IP Law Alert

IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Tag Archives: Patent Litigation

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

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

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

NJ District Courts Bar Defendants’ Indefiniteness Argument During Claim Construction Because Not Alleged in Invalidity Contentions

Posted in Patent
We previously reported that New Jersey District Court Judges will limit a patent infringement defendant’s discovery to the claims and defenses identified in its Invalidity Contentions served under Local Patent Rule 3.3. For the same reasons, a defendant may be barred from taking certain positions during claim construction. In an opinion issued last week, Judge Jose L. Linares held in Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. & FCB I LLC v. Watson Laboratories, Inc., No. 12-3084 (JLL) that a defendant that does “not raise an indefiniteness defense in its invalidity contentions . . . cannot seek a determination that the patents-at-issue are invalid for indefiniteness through claim construction.”… Continue Reading

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Supreme Court Declines to Expand the Scope of Indirect Infringement Liability in View of Federal Circuit’s Muniauction Ruling

Posted in Patent
The United Supreme Court has been a “hot bench” for patent cases. On the same day, it issued two unanimous decisions reversing the Federal Circuit relating to claim definiteness and inducement infringement, the former of which we previously discussed. In the latter, Limelight Networks v. Akamai Tech. No. 12-786, 572 U.S. ___ (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a party cannot be liable for inducing infringement under 35 U.S.C. §271(b) unless there is direct infringement in 35 U.S.C. §271(a). The Court in dicta also suggested that the Federal Circuit may wish to reconsider its prior decision, Muniauction, Inc. v. Thomson Corp., 532 F.3d 1318 (2008), which held that a party--who does not perform all the method steps--cannot be liable for direct infringement in §271(a) unless it controls or directs another party to complete the other steps… Continue Reading

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc. – Definiteness Now Requires Reasonable Certainty

Posted in Patent
On June 2, the Supreme Court in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., No. 13-369, __ U.S. __ (June 2, 2014) (Ginsburg, J.) ruled that the prior tests for indefiniteness, insoluble ambiguity and amenable to construction, are no longer appropriate. The new test for definiteness requires reasonable certainty… Continue Reading

Patent 101 Continued

Posted in Patent
Section 101 challenges continue to be front and center at the district court level, including three recent decisions in the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California and Eastern District of Virginia which reflect holdings falling on opposite sides of 101 patentability. In France Telecom S.A. v. Marvell Semiconductor Inc., the court denied defendant’s summary judgment motion because it failed to meet the “high level of proof” needed to succeed on an eligibility challenge under section 101. There, the patent involved correcting errors in telecommunication and other signals (caused by noise or interference which distorts the data) known as turbo coding. After summarizing relevant jurisprudence, the court identified the abstract ideas relevant to the subject matter of the patent claims at issue as “error-correction coding” or “decoding digital data elements.” The court then analyzed whether the claims contained “additional substantive limitations that narrow, confine, or otherwise tie [them] down.” Specifically, the court found that they provide “unique and detailed [error-detection coding or decoding] methods . . . or inventive concepts that exceed the prior art, namely, coding in parallel and a novel method of iterative coding.” Thus, the claimed inventions “provide the necessary substantive claim limitations beyond the mere recitation” of abstract ideas. The court also gave the claims a passing grade in the machine-or-transformation test: “[c]laim 1 takes digital data elements and turns them into a distinct series of coded data elements, which Claim 10 in turn decodes.” The court further found relevant (similar to the court in TQP Development we previously discussed) that the purpose of the patent was “to disclose a method for more accurate and efficient data transmission.”… Continue Reading

It Ain’t that Obvious to Try

Posted in Patent, Pharmaceuticals
In Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH v. Glenmark Pharms Inc., the Federal Circuit followed previous precedent in holding that the combination of compounds is not “obvious to try” if unexpected properties are supported by evidence. The patent-at-issue was directed to an antihypertension drug, Tarka®, which is the combination of an angiotension-converting enzyme inhibitor (such as trandolapril or quinapril, both double-ring compounds) and a calcium channel blocker. The jury found that the patent had not been proven invalid and defendant, on appeal, argued that “if a combination of classes of components is already known, all selections within such classes are obvious to try . . . .” The Federal Circuit found that there was substantial evidence supporting the jury’s verdict that obviousness had not been proved by clear and convincing evidence because of the unpredicted “longer-lasting effectiveness” achieved with the drug… Continue Reading

