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IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Category Archives: Patent

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Heartburn Relief: AstraZeneca Wins Nexium Antitrust Trial

Posted in Patent
On December 5, 2014, an 11-person jury decided in favor of defendants AstraZeneca PLC and Ranbaxy Laboratories, Inc. in the first pay-for-delay class action trial since the United States Supreme Court in FTC v. Actavis, Inc. opened the door on antitrust suits based on patent settlements. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. was also defending the suit before reaching a settlement shortly before the trial ended. United States District Court Judge William Young of the District of Massachusetts last year permitted certification for the class members, including union health plans and insurance companies, based on an alleged injury of supracompetitive prices for AstraZeneca’s brand name heartburn drug, Nexium®… Continue Reading

Lacking A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi – Federal Circuit Finally Holds Ultramercial’s Patent Does Not Cover Patent Eligible Material

Posted in Patent
On November 12, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Ultramercial, LLC’s patent covering an eleven step process of watching a commercial as a condition of accessing free media content is invalid as covering patent ineligible material. The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 7,346,545 (“the ’545 patent”), claimed a method for distributing copyrighted products (such as songs, movies, books) over the Internet where the consumer receives a copyrighted product for free in exchange for viewing an advertisement, and the advertiser pays for the copyrighted content. The Federal Circuit had held the ’545 patent claimed patent eligible subject matter twice before and both times was reversed by the United States Supreme Court. This iteration saw the Federal Circuit uphold the grant of a motion to dismiss claims of infringement by the United States District Court for the Central District of California on the basis of patent-ineligibility… Continue Reading

Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, and an Enhancement! Oh My!

Posted in Patent
We have previously posted on the judiciary’s attempts to address frivolous and unwarranted suits brought by patent holding, non-practicing entities (“NPEs”). To deter such litigation, courts have the power to award attorneys’ fees and costs to defendants subject to such baseless suits. In an October 23 Opinion and Order in Lumen View Tech., LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc., District Judge Denise Cote, applying 35 U.S.C. § 285 (“Section 285”), not only awarded the defendant its attorneys’ fees and costs, but also applied an enhancement to the awarded fees… Continue Reading

Recent Case Reveals Effective Strategy for Responding to NPE Suits

Posted in Patent
A recent decision from the United States District Court of the District of Hawaii reveals an effective strategy for responding to non-practicing entity (NPE) suits and obtaining leverage early on in the litigation. This strategy takes into account the business model of some NPEs to name many (unconnected) industry players in one lawsuit and plead only bare allegations of patent infringement… Continue Reading

The Honorable Grace K. Obermann to Present at NJIPLA’s ETS Seminar on November 6, 2014

Posted in Licensing, Patent, USPTO
On Thursday, November 6, 2014, The Honorable Grace K. Obermann, Lead Administrative Patent Judge, USPTO, PTAB, will present on practicing before the PTAB at the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association’s seminar, "Electronics, Telecom & Software Patent Practice Update." The seminar will also address topics such as licensing guidance, implications of recent Supreme Court decisions, and damages considerations… Continue Reading

Has Alice Really Changed The §101 Standard for Patentability of Business Method Claims?

Posted in Patent
In the latest Supreme Court case on patentability under §35 U.S.C. 101, Alice Corp. Pty v. CLS Bank Int’l. (“Alice”), the Court addressed business method patent issues, finding that the claims at issue for mitigating settlement risks were drawn to an abstract idea and their generic computer implementation failed to transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014). … Continue Reading

Service of Discovery Also Subject to New Deadline in Delaware Federal Court

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patent
We previously posted on the new deadline of 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time for all filings other than initial pleadings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. On October 15, 2014, Chief Judge Leonard Stark of the District of Delaware issued a letter addressing certain questions about the new rule. Chief Judge Stark reiterated that filings and service must be completed by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and further indicated that this rule applies to all filing and service deadlines -- including service of discovery materials -- in every case in the District of Delaware, other than initial pleadings or those cases in Bankruptcy Court… Continue Reading

Put Away that Midnight Oil: New Rule in the District of Delaware

Posted in Intellectual Property, Patent
On October 2, 2014, Chief Judge Leonard Stark of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware announced a new deadline of 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time for all filings other than initial pleadings. As of October 16, 2014, “[a]side from initial pleadings, all electronic transmissions of documents (including, but not limited to, motions, briefs, appendices, and discovery responses) must be completed by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, in order to be considered timely filed and served that day.” Initial pleadings which are filed before midnight will still be considered timely… Continue Reading

