Patent Litigation

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Putting the Appeals of Both Sides to Bed: PTAB Rulings on the Patentability of Systems and Methods for Adjusting Air Pressure in a Mattress Affirmed

The Federal Circuit recently handed down an informative decision in American National v. Sleep Number Corporation affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final decisions in two inter partes reviews finding some claims patentable and some claims not patentable. The claims at issue related to the systems and methods for adjusting pressure in an air … Continue Reading

The Alice Test for Patent Ineligibility in Practice, Part Two: The Federal Circuit Affirms a Dismissal

In a recent post, I discussed a September Federal Circuit decision (Cooperative Entertainment v. Kollective Technology) that reversed a lower court dismissal of a patent infringement case on Section 101 eligibility grounds under the Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank test. Just weeks after that ruling, the Federal Circuit in IBM v. Zillow … Continue Reading

The Alice Test for Patent Ineligibility in Practice: The Federal Circuit Reverses District Court’s Dismissal of an Infringement Case

One of the threshold requirements for obtaining a patent under U.S. law is that the invention is a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof…” In other words, the subject matter of the invention must be eligible for patenting. Many courts have used this requirement … Continue Reading

Through the Fire? Not Anymore – European Court of Justice strengthens Rights of Patent Owners in Germany

For many years, German courts would, in principle, only grant a preliminary injunction in a patent case, if the patent in suit had “gone through the fire” in the sense of having survived an adversarial opposition or nullity proceeding at first instance. This case law was based on the consideration that it can be extremely … Continue Reading

Hefty Civil Penalties: Another Reason Patent Owners Should Consider Patent Litigation at the ITC

Powerful remedies, particularly General Exclusion Orders, are often cited as a reason why patent owners should consider asserting their patents at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 instead of, or in addition to, in U.S. District Court. A recent Federal Circuit decision reaffirms another advantage of … Continue Reading

Yes, You Can Bargain Away Your Right to File IPR Petitions

For the second time in four months, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued a precedential opinion about forum selection clauses (FSC) in confidentiality agreements. On October 7, 2021, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in Kannuu Pty Ltd. v. Samsung Electronics Ltd. et al., holding that, in a non-disclosure … Continue Reading

Judge Leonard P. Stark Will Bring a Wealth of Patent Experience to the Federal Circuit

On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the White House announced President Biden’s nomination of Judge Leonard P. Stark (U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. If approved, Judge Stark will succeed Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley, who recently announced that she will retire in March 2022.… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Allows Service by Alternative Means Under Rule 4(f)(3) in Patent Cases

Serving a district court complaint for patent infringement on a foreign defendant usually requires compliance with the Hague Convention on Service. A recent Federal Circuit decision, however, endorses alternative options under Federal Rule 4(f)(3) that could significantly simplify the process for plaintiffs and make it more difficult for foreign defendants to avoid service and delay … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Beware – Disclose all Evidence of Lost Profits Damages During Discovery

In a patent infringement lawsuit, a plaintiff often seeks to recover lost profits damages—the profits that the patent owner would have made but for the competitor’s alleged infringement—instead of a lower reasonable royalty. A plaintiff is not automatically entitled to such damages, though, even upon a finding of infringement. Rather, the patent owner must prove … Continue Reading

Timing is Essential for Filing Interlocutory Appeals — Do Not Wait for All Issues to be Resolved

The Federal Circuit recently dismissed an interlocutory appeal filed by LG Electronics as untimely because LG filed its notice of appeal more than seven months after the district court’s order disposing of all LG post-trial motions except for its post-trial motion on damages. The opinion stands as a lesson to all parties contemplating an appeal … Continue Reading

A Reminder to Patentees Suing for Infringement: Your Allegations Must be Sufficient to Show Plausibility that the Accused Product Infringes

A recent Federal Circuit decision has re-affirmed prior guidance on the pleading requirements for a plaintiff alleging patent infringement. The decision was issued in Bot M8 LLC v. Sony Corp. of Am., Case No. 2020-2218, on July 13, 2021. In short, while a plaintiff need not prove its case at the pleading stage, a plaintiff … Continue Reading

Will Patents Become More Political? The PTO Begins to Implement Arthrex

In United States v Arthrex, the Supreme Court held that 35 U.S.C. §6(c), which sets forth the authority of Patent Trial & Appeal Board (“PTAB”) Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”), is unconstitutional because APJs effectively wield the power of principal officers (who require Senate confirmation) while being appointed as inferior officers (who do not require Senate confirmation) … Continue Reading

Litigators Take Note – Yu v. Apple is Not Just About Subject Matter Eligibility of Patents

Much of the discussion about the Federal Circuit’s precedential opinion in Yu et al. v. Apple, Inc. et al. has focused on the perceived confusion and dysfunction of U.S. patent law that invalidates a claim directed to an “improved digital camera” as a patent-ineligible “abstract idea.” After delving into the underlying record, this author posits … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Provides a Different Fix to Make APJs Inferior Officers

On June 21, 2021, in United States v. Arthrex, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Patent Trial & Appeal Board (“PTAB”) Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) are unconstitutionally appointed because they effectively wield the power of principal officers while being appointed as inferior officers. 594 U.S. ____ (2021).… Continue Reading

Trial & Error: Violation of MIL Order Not a Per Se Justification for New Trial

The Federal Circuit’s recent opinion in Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. v Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc. et al. reminds us that new trial motions are hard to win, even when the adversary violates a pretrial motion in limine (MIL) order. Rather, the district court judge’s curative instructions and procedures to avoid future violations of a … Continue Reading

When Cease-and-Desist Letters Create a Risk of a Declaratory Judgment Backlash: Observations from Trimble Inc. v. PerDiemCo LLC

With its recent decision in Trimble Inc. v. PerDiemCo LLC, the Federal Circuit has opened the door for declaratory judgment actions a bit wider. The Court reversed the Northern District of California’s dismissal of a patent declaratory relief action based on lack of personal jurisdiction, and limited the scope previously articulated by its 1998 decision … Continue Reading

Evidence Relating to Third Party Chips Better Be Good When It’s TV Time at the Federal Circuit: The admissibility of third-party source code as a business record under FRE 803(6)

In patent infringement cases involving consumer electronics and the like, the accused instrumentality oftentimes includes components the accused infringer obtained from third-party suppliers. To prove infringement, the patent owner may need discovery from the third party, such as source code, and that discovery would in turn be relied upon by the patent owner’s testifying expert. … Continue Reading

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
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