In the Limelight: Induced Infringement Issues Retakes Center Stage

Posted in Patent
On April 30, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Limelight Networks, Inc., v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 12-786. We previously reported on the Federal Circuit’s twin en banc opinions in Akamai Techs., Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., and McKesson Techs. Inc. v. Epic Sys. Corp., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012), finding inducement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) even when a single actor was not liable for direct infringement. Both Limelight and Epic petitioned the Supreme Court for review, but the Epic case subsequently settled… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reestablishes Standard for Attorneys’ Fees Under §285

Posted in Patent
On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the Supreme Court in Octane Fitness v. ICON Health and Fitness issued a ruling that reestablishes the previous standard for awarding attorneys' fees in the event of an exceptional case under 35 U.S.C. §285. In its opinion, the Court held that a case should be considered “exceptional” when it “is simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position … or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.” The Court instructed that this determination should be made on a “case-by-case” basis “considering the totality of the circumstances.”… Continue Reading

NJ District Courts Hold Defendants’ Feet to the Fire on Patent Contentions

Posted in Patent
We previously reported that plaintiffs need to diligently seek to amend their infringement contentions to include accused instrumentalities identified during discovery or risk preclusion. That premise applies equally to defendants. This week in Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. v. POSCO et al., No. 2:12-cv-02429-SRC-CLW, Judge Stanly R. Chesler affirmed a Special Master’s Order denying discovery on Plaintiff’s prior art manufacturing process because Defendant “had failed to disclose an Invalidity Contention based on [Nippon’s manufacturing process].”… Continue Reading

Start the Clock: NJ Court Holds Declaratory Judgment Available to Later ANDA Filers

Posted in Patent
Yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that patents listed in the Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (the “Orange Book”), but not asserted under the Hatch-Waxman framework, are subject to declaratory judgment actions by later ANDA filers seeking to trigger the first ANDA filer’s exclusivity period… Continue Reading

Patent 101

Posted in Patent
On the heels of CLS Bank Int’l v. Alice Corp. Pty presently before the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit and district courts in 2014 have continued to issue decisions analyzing computer-implemented inventions under 35 U.S.C. § 101. These courts have generally sought to answer similar questions: whether the claim is an abstract idea; whether this abstract idea preempts all other uses or can be performed in the human mind (or on a pen and paper); and whether the claim contains other limitations to narrow it sufficiently, such as being tied to a specific machine or transforming the data into a different thing… Continue Reading

New Patent Case Scheduling Order Seeks to Achieve Efficiencies in Delaware

Posted in Patent
This week, United States District Judge Sue L. Robinson issued a new Patent Case Scheduling Order dictating how patent cases will proceed in Her Honor’s Court. The District of Delaware is second only to the Eastern District of Texas in the number of patent cases filed; both of which have nearly three times the number of patent cases as the third busiest district, the Central District of California. In order to help streamline the hundreds of patent cases assigned to Her Honor, Judge Robinson issued a new Patent Case Scheduling Order, requiring the identification of key issues earlier in the case, which should improve overall case efficiencies… Continue Reading

PTAB Finds DNA Sequencing Patent Claims to be Invalid

Posted in Biotech, Patent
As we have previously reported, Inter Partes Review (IPR) was introduced on September 11, 2012, under provisions of the America Invents Act (AIA) as one of new several tools for challenging the validity of granted patents in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). With an anticipated pendency of 18 to 24 months to final written decision upon filing of an IPR request, the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is presently proceeding to issue its first IPR decisions. Although a majority of IPR requests filed to date have been directed to patents in the electrical and computer arts, decisions are also being rendered for patents in other technology domains including the biological arts… Continue Reading

A Quest to Slay the Trolls: Legislative Attempts to Send a Cease and Desist Message to Patent Trolls

