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Rejection of Claims Containing Functional Language and a Negative Limitation Affirmed by Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in In re Chudik, Appeal 2016-2673 (Fed. Cir. August 25, 2017) (non-prec.), offers patent practitioners a cautionary tale and good teaching points about the propriety of negative limitations and functional claim language.  No two situations are the same, of course, but the case offers a real-world example of how claims … Continue Reading

How to Overcome a Section 112 ¶ 6 Means-Plus-Function Presumption

PTABWatch Takeaway: Claims that recite the term “means” may trigger the means-plus-function presumption under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6 (Section 112(f) of the AIA), but the presumption can be overcome where: (1) the means term itself recites structure; (2) that structure is “common parlance” to those of ordinary skill in the art; and … Continue Reading

Adding Two More to the List of Serious Questions about AIA Trials

In a routine AIA trial, the PTAB determined that challenged claims in a patent directed to HVAC systems were unpatentable as being obvious and anticipated by prior art. This trial was unusual, however, because the Board premised its anticipation conclusion on a joined IPR petition that successfully rectified evidentiary deficiencies in the same petitioner’s earlier … Continue Reading

Enactment of the STRONGER Patents Act Would Severely Limit PTAB Proceedings

The STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Patents Act of 2017 was recently introduced in the Senate.  The Act is an updated version of the STRONG Patents Act of 2015 that stalled in Congress.  Like its predecessor, the STRONGER Patents Act is designed to significantly modify the AIA trial … Continue Reading

Reluctant to Reverse, the Federal Circuit Offers the PTAB a Mulligan

The Federal Circuit recently vacated the PTAB’s decisions in three interferences. Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Jr. Univ. v. Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, Appeal 2015-2011 (Fed. Cir. June 27, 2017). These interferences concern which parties’ inventors first conceived methods for diagnosing fetal aneuploidies using cell-free fetal DNA from maternal blood samples. The PTAB … Continue Reading

PTAB’s Conclusion of Obviousness Overturned as Lacking Sufficient Justification

In In re Schweickert, No. 2016-1266 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Federal Circuit in a non-precedential opinion vacated the PTAB’s decision canceling patent claims in an ex parte reexamination as being obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit determined that the PTAB’s conclusion of obviousness was based on no more than a broadly-stated assertion that the … Continue Reading

Claim Construction Sends Duke’s Patent Back to PTAB for Reconsideration, In Part

In a recent appeal from a PTAB final written decision, the Federal Circuit reversed the Board’s determination that all claims of a Duke patent were unpatentable (Duke Univ. v. BioMarin Pharm. Inc., Appeal No. 2016-1106 (Fed. Cir., April 25, 2017). The court concluded that certain of the Board’s claim constructions were incorrect, and that others, while appropriate, … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Signals that PTAB Correctly Construed Most Signal Terms but Misconstrued one Other

In Wasica Finance GmbH v. Continental Automotive Sys., Inc., (Fed. Cir. Apr. 4, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part two PTAB final written decisions cancelling some but not all challenged claims  of U.S. Patent No. 5,602,524 (“the ‘524 patent”). The PTAB and court decisions are interesting because together they highlight the consequence of not … Continue Reading

Failing to Articulate Desired Claim Construction Before PTAB May Lead to Waiver

In the latest development in the ongoing patent battle between Google and SimpleAir Inc., a Federal Circuit panel agreed with SimpleAir that Google waived a claim construction it asserted on appeal because Google had failed to argue that construction before the PTAB. SimpleAir originally asserted a series of patents against Google, including U.S. Patent No. … Continue Reading

Teaching Away for Dummies

In Meiresonne v. Google, Inc., No. 2016-1755 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 7, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision in IPR2014-01188 that the challenged claims in U.S. Patent No. 8,156,096 (the “’096 patent”) are unpatentable as obvious over the 1997 book “World Wide Web Searching for Dummies, 2nd Edition” by Brad Hill (“Hill”) and … Continue Reading

Joinder Does Not Prevent Application of IPR Estoppel Provision

A little more than a month after the Delaware district court narrowly interpreted the IPR estoppel provision to suggest that it may not be necessary to include all known grounds so as to avoid estoppel in district court litigation, the same court issued a decision suggesting that the IPR estoppel provision may not be so … Continue Reading

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

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. … Continue Reading

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

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 … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Cancellation of Claims Based on Analogous Art

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 … 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 … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Dismisses Appeal where IPR Petitioner Lacked Standing to Appeal

In Phigenix, Inc. v. ImmunoGen, Inc., No. 2016-1544 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 9, 2017), the Federal Circuit dismissed, for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution, a petitioner-appellant’s (Phigenix) appeal of a PTAB final written decision that refused to cancel claims challenged in an IPR. The court’s decision demonstrates that statutory right of appeal … Continue Reading

Intuitive to Use Versus Use of an Element for its Intended Purpose – Is There a Difference?

Is there a difference between saying that it would be intuitive to use the features of one prior art reference in combination with another, versus saying that such a combination merely uses a prior art element for its established function? According to two recent decisions, the Federal Circuit apparently thinks so. In In re: Van … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Vacates Board’s Decision Cancelling Method Claims for Purchasing Goods and Services Based on Unreasonable Claim Interpretation

The Federal Circuit recently vacated PTAB final written decisions that rested on a claim construction contradicted by the patent’s prosecution history. Specifically, in D’Agostino v. Mastercard Int’l Inc., No. 2016-1592, 2016-1593 (Fed. Cir. December 22, 2016), the court vacated the Board’s IPR decisions of unpatentability of method claims in two patents directed to processes for … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit to take AIA Time Bar issue En Banc

As we had predicted in a previous post, the Federal Circuit, on January 4, 2017, granted patent owner Wi-Fi One LLC’s petitions for rehearing en banc regarding the interpretation of, and interplay between, 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) (the No Appeal provision) and § 315(b) (the Time Bar provision).  A few months ago, we wrote about … Continue Reading

PTAB Should Have Canceled All Challenged Claims in CBM Reviews

In Apple, Inc. v. Ameranth, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016), the Federal Circuit reviewed the final written decisions in CBM reviews of three related patents owned by Ameranth, Inc., directed to computerized systems for generating and displaying menus for use in the restaurant industry.  The court determined that the PTAB properly construed all disputed claim terms, … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit to PTAB (Again) – Explain Yourself!!

The Federal Circuit has once again vacated and remanded a PTAB final written decision on the basis that the PTAB did not adequately explain its reasons for finding a claimed invention obvious.  In In re Nuvasive, Appeal No. 15-1670 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 7, 2016), the Federal Circuit reviewed the PTAB’s final written decision in IPR2013-00506 … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Dismisses Appeal Based on AIA Time Bar, But Two Judges Call for En Banc Review

An updated discussion of this issue is available here: Federal Circuit to Take AIA Time Bar Issue En Banc In Click-to-Call Techs. v. Oracle Corp., Appeal 15-1242 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 17, 2016) (non-prec.), on remand from the Supreme Court for further consideration in view of Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016) … Continue Reading

The Federal Circuit’s Disagreement About What Constitutes “Substantial Evidence”

As a standard of appellate review, “substantial evidence” is not peculiar to the Federal Circuit’s review of patent decisions from district courts and the Patent Office. All circuit courts are familiar with that review standard. They apply it routinely in deciding appeals. The standard originated with appeals of jury verdicts, in recognition of the role … Continue Reading
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