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On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, the US House of Representative approved, by 410-to-6, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019, introduced under H.R.2426 by Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).  This bill aims to “establish an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims,” and creates the Copyright Claims Board, a body within the U.S. Copyright Office, to decide copyright disputes. 
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The Federal Circuit affirmed a district court award of over $360,000 in costs and attorneys’ fees against a non-practicing entity, citing the need “to deter future abusive litigation.”
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Mintz is recognized as among the top ten firms in ITC Section 337 litigation by Patexia in its inaugural "ITC Intelligence Report". We are pleased to be among the firms included in this publication and thrilled that it has come on the heels of a great year at the ITC for the Mintz team.
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Year in Review: The Most Popular IP Posts of 2019

January 6, 2020 | Blog | By Christina Sperry

As 2020 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 2019.  According to many readers, hot topics included § 112 written description, prosecution history estoppel, and venue in the wake of TC Heartland.
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On December 18, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Fox Factory v. SRAM, Nos. 2018-2024 and 2018-2025, reversed the Board’s Final Written Decision in a pair of inter partes reviews (“IPRs”) that the challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,182,027 (“the ’027 patent”) were not invalid as obvious, and remanded for further proceedings.
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When licensing discussions with an intransigent implementer break down, SEP owners face a difficult question: what remedies are available (injunctive relief or damages) in each U.S. court (International Trade Commission and U.S. district courts) as redress against infringement?
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Federal Circuit affirms Safe Harbor ruling and $70 million award in Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc.

December 20, 2019 | Blog | By Thomas Wintner, Peter Cuomo, Nana Liu

On December 16, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion that fully upheld the District of Delaware’s denial of Hospira, Inc.’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), or alternative motion for new trial, in Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc., Nos. 2019-1067, 2019-1102.  
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On December 5, 2019, Judge David C. Godbey of the Northern District of Texas denied the defendant Diebold Nixdorf, Inc.’s (“Diebold”) motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), in Nautilus Hyosung Inc. v. Diebold, Inc. et al., 3-16-cv-00364 (N.D. Tex.).  Diebold filed the motion after the Federal Circuit reversed the International Trade Commission’s (“ITC”) finding of infringement in a parallel Section 337 investigation.  Instead, the Federal Circuit held that the one patent in the suit was invalid due to indefiniteness. 
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Means-Plus-Function Structure – Can It Be Incorporated by Reference?

December 18, 2019 | Blog | By Peter Cuomo, Serge Subach

In its recent decision, Fiber, LLC. v. Ciena Corp., No. 2019-1005 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 21, 2019), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) issued a reminder that the structure necessary to satisfy the definiteness requirement for a means-plus-function in a claim cannot normally be found in material incorporated by reference.
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On December 10, 2019, an agreement was reached between the United States, Mexico, and Canada on amendments to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”).  The USMCA, if ratified by each respective country, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), which has been in effect since January 1, 1994. 
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Supreme Court Rejects USPTO Attorney Fee Policy

December 17, 2019 | Blog | By Michael McNamara, Sean Casey

On December 11, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) controversial policy of shifting attorneys’ fees in Peter v. NantKwest, Case No. 18-801. The Court ruled that the USPTO policy ran counter to the long-accepted “American Rule,” which says “[e]ach litigant pays his own attorney’s fees, win or lose, unless a statute or contract provides otherwise.”
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Relying on Outside Prior Art in an IPR – Not so fast!

December 10, 2019 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Serge Subach

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has recently reminded the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) that it may not rely on evidence and arguments that fall outside the scope of the instituted grounds during Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings. In re IPR Licensing, Inc., No. 2018-1805 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 22, 2019). 
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To amend challenged claims during an Inter Partes Review (IPR), the patent owner must show that the proposed amendment responds to a ground of unpatentability at issue in the IPR trial. 
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On November 6, 2019, the bonds between the U.S. government and pharmaceutical companies were stretched when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Gilead Sciences in Delaware federal court regarding Gilead’s popular HIV drugs, Truvada® and Descovy®.
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Favorable Trends For Patent Owners Post-Aqua Products

November 21, 2019 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro

When former President Barack Obama signed the Leahy–Smith America Invents Act into law on Sept. 16, 2011, the patent system in the United States underwent one of its most sweeping and significant overhauls. The AIA replaced the then-existing post-grant review proceeding of inter partes reexamination with several new proceedings known as inter partes review, post grant review and covered business method patent review. Congress implemented AIA reviews to streamline disputes over patent validity, with the goal of reducing costs for all involved. In October 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Aqua Products Inc. v. Matal shifted the burden by putting it back on the challenger to prove unpatentability.
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Nearly six years ago, the Supreme Court in Octane Fitness v. ICON Health & Fitness promulgated a “totality of the circumstances test” for awarding reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party in exceptional cases under 35 U.S.C. §285.  As lower courts have applied this standard, it has become clear that the motivation and conduct of the losing party is a focal point of the exceptionality analysis.  However, two recent decisions emphasize that bad faith arguments and litigation tactics—by both parties and in all stages of litigation—are critical to the exceptionality analysis in Section 285 attorney fee awards. 
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Copy Cats: Evidence of Copying a Specific Product NOT Required

November 12, 2019 | Blog | By Ken Jenkins, Jeff Giering

On October 30, 2019, the Federal Circuit held that evidence of copying may be used to rebut an obviousness challenge, even if that evidence does not relate to the copying of a specific product.  (Liqwd, Inc. v. L’Oreal USA, Inc.; appeal from PGR2017-00012).
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Judge Gilliam of the Northern District of California recently answered this question and provided helpful guidance on the interplay of IPRs, reexaminations and district court litigation. In IXI Mobile (R&D) Ltd., et al., v. Samsung Elec. Co. Ltd. and IXI Mobile (R&D) Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., Judge Gilliam denied plaintiffs’ (“IXI”) motion for leave to amend their infringement contentions and asserted claims because IXI was not diligent in identifying new contentions or new accused products.
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Key Considerations for Global SEP Litigation - Part 2

November 5, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Matthew Galica

The adoption of multiple, standardized technologies looms on the horizon.  This presents the challenge of balancing innovator’s intellectual property rights with implementer’s desire for fair access to technology. As more implementers adopt efficient infringement to circumvent this equilibrium altogether, standard-essential patent (“SEP”) licensing disputes have increased. 
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In a decision with potential far-reaching implications, Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., the Federal Circuit held Thursday that appointments of Administrative Patent Judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
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