Posted in Patent
Concerns about shake-down patent assertion have prompted response at federal and state levels, from all branches of government. Proposed legislative solutions have included bills that would penalize bad faith claims, impose fines on patent assertion entities (“PAEs”) that send letters with vague allegations of infringement, or make the awarding of attorney’s fees standard in PAE patent litigations. While no legislative proposal answers all the unique challenges patent trolls represent, these lawmaking efforts have highlighted the issue and are prompting other stakeholders to meaningfully assess the holes in the current patent system… Continue Reading

Potential For Harm: Indemnity Agreements and Willfulness Determinations

Posted in Licensing, Patent
Patent indemnification agreements, common in asset purchases, mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing, and patent licensing agreements, reduce the possibility of liability should a third party later assert its patent against the asset purchaser or licensee. However, entering into such agreements to mitigate risk can actually increase exposure. During the damages stage of patent infringement lawsuits plaintiffs often seek, with varying success, to bring in evidence of the existence of a defendant’s indemnification agreement to show that defendant knew of the patent and committed willful infringement. Thus, the very vehicle used to shift the risk of monetary liability can sometimes itself be used as a mechanism to enhance damage awards… Continue Reading

Track B – EDTX Continues to Spearhead Efficient Patent Litigation Procedures

Posted in Patent
The Eastern District of Texas continues to lead the way with practical and efficient procedures for patent litigations. On February 25, Chief Judge Leonard Davis implemented General Order 14-3 “Regarding Track B Initial Patent Case Management Order.” This Order provides “additional efficiencies and cost savings” for appropriate patent cases, and is designed to complement the existing and now familiar case management procedures and local rules, or so-called “Track A,” case management schemes… Continue Reading

Watch Out: Lack of Diligence When Amending Contentions Can Lead to Preclusion

Posted in Patent
A party needs to be cognizant of the infringing instrumentalities it identifies in its infringement contentions and any subsequent amendments. In LMT Mercer Group, Inc. v. Maine Ornamental, LLC et al, No. 10-4615, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5719 (D.N.J. Jan. 24, 2014), Judge Wolfson denied Plaintiff LMT Mercer Group’s (“LMT”) motion to amend its infringement contentions to add a product that it removed from its previous filings and then delayed in correcting that exclusion… Continue Reading

Court Holds Only Reverse Payment of Money Requires Actavis Antitrust Scrutiny

Posted in Intellectual Property, Litigation
Recent years have seen a significant number of antitrust challenges to so-called “reverse payment” pharmaceutical patent litigation settlements between brand name manufacturers and their generic competitors. The Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Actavis resolved a split among the courts of appeal, and held that settlements in which “large and unjustified” reverse payments are made are subject to antitrust scrutiny in the form of a traditional “rule of reason” analysis. In the wake of Actavis, the lower courts have begun to grapple with the question of what, if any, application Actavis has to the disposition of antitrust challenges to patent settlements that do not include a large payment of cash by the brand producer to the generic, but may include other forms of non-monetary consideration… Continue Reading

The United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board Determines That a Civil Action Dismissed Without Prejudice Does Not Bar a Petition for Inter Partes Review Under 35 U.S.C. § 315 (a)(1)

Posted in Patent
We previously reported on February 6, 2014, that the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") determined that a "complaint alleging infringement of the patent" does not include arbitration proceedings for purposes of triggering the time bar under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b)… Continue Reading

Complaint Means Complaint For Purposes of Triggering the Time Bar Under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b)

Posted in Patent
The United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") recently interpreted what constitutes a "trigger" under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b). The PTAB concluded that under the statute, a "complaint alleging infringement of the patent" does not include arbitration proceedings… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Fires Shot Across Congress’s Bow: Redefines Standard for Finding an Exceptional Case and Awarding Attorneys’ Fees

Posted in Patent
In Kilopass Tech., Inc. v. Sidense, Corp., No. 13-1193, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25671 (Fed. Circ., Dec. 26, 2013), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently relaxed the standard for finding "an exceptional case" to justify attorneys' fees in patent infringement actions. For IP practitioners, this case highlights the current state of the law regarding the necessary showing of bad faith to justify an award of attorneys' fees in a patent infringement suit… Continue Reading
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