Trial Practice Guide Updates and Future Fee Increases

Today’s Federal Register includes a notice that the Patent Office updated its August 2012 Trial Practice Guide. The Federal Circuit recently noted that the Practice Guide “is a thoughtful and useful resource to which individual Board members and the public might turn for guidance,” but “is not binding on Board panel members.” Application in Internet Time v. RPX Corp., Nos. 2017-1698, -1699, -1701, Slip Op. at 14 n.2 (Fed. Cir. July 9, 2018). The update revises six sections of the guide, including sections focused on the presentation of expert testimony, the Board’s considerations in instituting review, and briefing concerning evidentiary issues and claim amendments. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Reverses, i.e. Overturns, Board’s Anticipation Decision Due to Overbroad Claim Construction

In TF3 Ltd. v. Tre Milano, LLC, Appeal 2016-2285 (Fed. Cir. July 13, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision canceling claims directed to a hair styling device as anticipated by prior art.  The court concluded that the Board improperly broadened two claim terms beyond the description in the patent specification.  Using the correct claim construction, the court concluded that prior art does not anticipate the claims.  In part, the court relied upon the abbreviation “i.e.” in determining the proper scope of the claim terms.  Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Tribal Sovereign Immunity Does Not Apply to IPR

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the PTAB’s decision that tribal immunity cannot be asserted in an IPR (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharma Inc., Case No. 2018-1638 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018). On appeal, Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”) argued that the Board improperly denied its motion to withdraw from IPR proceedings, and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (“the Tribe”) argued that the Board improperly denied its motion to terminate the IPR based on sovereign immunity. See Mylan Pharma Inc. v. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Case IPR2016-01127, Paper 130 (February 23, 2018) (discussed here). Continue Reading

PTAB Issues First Biotech/Pharma PGR Final Written Decision Based On Written Description Challenge

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has received 37 petitions for post grant review of patents issuing from examination conducted by the Patent Office’s Group Art Unit 1600. The Board has issued four final written decisions thus far.  We discussed the first final written decision here, where all claims were upheld in the face of a challenge based on obviousness grounds only.  Three of the four final written decisions issued so far on biotech/pharma subject matter dealt only with art-based challenges.  Grünenthal GmbH v. Antecip Bioventures II LLC, Case PGR2017-00008 (June 22, 2018) marks the first PGR final written decision addressing written description of a patent arising from Art Unit 1600; all claims were held to be unpatentable under Section 112. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Splits Hairs in Hair Removal Product Interference Proceeding

In General Hospital Corp. v. Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 2017-1012 (Fed. Cir. May 4, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s August 2016 decision that General Hospital Corporation’s (GHC) claims involved in an interference proceeding (that GHC requested) failed to meet the written description requirement. But the court also vacated the PTAB’s denial of GHC’s contingent motion to add a new claim as arbitrary and capricious because the PTAB did not follow its own Standing Order. The court therefore remanded the case to the PTAB to decide remaining issues in the interference. Continue Reading

Proposed Hatch-Waxman Amendment Would Effectively Eliminate IPR Challenges by Generics

On June 13, 2018, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee an amendment to restore the careful balance sought in the Hatch-Waxman Act, which provided incentives for both pharmaceutical innovation and drug affordability. The amendment, titled the Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act of 2018, would modify the IPR process for pharmaceuticals—under Hatch-Waxman and the BPCIA—and would amend sections of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that provide abbreviated pathways for generic drug and biosimilar product approval. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Admonishes PTAB for Taking Short-cuts

In Application in Internet Time v. RPX Corp., Nos. 2017-1698, -1699, -1701 (Fed. Cir. July 9, 2018), the Federal Circuit decided that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board “applied an unduly restrictive test for determining whether a person or entity is a ‘real party in interest’ within the meaning of [35 USC] § 315(b) and failed to consider the entirety of the evidentiary record in assessing whether § 315(b) barred” IPRs petitioned by RPX more than one year after one of its clients, Salesforce.com, Inc. (Salesforce), was served with a complaint for infringing the challenged patents. Based on these decisions, the court vacated the Board’s final written decisions that canceled the challenged claims. The court’s decision is important if only because it offers guidance in determining how a non-party may be a real party in interest or in privity with a petitioner. Continue Reading

CBM Case Remanded to Determine if Claims are CBM Eligible under Unwired Planet

In Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., 841 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (discussed here), the Federal Circuit determined that the PTAB was using an overly-broad standard for CBM eligibility. Specifically, the PTAB was administering CBM review of patents if they included claims directed to activities that are “incidental to” or “complementary to” a financial activity. Continue Reading

PTAB May Cite New References Not Cited in the IPR Petition

In affirming a PTAB IPR decision canceling claims for obviousness, the Federal Circuit concluded that the PTAB’s reliance on references not included in the original petition did not violate due process or the patent owner’s procedural rights under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  Anacor Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu, 889 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2018).

Citing Genzyme Therapeutic Products Ltd. v. Biomarin Pharmaceutical. Inc., 825 F.3d 1360, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (discussed here), the court stated that new evidence was to be expected during an IPR and was permissible under the APA provided the opposing party receives notice and an opportunity to reply.  Continue Reading

Contour of Soup Can Saves Gravity Feed Display Design Patent

Next trip to the grocery store, stop in the canned soup aisle and take a closer look at how the canned soups are displayed on the shelves. You may notice a gravity feed dispenser with a label area. Between 2002 and 2009, Petitioner Campbell Soup Co. purchased $31 million of Patent Owner Gamon’s gravity feed display racks protected by design patent D621,645 (“the ‘645 patent”). Continue Reading

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