Patent Litigation

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Restoring Balance: Increased Discretionary Authority of the PTAB Favors Patentees

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an administrative law body of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) that determines disputes over the issuance, reissuance, and cancellation of patent claims. The PTAB has become well known to patent litigants since the implementation in 2012 of new proceedings, including Inter Partes Review (IPR), for … Continue Reading

Discretionary Denial of Institution of an IPR Disfavored Where Litigation Already Stayed or Petitioner Stipulates to Estoppel

In 2020, the PTAB increasingly denied otherwise meritorious petitions for review under its discretionary authority, as my partner Steve Auvil and I recently discussed. Many such denials were made in view of co-pending litigation under the so-called Fintiv factors adopted last May. The reaction to the PTAB’s approach was vocal and divided, and the USPTO … Continue Reading

Subject Matter Eligibility for Medical Diagnostic Claims – a Possible Path Forward?

On March 11, 2021, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in In re PTAB of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University affirming a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to maintain the examiner’s rejection of claims involving analysis of genetic data to determine inheritance. The Federal Circuit found that the … Continue Reading

Delaware Reminds Litigants Not to Wait to Disclose Infringement Theories Under the Doctrine of Equivalents

Back in July and December 2020, we wrote about the seeming rise in allegations of infringement allegations under the doctrine of equivalents (DOE) in life sciences cases. We noted that in those recent cases the Federal Circuit provided in-depth analyses of the application of DOE, prosecution history estoppel, and the various other limits on the … Continue Reading

New AIA Rules Implement Hunting Titan and Preserve a Dual Role for the PTAB

On December 21, 2020, the US Patent and Trademark Office (Office) published final rules in the Federal Register, implementing the decision in Hunting Titan, Inc. v Dynaenergetics Europe GMBH as follows regarding motions to amend in inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) proceedings: The patent owner bears the burden of persuasion to show, … Continue Reading

Actual Definitions Can Help Avoid Erroneous Constructions of Patent Claims

On August 27, 2020, the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Baxalta Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. overturning the District Court’s ruling that Genentech did not infringe the claims of US Patent No. 7,033,590 and remanded for further proceedings. The Federal Circuit’s decision was based on its finding that the District Court’s claim construction was erroneous … Continue Reading

The Federal Circuit Expressly Declares that Juries Determine the Standard-Essentiality of Patent Claims

In Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. TCL Commun. Tech. Holdings Ltd.,[1] the Federal Circuit definitively answered the question: “Who determines the standard-essentiality of the patent claims at issue—the court, as part of claim construction, or the jury, as part of its infringement analysis?” According to this precedential decision authored by Judge Kathleen O’Malley: “Where … Continue Reading

The Federal Circuit Finds a “Hooke” to Patent Ineligibility

 On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a modified and reissued decision[1] (American Axle II) of its earlier October 3, 2019 decision[2] (American Axle I) in response to a combined petition for panel rehearing and hearing en banc concerning patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. At issue were … Continue Reading

Beware! Inventors Include Those Who Significantly Contributed to a Claimed Invention – Even if their Contribution is Not Recited in the Claim

In the U.S., patent ownership vests with inventors, and each inventor can exploit their rights without accounting to the other. Neglecting to identify the true inventors of a claimed invention, and obtain assignments of their rights, can create chaos. This is what happened in Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc. v. Ono Pharmaceutical (Fed. Circ., 2020), where … Continue Reading

The PTAB Informs: Applying Apple v. Fintiv

On July 13, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) designated as informative two opinions applying its now precedential Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc. opinion, which set forth factors governing the exercise of the PTAB’s discretion to deny institution of a post-issuance proceeding. In these two informative opinions, Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, … Continue Reading

In Assessing Design Patent Infringement, The Devil Is In The Details

Since Egyptian Goddess, Inc. v. Swisa, Inc., the sole test for determining whether a design patent has been infringed is the ordinary observer test. Under this test, “if, in the eye of an ordinary observer, giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, two designs are substantially the same, if the resemblance is such as … Continue Reading

