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In a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) issued last week, the Board confirmed that the “enhanced estoppel” provision of 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(1) applies to co-pending inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings when a final written decision issues in a first IPR. The panel flatly rejected a Petitioner’s attempt to apply the Federal Circuit’s decision in Shaw Indus. Group, Inc. v. Automated Creel Sys., Inc., 817 F.3d 1293 (Fed. Cir. 2016) to those circumstances. 
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Give and Take: IPR of Pre-AIA Patent is NOT an Unconstitutional Taking

August 9, 2019 | Blog | By Marc Morley, Jeff Giering

On July 30, 2019, the Federal Circuit held that retroactive application of IPR (inter partes review) proceedings to pre-AIA (America Invents Act) patents is not an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment (Celgene Corp. v. Peter; appeals from IPR2015-01096, IPR2015-01102, and IPR2015-01103).
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Effect of Prosecution History Estoppel on Infringement Claim under Doctrine of Equivalents

August 9, 2019 | Blog | By Marc Morley, Gali Steinberg-Tatman

The Federal Circuit in Amgen Inc. v. Coherus Biosciences Inc. affirmed a district court decision that once certain subject matter is clearly and unmistakably surrendered during prosecution, the patentee is barred from asserting an infringement claim under the doctrine of equivalents.  
Practice Hero Patent Prosecution Mintz
Claim construction, the process by which a court interprets the scope and meaning of a patent’s claims, is a crucial part of patent litigation. In fact, claim construction can make or break a patentee’s case for infringement and/or validity.
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Last week the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated as precedential a decision from 2014, which found that counsel can confer with a deponent at the conclusion of cross examination and prior to redirect.  Through its designation of Focal Therapeutics, Inc. v. Senorx, Inc., IPR2014-00116, Paper 19 (P.T.A.B. July 21, 2014) as precedential, the PTAB has made clear that although counsel may not confer with a witness during the cross-examination portion of a deposition, counsel may confer with a witness after cross-examination has concluded but before the redirect portion of the deposition commences. 
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In July 2019 the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) newly designated four decisions as informative to highlight the PTAB’s general consensus on issues considered in these cases.  All four cases involve the PTAB applying the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s January 2019 guidance for determining subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The decisions focus on whether claims integrate a judicial exception into a practical application so as to be subject matter eligible. 
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This past May, in a highly-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court held in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC that a debtor’s rejection of an executory contract under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code has the same effect as a breach of contract outside of bankruptcy.  The decision resolves an inter-circuit split on the effect of a bankrupt trademark licensor’s rejection of a trademark license, a question regarded by legal experts in the trademark community as the most significant unresolved legal issue in trademark licensing. 
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The decision whether to issue a Restriction Requirement during patent prosecution lies with the patent examiner, not the patent applicant.  A Restriction Requirement can nevertheless trigger prosecution history estoppel that limits the scope of an applicant’s issued claim.  The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in UCB, Inc. v. Watson Laboratories Inc. helps show how this situation can happen and how applicants can help prevent an examiner’s decision from adversely affecting patent scope.
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One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Economic Theories Used to Determine Royalty Rates

July 1, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Aarti Shah, Matthew Galica, Tiffany Knapp

Calculating royalty rates as part of a patent dispute often becomes a hotly-disputed issue, where opposing economic theories from expert witnesses are pinned against one another.  As a litigant, care must be taken when deciding which economic theory to advance—and what facts to rely on—in support of a particular royalty rate.  Given the varying and unique nature of disputes, a singular economic approach to determining a royalty rate is impractical and, oftentimes, inappropriate. 
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Federal Circuit Closes Another AIA Loophole

June 28, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Van Loy, Justin J. Leisey