Because I Said So: Courts’ Inherent Powers to Impose Fees for Bad Faith, Vexatious, or Wanton Litigation

Posted in Patent
Fee shifting has been a recent theme in patent litigation, with judges, legislators, and state attorney generals alike attempting to curb abuses of the patent system by creating new penalties. One judge has fallen back on the long-standing inherent powers of the judiciary to do so. This appealing new method of punishing patent litigation abusers comes from the U.S. District Court of the District of Delaware, one of the nation’s busiest patent dockets. Judge Richard G. Andrews’ well-reasoned opinion awards attorneys' fees to the defendant on the basis of the court’s inherent powers to penalize those who act in “bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.” Parallel Iron LLC v. NetApp Inc., No. 12-769, Slip Op. at 15 (D.Del. Sept. 12, 2004)… Continue Reading

New Jersey Assembly Advances Bill To Address Bad-Faith Patent Infringement Actions

Posted in Patent
We have previously posted on proposed federal and state legislation aimed at addressing the toll of “patent troll” litigation by non-practicing entities on the U.S. economy. The Gibbons IP Law Alert has previously posted regarding such issues on August 26, 2014, June 25, 2014, March 10, 2014, and December 13, 2013. Continuing the trend, the New Jersey General Assembly panel recently advanced bill A-2462 to address so called “Patent Troll” litigation. Consistent with other recent efforts at curbing patent litigation abuses, this bill attempts to identify wrongdoers and penalize specific abuses through monetary sanctions… Continue Reading

Patent Assertion Entities Hit With Rule 11 Sanctions and Section 285 Attorneys’ Fees in Separate Delaware District Court Cases

Posted in Patent
Much attention has been said about the role 35, U.S.C. § 285 in combating vexatious litigations brought by patent assertion entities (“PAE”) following the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014). Overshadowed by the Supreme Court’s ruling is the imposition of sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Not anymore. In a recent federal court case before Judge Richard G. Andrews, of the District of Delaware, the patent assertion entity (PAE) plaintiff was hit with R. 11 sanctions, resulting in the dismissal of all pending actions. This ruling illustrates that courts have multiple avenues to exercise their discretion on how to approach PAE actions, and offers insights as to how defendants can thwart PAE litigants that bring baseless patent infringement claims… Continue Reading

Blurred Lines: Third Circuit’s Lanham Act Attorneys’ Fees Analysis Follows Recent Supreme Court Ruling in Patent Case

Posted in Patent, Trademark
The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently decided that the U.S. Supreme Court’s April decision on attorneys’ fees in a patent case, Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., should also be applied in trademark cases under the Lanham Act. See Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, Nos. 13-3305 & 14-1572 (3d Cir. Sept. 4, 2014). Defendant Dempster had successfully moved to dismiss the action under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and was awarded its attorneys’ fees under § 35(a) of the Lanham Act and the Virgin Islands Code. Plaintiff Fair Wind Sailing appealed the fee award. The Third Circuit ultimately vacated the District Court’s fee award and remanded, instructing the court below to utilize an inquiry consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness… Continue Reading

Unified Patents Petitions for IPR to Counter Patent Troll PanTaurus’ Patent Litigation Assault

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Much debate has centered on patent reform and efforts to curtail the litigious activities of patent assertion entities (PAEs) also referred to as “patent trolls.” However, and as underscored for example by the number of patent lawsuits filed by Texas-based PAE PanTaurus, LLC this past year, PAEs continue to present a significant patent litigation presence… Continue Reading

The ITC and FTC Take Actions to Address the Toll of NPE Litigation

Posted in ITC, Patent
We have previously posted on proposed federal and state legislation aimed at addressing the toll of “patent troll” litigation by non-practicing entities (“NPEs”) on the U.S. economy. Additionally, a recent Federal Circuit ruling relaxing the standard for finding “an exceptional case” to justify attorneys’ fees in patent infringement actions also appears to have been motivated by need to address NPE litigation. Now the United States trade commissions want to enter the fray. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), through its recent decision In the matter of Certain Optical Disc Drives, Components Thereof, and Products Containing the Same, limited the ability of licensing entities, whose patent-related activities are purely revenue driven, to bring actions under 19 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(3). Additionally, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently been given approval to conduct a study on NPEs to examine how they operate and to what extent they affect competition and innovation… Continue Reading

