.S.C. § 315(c) the Board has discretion to allow a party, in limited circumstances, to join its own earlier-filed inter partes review (“IPR”) and join new issues, even if the party was otherwise time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b).  Specifically, the Board may use this discretion only where fairness requires it and to avoid undue prejudice to a party.  The POP nevertheless denied Proppant Express Investments LLC’s (“Petitioner”) motion for joinder as Petitioner’s motion was “a result of Petitioner’s errors,” and therefore did not fall within the limited circumstances it envisioned.
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On February 25, 2019, the Supreme Court denied Power Integrations, Inc.’s (“Power Integrations”) petition for writ of certiorari.  The question presented to the Court was whether a plaintiff who had proven customer demand for an infringing product as a result of the patented feature was entitled to damages based on the entire market value of the product, or if the plaintiff also had to prove that the other unpatented features of the infringing product did not drive customer demand.  The Court’s denial leaves a high burden for patentee’s relying on the Entire Market Value Rule (“EMVR”).
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The FUCT Mark: Is the Prohibition on Scandalous Marks Unconstitutional?

March 14, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Adam Samansky, Serge Subach

The constitutionality of yet another portion of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act will soon be determined. Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster decision in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017) (“Tam”), the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to Iancu v. Brunetti on January 4, 2019. In Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court held that the prohibition in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act against registering disparaging trademarks at the U.S. Trademark Office (“USPTO”) was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. However, Section 2(a) also prohibits the registration of other categories of marks, including marks that are immoral and scandalous. It is the constitutionality of this prohibition which is at issue in Brunetti.
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Designing Around a Monopoly: the Public Interest Dispute between Qualcomm and Apple Takes a New Turn

March 12, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Sandra Badin, Matthew Galica

As we mentioned in December, the International Trade Commission issued a notice to review the Final Initial Determination and Recommended Determination issued by Administrative Law Judge Pender in Certain Mobile Electronic Devices and Radio Frequency and Process Components Thereof, 337-TA-1065 (“Certain Mobile Electronic Devices”), in which, despite finding that a valid patent was infringed and all jurisdictional requirements met, ALJ Pender had recommended that no exclusion order be issued against Apple because such an order would be contrary to the public interest.

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