Satisfying the Duty of Disclosure in AIA Trials

In ClearOne, Inc. v. Shure Acquisition Holdings, Inc., Appeal 2021-1517, Slip Op. at 2 (Fed. Cir. June 1, 2022), the Federal Circuit affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board order that refused to authorize a sanctions motion the petitioner requested after the Board issued its final written decision granting (in relevant part) the patent owner’s motion to substitute claims. As basis for the motion the petitioner alleged the patent owner violated its duty to disclose prior art.  Continue Reading

No design patents for you!–Extension of Fox Factory Complicates Reliance on Indicia of Non-Obviousness

In Campbell Soup Co. v. Gamon Plus, Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s finding that Gamon’s design patents on gravity-fed displays for soup were non-obvious. 10 F.4th 1268 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 19, 2021) (“Gamon II”). As the Supreme Court denied Gamon’s petition for writ of certiorari (in which Gamon argued it did not have an opportunity to request review of the PTAB’s decision by a properly-appointed Director of the USPTO), here’s a closer look at the Federal Circuit’s opinion. Continue Reading

Patentee’s Admissions of Obviousness Insufficient Basis for Cancellation in Inter Partes Review

In Qualcomm, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., No. 20-1558 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 1, 2022), the Federal Circuit concluded that a patentee’s admissions concerning the content of the prior art, contained in the specification of the challenged patent, cannot serve as a ground to invalidate that patent in inter partes review.  The court, therefore, vacated decisions of the PTAB canceling patent claims asserted by Qualcomm against Apple relating to “integrated circuit devices with power detection circuits for systems with multiple supply voltages.” Continue Reading

Estoppel Evolves

Back in 2016, the Federal Circuit held that a petitioner retains the ability, after an adverse Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision, to assert un-instituted invalidity grounds it presented in its petition. The court reasoned that when the Board chooses not to institute certain petitioned grounds (e.g., due to redundancy), the petitioner could not have raised those grounds during the AIA trial and, therefore, cannot be estopped from pursuing those attacks in later litigation. Shaw Indus. Grp. v. Automated Creel Sys., 817 F.3d 1293, 1300 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Continue Reading

So, You Invented a Numerical Range

In Indivior UK Ltd. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories S.A., Appeals 2020-2073, -2142 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 24, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final decision canceling claims in Indivior’s patent claiming a polymer matrix-containing film. Certain claims in the patent recited an amount of polymer matrix inadequately disclosed, according to the Board, in a predecessor application to which the patent claimed priority. As a result, the claims’ effective filing date was so late that prior art published between the patent’s actual filing date and its earliest claimed priority date rendered the claims unpatentable. Here the prior art was none other than the Patent Office’s publication of one of the claimed priority applications. Continue Reading

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

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