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

Rare Circumstances in IPRs are Even Rarer With Poor Strategy

In Hunting Titan Inc. v. DynaEnergetics GmbH & Co. KG, Case IPR 2018-00600 (PTAB Jul. 6, 2020), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) vacated the decision of another Board panel to deny patent owner’s (DynaEnergetics) motion to amend. In that vacated decision, the Board had sua sponte determined the proposed substitute claims were anticipated, despite the petitioner’s (Hunting Titan) failure to advance such a position. After vacating the decision of the panel, the POP granted DynaEnergetics’ motion to amend and its request for rehearing of that panel’s final written decision finding DynaEnergetics’ claims unpatentable.  Continue Reading

PTAB Plays Wrong Tune On Whether Reference is Analogous Art

In Donner Technology, LLC v. Pro Stage Gear, LLC, Appeal. No. 20-1104 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 9, 2020), the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision that the Petitioner, Donner Technology, did not sufficiently prove unpatentability because a printed publication on which it relied was not sufficiently analogous to the claimed subject matter.  In doing so, the Federal Circuit reminded the PTAB, and practitioners alike, of the proper standard for determining whether a reference is “analogous,” as well as how to appropriately apply that standard. Continue Reading

Mine Your Patent Application and You Might Find a Licensee

A patent interference is an adversarial proceeding where each party is trying deprive its opponent of a patent on an invention that that the Patent Office has already decided is patentable. Long after the AIA became effective to phase out interferences, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board continues to declare and administer them where at least one of the parties has an interfering application or patent predating the AIA’s enactment. The Board declares interferences to avoid the embarrassment and marketplace chaos where the Patent Office issues two patents on the same invention to different parties, and to avoid awarding a patent monopoly to the entity who was not the first to invent. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Provides some Clarity as to when a Claim Preamble is Limiting

In Shoes by Firebug LLC, v. Stride Rite Children’s Group, LLC, Appeals 2019-1622, and 2019-1623 (Fed. Cir. June 25, 2020), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s IPR decisions that the claims of two challenged Firebug patents, directed to illumination systems for footwear, were unpatentable for obviousness. Although the PTAB erred in determining that the word “textile” in the preamble of both patents was not limiting (the term was limiting in one of the patents), the court concluded that this error did not affect the PTAB’s conclusions that all challenged claims were obvious. Continue Reading

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