How to Meet the Inequitable Conduct Standard after Therasense

Posted in Patent
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently clarified the standard necessary for holding a patent unenforceable for inequitable conduct relating to intentionally withheld references and misrepresentations of material information. Apotex Inc. v. UCB, Inc., No. 2013-1674 (Aug. 15, 2014). Given the high standard set forth in the Federal Circuit’s prior opinion in Therasense, this decision finding inequitable conduct provides a roadmap for inventors, prosecutors, and litigants alike with regard to potential claims of inequitable conduct… Continue Reading

The Section 1447(d) Bar – State of Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC

Posted in Patent
In a case of procedural jockeying, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in State of Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, held that a “district court’s remand order dominate[d] any proceedings on th[e] appeal” and because a remand under 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) “is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise[,]” the Federal Circuit lacked appellate jurisdiction… Continue Reading

AIA Post Issuance Proceedings – Patent Owner Challenges Standing of United States Entities to Bring PGR Review of CBM Patent

Posted in Patent
The United States Court of Federal Claims recently deferred decision on whether to stay a litigation brought in 2011 by a patent owner against the United States. In the case, captioned Return Mail, Inc. v. United States, patent owner Return Mail seeks compensation under 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a) for what it alleges to be use and manufacture by or for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) of its patent related to methods and systems for providing address change services. The government’s stay motion in the Return Mail litigation was filed on the same day that it filed a petition with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for post-grant review (PGR) of the patent-in-suit, which it claims is a covered business method (CBM) patent under the America Invents Act. The government’s petition and related stay motion come more than three years into the litigation. … Continue Reading

PTAB Decides First Pharma IPR

Posted in Patent
Last week, in what appeared to be one of the first pharmaceutical based cases brought to a decision under the IPR regime, the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office held that the majority of claims in a series of vitamin supplement patents were invalid. This decision turns the welcoming lights on for the generic drug industry to utilize the inter partes review (IPR) procedures under the America Invents Act to challenge proprietary pharmaceutical patents. In this matter, the challenger Gnosis, a defendant in an infringement action brought by Merck & Cie, South Alabama Medical Science Foundation and Parmlab, which was stayed pending the IPR decision, successfully defended against the four patents in issue: United States Patent Nos. 5,997,915, 6,011,040, 6,673,381 and 7,172,778 which are directed to compositions and methods of use involving chiral reduced natural folate compounds used as food supplements to prevent or treat folate deficiency diseases… Continue Reading

USPTO Implements Test for Patent Eligible Subject Matter Under §101 Following the Supreme Court’s Alice Decision

Posted in Patent
We recently discussed the Supreme Court’s test for patentable subject matter under section 101 in Alice Corp. Pty v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. ___ (2014). In its opinion, the Court applied the two-step process set forth in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. __ (2102); (i) whether the claims are directed to patent-ineligible matter (e.g., abstract idea) and (ii) whether the claims contain an inventive concept (e.g., “additional features to ensure that the claim is more than a drafting effort designed to monopolize the abstract idea.”)… Continue Reading

Carving Out State Protections in Patent Enforcement

Posted in Patent
We have previously posted on proposed federal and state legislation aimed at addressing the toll of patent troll litigation on the U.S. economy. To date, twenty-five states have passed or are considering legislation aimed at curbing bad-faith patent assertion through state law, either based in consumer protection or through laws directed at bad business practices. From Vermont, one of the first states to adopt such legislation, MPHJ Technology Investments LLC (“MPHJ”), an alleged patent troll, seeks the opinion of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on the issue of federal patent law preemption… Continue Reading

AIA Post-Issuance Proceedings – Patent Owner’s Preliminary Response Persuades PTAB Denial of IPR

Posted in Patent
In accordance with the statutory provisions of the America Invents Act, a patent owner may at his/her option file a preliminary response to a third-party petition requesting inter partes review (IPR) of a patent. Through the first quarter of 2014, about 55 percent of patent owners opted to file preliminary responses to IPR petitions, while 45 percent of patent owners opted instead either to expressly waive or file no preliminary response… Continue Reading

Alice is Not in Wonderland: Generic Computers and Abstract Ideas Don’t Mix

Posted in Patent
District courts have been abuzz with accused infringers asserting invalidity based on ineligible subject matter under section 101. This is a result of evolving jurisprudence developed by the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court over the last few years. Today, that continued with the Supreme Court unanimously holding in Alice Corp. Pty v. CLS Bank Int’l, 573 U.S. ___ (2014) that, for claims drawn to an abstract idea, “merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.”… Continue Reading
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