CBM Eligibility: Patent Must Have a Claim that Contains, However Phrased, a Financial Activity Element

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A patent that is merely incidental to a financial activity is not sufficient to render that patent eligible for CBM review.  Secure Access, LLC v. PNC Bank National Association et. al, Case No. 2016-1353 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 21, 2017).  In Secure Access, the Federal Circuit reversed and vacated the PTAB’s decision that U.S. Patent No. 7,631,191 (“the ’191 patent) is a CBM patent.  The Board had concluded that the method and apparatus claimed by the ’191 patent “perform operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or services and are incidental to a financial activity.”  (Op. at 18).  The Court concluded that the Board had improperly broadened the scope of the statute that defines a CBM patent, and that under proper scope, the ’191 patent is not a CBM patent. Continue Reading

Another VIMOVO® Patent Survives Challenge by Coalition for Affordable Drugs – Updating the CFAD Scorecard

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In the spirit of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” the Coalition for Affordable Drugs (CFAD) challenged a fourth Orange Book-listed patent relating to VIVOMO®, Horizon Pharma’s naproxen/ esomeprazole product.  While denying CFAD’s previous three petitions, the PTAB instituted inter partes review for U.S. Patent No. 8,945,621.  Despite CFAD’s success at the institute phase, the PTAB ultimately determined in its Final Written Decision that the Petitioner did not meet its burden in proving the unpatentability of the challenged claims. Continue Reading

PTAB Bar Association Conference Kicks Off with Keynote Address

logo-minThe PTAB Bar Association held its first conference in Washington DC March 1-3, 2017 with more than 400 attendees and a wait list of interested individuals. PTAB Chief Judge David Ruschke gave the keynote address.

Chief Judge Ruschke began by acknowledging why we are now at a point where there is an interest in having a PTAB Bar Association. Specifically, he noted that the PTAB has become a vital component of the patent system. We have seen that reflected in an incredible rise in appeals to the Federal Circuit from the PTAB and also that post-grant proceedings are now an important tool for every patent litigator. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Finds Portion of Board’s Obviousness Decision Supported by Substantial Evidence Despite Reduced Effectiveness of Combined Prior Art References

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In Slot Speaker Techs., Inc. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 2015-2038, 2015-2039 (Fed. Cir. February 17, 2017) (non-prec.), the Federal Circuit affirmed a portion of the PTAB’s decision in an IPR that concluded claims 1 and 2 of U.S. Patent No. 7,433,483 would have been obvious over a combination of two prior art references, but reversed the portion that concluded that the same combination does not render dependent claim 3 obvious. The decision is interesting because the Board and the Federal Circuit concluded that the reduced effectiveness of the combined references as compared to a single reference  alone would not deter a person of skill in the art from having a reasonable expectation of success in making the invention. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Cancellation of Claims Based on Analogous Art

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In Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s IPR decision that the challenged claims are invalid as obvious and dismissed the PTAB’s CBM review as moot.

Petitioner Google filed IPR and CBM petitions challenging claims 1-6 of U.S. Patent No. 7,024,205 (“the  ’205 patent”) owned by Unwired Planet, LLC.  The ’205 patent describes a system and method for providing wireless network subscribers with prioritized search results based on the location of the mobile device.  Claim 1 is the sole independent claim of the ’205 patent and recites “farther-over-nearer ordering” in the context of wireless location-based services.  We previously discussed a related CBM review between the same parties. Continue Reading

Claims Construed and Canceled as Patent Nears its Expiration Date

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In MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC v. Ricoh Americas Corp., Appeal 2016-1243 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 13, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling all eight claims in U.S. Patent No. 8,488,173. The patent issued from an application that was the tenth continuation-in-part of a 20-year-old application that relies for priority on seven provisional applications. The decision may be noteworthy if only because it highlights how seemingly-minor changes to these applications over time influenced the PTAB’s interpretation of certain claim terms—an interpretation that finally led the PTAB and court to conclude the claims were not patentable, just as the patent is about to expire. Continue Reading

Don’t Switch Horses Midstream

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In IPR2015-01157, 10X Genomics, Inc. challenged claims 1-31 of USPN 8,889,083 owned by the University of Chicago.  PTAB instituted trial on grounds of obviousness over two references.  Each party relied on the testimony of one or more experts, and the Patent Owner challenged expert testimony as exceeding the proper scope of Petitioner’s Reply.

The technology at issue involved a device and method for pressurized transport of fluidic plugs, or droplets, in microfluidic systems used in chemical and biochemical reactions.  The plug form of transport arises by injecting fluid containing reagents and a fluorinated surfactant into an immiscible fluorinated carrier fluid flowing in non-fluorinated microchannels of a microfluidic system.  Continue Reading

What Claim Construction Standard Applies If a Patent Expires During IPR Appeal?

In Personal Web Technologies, LLC v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 2016-1174 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 14, 2017), the Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB’s construction of disputed claim terms, but did not resolve a dispute over whether the broadest-reasonable-interpretation standard (BRI) or Phillips standard should apply when the challenged patent expires shortly after the PTAB issues its final written decision. Despite the correct claim construction, the court vacated the decision and remanded the case to the PTAB for reconsideration of the merits of its decision on obviousness.

Apple filed an IPR petition challenging claims of Personal Web’s patent directed to methods of locating data and controlling access to the data by giving a data file a substantially unique name that depends on the file’s content. In determining that the challenged claims were unpatentable for obviousness, the PTAB construed the claim term “content-based identifier” and related terms, applying the BRI standard. Continue Reading

PTAB Declines to Institute IPR on Immersion’s Indefinite Means Plus Function Claims

Petitioners are finding themselves caught in a Catch-22.  The PTAB declares claims too indefinite under Section 112 to construe, but then declines to address the patentabilty of the claims.  Section 112 deficiencies are not grounds to challenge a patent in an IPR, but the PTAB has authority to find such deficiencies.

Recently, the PTAB decided that only some claims of Immersion Corporation’s U.S. Patent No. 8,659,571 were challengeable by Apple Inc. in an IPR because the ‘571 patent failed to disclose sufficient structure corresponding to the “drive module limitation” recited in claim 12 to determine the scope and meaning of claim 12.  Apple Inc., v. Immersion Corporation, IPR2016-01372, Paper 7 (January 11, 2017). Continue Reading

Your Supplemental Evidence is Timely, but is it Relevant to a Claim at Issue? PTAB Will Decide.

Work in progressOnce a trial has been instituted at the PTAB, a party seeking consideration of supplemental evidence may file a motion in accordance with the following requirements: (1) the request for the authorization to file a motion to submit supplemental information must be made within one month of the date the trial was instituted; and (2) the supplemental information must be relevant to a claim for which the trial was instituted.  37 C.F.R. § 42.123(a). Mere satisfaction of these requirements for filing a motion may not, however, be sufficient to convince the PTAB to grant the motion. Instead, in deciding the motion, the PTAB will use its broad discretion to determine if the proffered supplemental evidence will assist the PTAB in “ensur[ing] efficient administration of the Office and the ability of the Office to complete [trial] proceedings in a timely manner.” See Redline Detection, LLC v. Star Envirotech, Inc., 811 F.3d 435, 445 (Fed. Cir. 2015), and our discussions here and here. Continue Reading

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