Bizarre Facts Beget Bizarre Result

Before the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in In re Vivint, Inc., Appeal 2020-1992 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 29, 2021), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed a reexamination examiner’s final rejection of Vivint’s patent claims as unpatentable over prior art. In due course, the Patent Office would have issued a certificate canceling those claims. But Vivint appealed the Board’s decision, not because the examiner’s/Board’s decisions were substantively incorrect, but because the Office should not have ordered reexamination. The AIA’s revisions to the Patent Act give the Board discretion to deny inter parties review and deny requests for ex parte reexamination that present “the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments previously … presented to the Office.” Continue Reading

The Headaches in Claiming Antibody-based Inventions Broadly

Recent Federal Circuit decisions call into question the value of patents broadly claiming inventions on antibodies and their function in treating debilitating diseases. The decisions in these cases originated in district courts and arguably swept aside the merits of scientific breakthroughs because the inventions claimed were not enabled or were otherwise insufficiently described to justify their broad breadth.* In Teva Pharmaceuticals Int’l GmbH v. Eli Lilly and Company, Appeals 2020-1747, -1748, and -1750 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2021), the Federal Circuit again dealt with patents broadly claiming antibodies. Continue Reading

IPR Institution Despite Arbitration Agreement Is Not Appealable

Over a thorough dissent by Judge O’Malley, the Federal Circuit determined it lacked jurisdiction to review the Board’s decision to institute IPR despite an arbitration agreement between the parties. In re Maxpower Semiconductor, Inc., 2021-146, 2021-1950, 2021-1951, 2021-1952, 2021-1953, 2021 WL 4130639 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 8, 2021). Continue Reading

An Invalidated Patent Still Qualifies As 102(e) Art

On May 28, 2021, the Federal Circuit found obvious the claims of a patent directed to telepharmacy, describing a process allowing a pharmacist to remotely supervise and approve the work of non-pharmacists in filling drug orders. The court reversed the PTAB’s decision to the contrary. Becton Dickinson and Co. v. Baxter Corp. Englewood, 998 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2021). In reaching its conclusion, the court clarified that a prior art patent that has previously been invalidated still qualifies as prior art under pre-AIA 102(e).  Id. at 1345. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Concludes that Reference Qualifies As Prior Art Based on Reply Evidence

In VidStream LLC v. Twitter Inc., Appeals 2019-1734, -1735, (Fed. Cir. November 25, 2020), the Federal Circuit affirmed a pair of PTAB inter partes review decisions that determined VidStream’s claims, directed to publishing content on social networking websites, are unpatentable as obvious over a five-way combination of references. Important, in this appeal, was the subsidiary conclusion that one of the references – Anselm Bradford & Paul Haine, HTML5 Mastery: Semantics, Standards, and Styling (hereinafter “Bradford”) – qualified as prior art.  On appeal, VidStream did not challenge the PTAB’s determination of obviousness if Bradford qualified as a prior art reference. Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Decides Arthrex, Giving the PTO Director Discretion to Review PTAB Decisions

On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a decision vacating the Federal Circuit’s judgment in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019). As we previously explained, the Federal Circuit in Arthrex held that the AIA was unconstitutional in that administrative patent judges (APJs) have the authority of principal officers, but the statute provides for their appointment by the Secretary of Commerce, rather than by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Finds Lack of Enablement in Prior Art Reference

In Raytheon Technologies v. General Electric Corp., Appeal 2020-1755, (Fed. Cir. April 16, 2021), the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB inter partes review decision that determined Raytheon’s claims, directed to gas turbine engines, are unpatentable as obviousness over “Knip,” a 1987 NASA technical memo.  In particular, the court determined that Knip did not enable a skilled artisan to make the claimed invention. Continue Reading

The Board Is Deciding Ex Parte Appeals Within One Year

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently presented an update on the “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program” the Patent Office initiated in July 2020. As we previously explained (link), the program is designed to reduce the pendency of ex parte appeals. Under the program, the Board has been issuing decisions within six months from the date the appeal enters the program. That’s a significant reduction in pendency. In its update, the Board presented details of the program’s progress. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Finds Loyalty Rewards Claims Ineligible

In cxLoyalty, Inc. v. Maritz Holdings Inc., Appeals 2020-1307, -1309 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed a PTAB final written decision in a CBM proceeding canceling Maritz’s original claims related to a GUI for a customer loyalty program, as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The PTAB had granted Maritz’s request to substitute amended claims, but the court reversed, concluding those claims also are ineligible under section 101.   Continue Reading

The Concrete Injury Necessary for Appellate Standing Is Flexible

A couple of years ago, in Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. UCB Pharma GmbH, 913 F.3d 1076, 1082 (Fed. Cir. 2019), the Federal Circuit acknowledged its jurisdiction to decide appeals of the Board’s final written decisions in AIA trials, but explained that an appellant (AIA Trial petitioner) must demonstrate it has standing. Quoting from the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016), the court explained the appellant must demonstrate, among other things, that it has “suffered an injury in fact.” Amerigen, 913 F.3d at 1082–83. Continue Reading

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