Feel Like DOE is Having a Rebirth in Life Science Cases? You’re Not Alone

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari from the Federal Circuit’s 2019 Eli Lilly & Co. v. Hospira, Inc. opinion affirming infringement under the doctrine of equivalents (DOE). In doing so, the Supreme Court put to rest a more than decade-long dispute over attempts to market a generic version of … Continue Reading

Even If the Federal Circuit Could Award Attorney Fees for IPR Appeals, § 285 Does Not Permit It to Award Fees Incurred During the IPR

Normally, a branded bio/pharm company is pleased to escape an inter partes review (IPR) unscathed. Doubly so when the challenger moves voluntarily to dismiss its appeal. So what happened in Amneal Pharms. LLC v. Almirall, LLC, No. 20-1106, to cause Almirall to insist on receiving its attorney fees for a mere month of work before … Continue Reading

The Chinese Supreme People’s Court Intervenes on Patent Issues, with Focus on Pharmaceutical Experiments

In April 2020, the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China published the amended draft Provisions concerning interpretation of certain norms of the patent law and its implementing regulations about the administrative litigation of patent rejections and invalidations.[1] The Provisions offer the Supreme People’s Court the opportunity to address new issues and matters not … Continue Reading

Complimentary Webinar – Legal Insights Series – Equitable Attacks on Patents Live On: Learning From Case Studies

Inventors and lawyers — both in-house and firm counsel — involved in the prosecution of patents have a duty of candor to the US Patent Office, and breaching that duty renders patents unenforceable for inequitable conduct. Once common in litigation, allegations of inequitable conduct faced a more stringent review after the Federal Circuit’s decision in … Continue Reading

Articles that Infringe Only after Importation can be Excluded by the ITC

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the International Trade Commission’s (“ITC” or “Commission”) Opinion in Certain Digital Video Receivers and Hardware and Software Components Thereof,[1] holding that the ITC’s authority to exclude products from the United States is not limited to “articles that infringe” at the time of importation, but can include articles that infringe after … Continue Reading

It’s A Snap: Supreme Court Rules that Trademark Owners can Recover Infringer’s Profits without Proving that Infringement was Willful

On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that a trademark owner may recover an infringer’s profits under the federal Lanham Act without having to prove that the trademark infringement was “willful.” The ruling, in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc. (Docket No. 18-1233), resolved a split among the Circuit Courts on this issue. … Continue Reading

“Consisting Essentially Of” Decision at Federal Circuit Supports Link between Specification and Claims in Composition Patents

The Appellants in HZNP Medicines v. Actavis Laboratories saw their hopes for rehearing dashed on February 25, 2020, when the Federal Circuit issued an order denying their petitions for panel rehearing and en banc rehearing. The decision leaves intact an order finding that claims reciting “consisting essentially of” could be found indefinite based on ambiguities … Continue Reading

PTAB Time-Bar Determinations Under 35 U.S.C. §315(b) Are Final and Not Appealable

Yesterday, in Thryv, Inc., f/k/a Dex Media, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP, et al., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the non-appealability of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) institution decisions encompasses PTAB decisions on whether a statutory time bar applies. More specifically, 35 U.S.C. §314(d), which sets forth the finality and nonappealability of … Continue Reading

Secondary Considerations at the PTAB: Nexus Required, but Amendments Allowed

The Supreme Court recognized long ago that a patentee can overcome a prima facie showing of obviousness by presenting objective evidence of non-obviousness, referred to as secondary considerations.[1] To do so, however, the patentee must establish a nexus between the challenged claims and the objective evidence. In a newly designated precedential decision, Lectrosonics, Inc. v. … Continue Reading

The Cold Hard Fact of Arctic Cat: Actual Notice is Necessary to Protect a Damages Claim from the Cold After Unmarked Patented Goods are Sold

It is settled law under 35 U.S.C. § 287 that when the patent owner sells or authorizes the sale of a patented product, it must comply with the statute’s marking requirement to obtain the benefit of constructive notice or else damages do not begin to accrue until actual notice is given to the infringer. In … Continue Reading
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