Written Description of a Genus Can Be Satisfied by Disclosure of Single Species in Predictable Arts

In Hologic, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew Inc., No. 2017-1389 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 14, 2018), the Federal Circuit concluded that disclosure of a species provides written descriptive support for a claimed genus where the invention was in a predicable field of art, the species was a well-known member of the genus, and other members of the genus were also well known. As a result, the court affirmed the PTAB’s decision that Smith & Nephew’s PCT application (the “Emanuel PCT”) had sufficient written description to qualify as a priority document, and therefore was not prior art. In reaching this decision, the court relied heavily on the fact that the field of the invention was a predictable art. Continue Reading

PTAB Failed to Properly Apply Test for Printed Publication

The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision that a video demonstration and slides distributed by Petitioner Medtronic at three industry meetings and conferences were not publicly accessible and, thus, were not “printed publications.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Barry, Case no. 17-1169, 2018 WL 2769092 (Fed. Cir. June 11, 2018). Recent Board decisions have set a high bar for proving that materials were publicly accessible. We have previously discussed examples here, here, and here. In Medtronic, the Federal Circuit provides factors that the Board should consider in these determinations. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Requests Briefing from Patent Office Regarding § 315(b) Time-Bar Determinations

On June 7, 2018, the Federal Circuit in Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp. requested that intervenor, Patent Office director Andrei Iancu, and appellee Broadcom, file a response to Wi-Fi One’s second petition for rehearing.  Wi-Fi One, Case No. 2015-1944, Docket No. 212 (June 7, 2018).  At issue was whether the court should grant Wi-Fi One’s second petition for panel or en banc rehearing regarding 35 U.S.C. § 315 (b) time-bar challenges.  See Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., Case No. 2015-1944, Doc. No. 210 (May 21, 2018). Continue Reading

No SAS-based Relief on Appeal, Unless Requested

Left in the wake of the Supreme Court’s SAS decision (discussed here) are a number of appeals pending before the Federal Circuit concerning Patent Trial and Appeal Board final written decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings administered on a subset of claims and grounds presented in the IPR petition. While litigants before the Board scramble to reassess strategies, the Board itself has been offering guidance, including its publication on June 5 of an updated FAQ on how it will administer pending IPRs and decide petitions pending when the Court decided SAS. As for pending appeals, the Federal Circuit explained that it has jurisdiction to address appeals of PTAB final written decisions that have “SAS transition issues.” PGS Geophysical AS v. Iancu, Appeals 2016-2470, -2472, -2474, Slip Op. at 9–11 (Fed. Cir. June 7, 2018). And the court further explained that future appellants will need to request relief regarding those issues, as the court will not act sua sponte. Id. at 11–13.

Continue Reading

Inventor’s Uncorroborated Testimony Not Sufficient to Swear Behind Reference

Attempting to “swear behind” an alleged prior art reference has been common practice in IPRs, going back to the first IPR, Garmin Int’l, Inc. v. Cuozzo Speed Tech. LLC, IPR2012-00001 (PTAB 2013), aff’d sub nom. In re Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC, 793 F.3d 1268 (Fed. Cir. 2015), aff’d sub nom., Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016). In that case, Cuozzo was unsuccessful in swearing behind (for failure to exercise reasonable diligence toward reduction to practice), and as we have discussed, patent owners are often unsuccessful in these efforts, for failure to satisfy the legal requirements for proving an earlier invention date. Continue Reading

IPR and Estoppel after SAS Institute

The Supreme Court held on April 24, 2018 that if the Patent Office institutes and inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, it must issue a final written decision with respect to the patentability of every patent claim challenged by the petitioner. SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, (discussed in greater detail here). Within days, the Patent Office issued Guidance on the impact of SAS on AIA Trial Proceedings explaining the procedures it intends to implement in view of the Court’s decision. The resulting changes are likely to be extensive, both in IPR practice and in the scope of estoppel that litigations in parallel proceedings will need to consider. Continue Reading

Patent Office Proposes to Jettison BRI in AIA Trials

The Patent Office today issued a press release of its notice of proposed rulemaking that would replace the broadest reasonable interpretation standard the Patent Trial and Appeal Board applies to construe unexpired patent claims and proposed substitute (amended) claims in AIA trial proceedings with the Phillips standard applied in patent cases before federal district courts and the International Trade Commission (ITC). The Office also proposes to amend the rules “to add that the Office will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the involved claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an [AIA trial] proceeding.” Any proposed changes adopted in a final rule would be applied retroactively to pending AIA trials. Continue Reading

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Alone Cannot Protect Patents from IPR

In late March, the Federal Circuit issued an order staying the PTAB proceedings concerning numerous related IPRs of patents issued to Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”), but assigned to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (“the Tribe”). These IPRs were headed toward a final hearing on the merits previously scheduled for April 3rd. In those IPRs, the PTAB denied the Tribe’s motions to terminate the proceedings based upon the Tribe’s sovereign immunity. Mylan Pharma Inc. v. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Case IPR2016-01127, Paper 130 (February 23, 2018). This post explains the PTAB’s decision that the court will now review on appeal. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Remands PTAB Decision to Assess Dependent Claim Patentability

In MaxLinear Inc. v. CF Crespe LLC the Federal Circuit ruled that the PTAB did not address arguments concerning patentability of certain dependent claims of the patent at issue separate from the corresponding independent claims, and vacated and remanded the PTAB’s final written decision. Continue Reading

Motion to Amend Substituting Claims Granted in Full, Possibly Reflecting the Change Wrought By Aqua Products

The Board recently granted a motion to amend, to replace unpatentable claims with proposed substitute claims, a rare occurrence that may signal a change compelled by Aqua Products (summarized here). In Apple, Inc. v. Realtime Data, LLC, Case No. IPR2016-01737 (PTAB March 13, 2018), the Board determined that all challenged claims were unpatentable and then granted the patent owner’s contingent motion to amend with respect to all proposed substitute claims.  Based on a USPTO study on motions to amend (see Graph III here), only four motions to amend substituting claims were granted in full before September 30, 2017, mere days before the Federal Circuit issued its en banc decision in Aqua Products. Continue Reading

LexBlog