Claim Term Read Out by PTAB Constituted “Harmless Error”

In a recent non-precedential decision, Snap-on Inc. v. Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp., No. 2017-1305, 2018 WL 935454 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 16, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decisions in several IPRs that upheld challenged claims of Milwaukee Tool patents as nonobvious, although the court determined that the PTAB erred in construing a disputed claim term. Continue Reading

Play the Claim

Monsanto Technology LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Appeal 2017-1032 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 5, 2018), illustrates “[t]he life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one.” [1] The case concerns an inter partes reexamination of a Monsanto patent in which the Patent Office concluded the claimed subject matter was inherently described in an earlier DuPont patent. The Patent Office reached this conclusion because DuPont presented during the reexamination its unpublished data regarding experiments described in its earlier patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Continue Reading

Collateral Estoppel Not Limited to Identical Claims

The equitable doctrine of collateral estoppel protects a party from having to re-litigate an issue that has already been fully and fairly adjudicated. In Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Steuben Foods, Inc. the Federal Circuit said that application of collateral estoppel is not limited to construing only identical patent claims; but instead, it extends to terms across related patents. Case No. 2017-1193 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 13, 2018). Continue Reading

Should I Stay or Should I Go? – Co-Pending IPR and Litigation Can Lead to Discovery Obligations

Fighting a war on two fronts is rarely an enviable strategic position. While district court judges do not always grant stays of patent infringement cases until resolution of co-pending inter partes reviews (IPR’s), accused infringers considering whether to request a stay of litigation should note the PTAB’s February 28, 2018, Order in Becton, Dickinson and Company v. B. Braun Melsungen AG, IPR2017-01586, -01587, -01588, -01589, and -01590Continue Reading

Is the PTAB Bound by a Prior Federal Circuit Claim Construction?

In Knowles Electronics LLC v. Cirrus Logic, Inc., No. 2016-2010 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 1, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed a PTAB decision that upheld an examiner’s rejection of claims for anticipation in an inter partes reexamination (IPX). The same claims had earlier been challenged, and determined to be not invalid (over different prior art), in an ITC decision that was also affirmed by the Federal Circuit. MEMS Tech. Berhad v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 447 F. App’x 142 (Fed. Cir. 2011). The decision in the IPX appeal turned on construction of a particular claim term (“package”), and according to a dissent authored by Judge Newman, the court should have reversed the PTAB’s decision due to claim preclusion, because the court had earlier construed the same term differently. Continue Reading

Rituxan Patent Spared by Failure to Establish Product Label as “Printed Publication”

A patent relating to a method of treating rheumatoid arthritis using rituximab recently survived its fourth IPR challenge. Celltrion, Inc. v. Biogen, Inc., IPR2016-01614 (PTAB Feb. 21, 2018). The PTAB determined that the Petitioners failed to establish that the challenged claims of the patent were obvious over prior art, in part, because of the Petitioners’ failure to establish the prior art status of the product label for RITUXIN®, which contains rituximab. Continue Reading

Petitioner Failed to Show That Patent Owner’s Drug Product Package Insert Was a Printed Publication

On February 9, 2018, the PTAB denied Sandoz Inc.’s petition for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,512,216, a patent owned by AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd. The patent recites methods for treating moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis with adalimumab, a human anti-tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) antibody.  The methods of the claimed invention involve subcutaneously administering to a patient an initial dose of 80 mg of adalimumab, followed by 40 mg of adalimumab every other week starting one week after the initial dose.  The patent is one of several patents AbbVie owns that relate to its blockbuster autoimmune drug Humira.  Continue Reading

Precedential and Informative Board Decision on Serial IPR Petitions

Serial IPR petitions directed to previously-challenged patents account for many of the petitions filed with the PTAB; however, 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) provides the Board with discretion to reject petitions where the same, or substantially the same, prior art or arguments have already been presented to the USPTO.  The Board recently designated as precedential part of its decision in General Plastic Industrial Co. v. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, Case IPR2016-01357, Paper 19 (6 September 2017), addressing factors to be considered in determining whether to institute review for a serial, or “follow-on” petition.  Petitioner General Plastic filed a first set of petitions seeking IPR of U.S. Patent No. 9,046,820 B1 (“the ’820 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 8,909,094 B2 (“the ’094 patent”).  Institution of a trial was denied for each petition based upon the merits. Continue Reading

CAFC Hears IPR Appeal From Parties That Were Time-Barred From Filing Petition

Research Corporation Technologies, Inc. (RCT) sued Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Mylan), Breckenridge Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Breckinridge), and Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Alembic), in federal district court, accusing them of infringing United States Reissued Patent No. RE38,551. The patent claims pharmaceutical compositions useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders. Within one year of being served with the infringement complaint, Breckenridge alone petitioned the PTAB to institute inter partes review of the patent, but the PTAB denied the petition on its merits. Continue Reading

PTAB Gets A Math Lesson

In Shinn Fu Co. of America, Inc. v. The Tire Hanger Corp., Dkt. No. 2016-2250 (Fed. Cir. July 3, 2017), Shinn Fu appealed the Board’s holding in IPR2015-00208 (discussed here), a rare case in which the PTAB granted a motion to amend, and determined that substitute claims 6-10 of USPN 6,681,897 were patentable.  The claims are drawn to methods of changing the wheels of vehicles on lifts without the operator having to bend while supporting the wheel. Continue Reading

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