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

When is There Standing to Appeal a PGR Final Written Decision?

In Altaire Pharm., Inc. v. Paragon Biotek, Inc., Case No. 2017-1487 (Fed. Cir. May 2, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed in part a PGR final written decision that upheld the patentability of challenged claims, and determined that a risk of a future lawsuit for patent infringement may be sufficient to establish Article III standing for the appeal.

Under Supreme Court precedent, Article III standing requires: (1) a concrete and particularized injury, (2) caused by the challenged conduct, (3) which can be redressed by a judicial decision. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). Ironically, a party that has not been charged with infringement may have sufficient standing to file a petition with the PTAB, but lack standing to appeal the PTAB’s final decision to an Article III court. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Remands Decision on Motion to Amend to Board to Apply and Interpret Aqua Products and SAS Institute

The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Sirona Dental Systems GMBH v. Institut Straumann AG, Appeals 2017-1341, 2017-1403 (Fed. Cir. June 19, 2018) tasked the PTAB with reconciling the Supreme Court’s SAS Institute decision (discussed here) with its en banc decision in Aqua Products regarding the burden of proof on motions to amend (discussed here). Continue Reading

PTAB Failed to Properly Apply Incorporation by Reference Doctrine

In Paice LLC, The Abell Foundation, Inc., v. Ford Motor Company, Appeal No. 2017-1406 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 1, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB decision for failing to properly apply the doctrine of incorporation by reference, thereby reminding the PTAB as well as practitioners alike of the proper standard for invoking and applying that doctrine. Continue Reading

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.

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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

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