IP Law Alert

IP Law Alert

Practical Perspectives on Intellectual Property Legal Developments

Tag Archives: Patent Prosecution

USPTO Introduces an Expedited Patent Appeal Pilot

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On June 15, 2015, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) introduced a new pilot program, beginning on June 19, 2015, that will allow appellants with multiple ex parte appeals pending before the PTAB to obtain an expedited review of one appeal in return for withdrawing another appeal. The stated goals of this program are to allow appellants with multiple ex parte appeals pending to have greater control over the priority with which their appeals are decided and reduce the backlog of appeals before the PTAB.… Continue Reading

Offering Compassionate Care While Alleviating Ethical Concerns: How Some Pharmaceutical Companies Are Meeting Both Demands

Posted in Pharmaceuticals
In recent years, families and friends of terminally ill patients have launched highly visible social media campaigns to secure access to potentially life-saving medicine, before those experimental drugs are approved. Pharmaceutical companies that are developing these investigational medicines often face difficult ethical and business relations dilemmas: there are limited exceptions for non-approved drug dissemination and the costs and consequences attendant on the exceptions can make either choice unpalatable. Companies and caregivers alike have struggled with how to fairly provide access to experimental drugs without negatively impacting long term drug development or approval.… Continue Reading

White House Backs Recently Introduced Patent Reform Bill Known as PATENT Act

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On April 29, 2015, Senators Grassley, Leahy, Corny, Schumer, Lee, Hatch, and Klobuchar introduced another patent reform bill known as the Protecting Talent and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 (“PATENT Act”). This bill includes many provisions similar to the previously introduced Innovation Act of 2015, but takes a slightly different approach on some key issues.… Continue Reading

Another Patent Reform Bill Targets Frivolous Demand Letters

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved yet another patent reform bill to curtail misleading and frivolous demand letters sent by patent assertion entities (also known as “patent trolls”). The legislation, approved by a vote of 30 to 20, is known as the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, or TROL Act (H.R. 2045). This bill aims to protect businesses from frivolous demands while preserving the ability of patent holders to legitimately protect their intellectual property. The overall goal is to curtail “certain bad faith communications in connection with the assertion of a United States patent [that] are unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and for other purposes.”… Continue Reading

Congress Reintroduces Innovation Act in Hopes to Curb Frivolous Patent Litigation

Posted in Patent, USPTO
Recently, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte reintroduced a patent reform bill, known as the Innovation Act of 2015 (H.R. 9) (“The Act”). This reintroduced bipartisan bill is substantially similar to its predecessor, Innovation Act of 2013. The Innovation Act of 2013 had received overwhelming support by the House of Representatives, but was ultimately tabled, along with other patent reform bills, due to bipartisan disputes.… Continue Reading

The Patient Survives: Third Party Challenge to PTO Revival of Patent Application Barred under the Administrative Procedures Act

Posted in Patent
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a third party may not challenge a decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) to revive an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and enabling statutes (“PCT”) through the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”). See Excela Pharma Sciences, LLC v. Lee, No. 13-1206 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 26, 2015). In combination with the Federal Circuit’s prior holding in Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd. v. International Game Technology, 543 F.3d 657 (Fed. Cir. 2008), this holding puts such decisions beyond the reach of third parties, whether affirmatively attacked under the APA or defensively raised in a later infringement action.… Continue Reading

Potential Delay Enough to Reduce PTA

Posted in Patent, USPTO
The Federal Circuit recently addressed the issue of whether Patent Term Adjustment (“PTA”) can be reduced under 35 U.S.C. § 154(b)(1)(C) by conduct that does not actually cause delay in the conclusion of prosecution. Section 154(b)(1)(C) provides that PTA “shall be reduced by a period equal to the period of time during which the applicant failed to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution of the application.” The USPTO has interpreted the statute to mean that conduct that did delay or that could potentially delay the examination of a patent applications should be sanctioned. In Gilead Sciences Inc. v. Lee, Gilead Sciences, Inc. (“Gilead”) contested the USPTO’s interpretation and argued that the statue required actual delay in the conclusion of prosecution. The Federal Circuit held that Congress’s intent in enacting the statute was “to sanction not only applicant conduct or behavior that result in actual delay, but also those having the potential to result in delay irrespective of whether such delay actually occurred.”… Continue Reading

USPTO Releases Examples of Patent Eligible Claims Relating to Abstract Ideas

Posted in Patent, USPTO
We previously reported on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s issuance of new interim examination guidance in December for evaluating subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. At the time, the USPTO included examples of allowable claims for nature-based products in light of previous Supreme Court rulings in Mayo and Myriad. On Tuesday, January 27, the USPTO followed up by releasing claim examples relating to abstract ideas in response to the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Alice.… Continue Reading

USPTO Issues New Guidance on § 101 Subject Matter Eligibility

Posted in Patent, USPTO
On December 16, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued new interim examination guidance for evaluating subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. This guidance, entitled the “2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility” (“Interim Guidance”), was developed in view of the recent Supreme Court decisions in Alice, Myriad, and Mayo. The Interim Guidance supplements the June 25, 2014 Preliminary Examination Instructions that we previously discussed, and supercedes the March 4, 2014 Guidance following Myriad and Mayo.… 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

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

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

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

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

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

USPTO Adopts Final Rules of Practice for Recalculation of PTA

Posted in Patent
On May 15, 2014, The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register notice regarding the final changes to the rules of practice that relate to the patent term adjustment (PTA) provisions of section 1(h) of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) Technical Corrections Act. The previously published information was in guideline form only and did not encompass issues addressed by the presently provided rules.… 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

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

IP Practitioners — Get Ready for the Global Patent Prosecution Highway!

Posted in USPTO
Recently, in an effort to expedite patent prosecution internationally, thirteen countries, including the United States, have established a Global Patent Prosecution Highway ("GPPH"): Australia (IP), Canada (CIPO), Denmark (DKPTO), Finland (NBPR), Japan (JPO), Korea (KIPO), Nordic Patent Institute (NPI), Norwegian Patent Office (NIPO), Portugal (INPI), Russia (ROSPATENT), Spain (SPTO), United Kingdom (IPO), and USA (USPTO). Unfortunately, the European Patent Office has not signed on to the GPPH yet.… Continue Reading

The Texas Two Step, A Tale of Two Texas District Courts’ Differing Views Concerning Stay Requests Pending Inter Partes Review

Posted in Patent
The District Courts for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas appear to have taken different positions with regard to estoppel in an inter partes review ("IPR") context, in e-Watch v. FLIR Systems, Case No. 4-13-00638 (S.D. Texas) and e-Watch v. ACTi Corp., Case No. 5-12-cv-00695, (W.D. Texas), respectively.… Continue Reading

Resuscitating Therasense? CD Cal Court Finds Inequitable Conduct by Patentee

Posted in Patent
IP practitioners have witnessed the dearth of inequitable conduct findings in the wake of Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 649 F.3d 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2011). There, the Federal Circuit reiterated en banc that to establish unenforceability for inequitable conduct before the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"), a party must prove by clear and convincing evidence that (1) information material to patentability was withheld from the PTO, or material misinformation was provided to the PTO, and that such act was done (2) with the intent to deceive or mislead. A few months ago, we reported on a case that continued to signal the death knell of this formerly ubiquitous defense, and thus begging the present question: is inequitable conduct even alive anymore? Of course it is.… Continue Reading
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