The Federal Circuit recently ruled that state sovereign immunity does not apply in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings, closing another America Invents Act (AIA) loophole.  The case, Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corporation and Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. (Fed. Circ., 2018-1559), included the review of six Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) IPRs where the Regents of the University of Minnesota (UMN) filed motions to dismiss based on state sovereign immunity. 
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Earlier this week, the Supreme Court granted the State of Georgia’s petition to review the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Code Revision Comm'n v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., 906 F.3d 1229 (11th Cir. 2018). In that case, the Eleventh Circuit held that the privately-compiled but officially-sanctioned and adopted Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) was not protected by copyright under the “government edicts” doctrine.
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On June 17, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, in Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Accord Healthcare Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-01043, held that venue was not proper in Delaware over Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“MPI”) in connection with Novartis’s Hatch-Waxman patent infringement claim arising from MPI’s submission of an Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) seeking approval to market a generic version of the drug, Gilenya® (fingolimod).
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The U.S. Supreme Court, in a split decision, held that the federal ban on registering “scandalous” and “immoral” trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The trademark FUCT is what was at issue in Iancu v. Brunetti, case number 18-302 (June 24, 2019).  Although the mark had been in use on clothing for many years, it was never accepted for registration by the US Trademark Office on grounds that it violated the ban on registration of “scandalous” and “immoral” marks under Section 1052(a) of the Lanham Act.
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This week, the Supreme Court left open the question of Article III standing with regards to appealing a final written decision from the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”) that is favorable to the patent owner. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied two petitions for certiorari that sought to appeal final written decisions (“FWD”) adverse to the petitioner in an inter partes review proceeding, in that the PTAB declines to cancel all claims under review.
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The DTSA standing alone provides significant recourse for trade secret owners who have fallen victim to trade secret theft. Apart from the protection provided by the DTSA itself, however, the statute also allows trade secret owners to leverage the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a statute passed to address organized crime, to combat trade secret misappropriation. The DTSA does this by making trade secret theft qualify as a predicate act sufficient to show racketeering activity under RICO. This fairly new tool gives trade secret owners another potent option when confronting trade secret theft.
Viewpoint General
Patent practitioners, inventors, in-house counsel, and patent examiners alike have been clamoring for more guidance on computer-implemented functional claim limitations invoking § 112(f) since the Federal Circuit’s en banc Williamson v. Citrix decision in 2015. To help answer some of those pleas, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register notice on January 7, 2019 to address issues under 35 USC § 112.
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Legalizing “hemp” under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) has triggered an important change for the examination of federal trademark applications concerning cannabis and cannabis-derived goods and services.  In response to the Bill’s enactment on December 20, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a new examination guide to clarify its examination procedures involving hemp goods and services.  For businesses in the cannabis industry, the examination guide (recently issued on May 2, 2019) will impact the viability of federal trademark applications filed on or after December 20, 2018 that were once previously barred.
A.I. Viewpoint

Emerging Legal Trends AI: Can Israel Join the U.S. and Europe as a Leader in AI Protections?

June 10, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Asa Kling, Marguerite McConihe, Derek Constantine

The intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and intellectual property invokes fascinating theoretical questions.  With these questions, however, come significant practical issues that businesses, legal practitioners, and governments need to address proactively. Israel is embracing the challenge.
Viewpoint

Score This One in Favor of Standard-Essential Patent Owners: Recent Decision Makes Satisfying FRAND Obligations Easier

June 5, 2019 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, James Wodarski, Aarti Shah, Matthew Galica

A recent decision in the Eastern District of Texas should provide standard-essential patent (“SEP”) owners with more clarity and optimism when negotiating SEP licenses.  Coming on the heels of Judge Koh’s decision in the FTC’s dispute with Qualcomm, Judge Gilstrap found Ericsson to have satisfied its fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) obligations when negotiating with HTC due in large part to a finding that it had negotiated in good faith. 
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On April 26, 2019, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Lord clearly stated in Certain Intraoral Scanner and Related Hardware and Software that the International Trade Commission’s (“ITC”) jurisdictional authority extends to accused infringers whose activities have “some nexus” to an element of section 337.  ALJ Lord found that involvement in training and supporting resellers, distributors and end users in the infringing goods in the United States was sufficient to put that respondent under the broad reach of section 337, even if they did not import or directly sell the products. 

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