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State University Patents Are Not Immune from Inter Partes Review

The Federal Circuit on June 14 affirmed Patent Office decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings canceling patents the University of Minnesota owned, concluding that “state sovereign immunity does not apply to these proceedings.” The court’s conclusion is not limited to instances where, for example, a state university waives its sovereign immunity by asserting a … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Puts Nail in Coffin For Petitioner’s Case Challenging Casket Patent

In Matthews International Corporation v. Vandor Corporation, No. 2017-1889 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 27, 2018) (non-precedential), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision to uphold the claims of Vandor’s patent that Matthews challenged in inter partes review. The claims at issue “are directed to ‘a casket arrangement’ made of pliable material, such as cardboard,” … Continue Reading

PTAB Was Wrong to Ignore an Applicant’s Prosecution Disclaimer Because of Examiner’s Reasons for Allowance

Despite disagreeing with the PTAB’s preferred claim construction, the Federal Circuit in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Google LLC, Case No. 2016-1249 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 20, 2018) nevertheless determined that the PTAB had correctly canceled the challenged claims. The Board had offered two, alternative rulings invalidating all claims on obviousness grounds. In its primary ruling, the Board … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Upholds Board’s Use of Control Standard of Privity to Assess Time Bar

It is undisputed that institution of an inter partes review (IPR) is time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) if the petition is “filed more than 1 year after the date on which the petitioner, the real party in interest, or a privy of the petitioner is served with a complaint alleging infringement of the patent. The … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Splits Hairs in Hair Removal Product Interference Proceeding

In General Hospital Corp. v. Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 2017-1012 (Fed. Cir. May 4, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s August 2016 decision that General Hospital Corporation’s (GHC) claims involved in an interference proceeding (that GHC requested) failed to meet the written description requirement. But the court also vacated the PTAB’s denial of … Continue Reading

Mixed Result Upheld in Personal Audio IPRs

The Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB’s mixed decisions in IPRs filed by Google to challenge claims of two Personal Audio LLC patents asserted against Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Research in Motion, in addition to Google. Google LLC v. Personal Audio LLC, Nos. 2017-1162, -1166, -2110, -2111 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 1, 2018) (non-precedential).… Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

A Split Federal Circuit Panel “at Once Envisaged” Different Conclusions of Anticipation

Can the disclosure in a prior art reference be too extensive for the art not to anticipate? According to a recent decision, the Federal Circuit apparently thinks so. In Microsoft Corp. v. Biscotti Inc., Case Nos. 2016-2080, -2082, -2083 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 28, 2017), a split Federal Circuit panel affirmed a Board’s decision—also a split … Continue Reading

Cases to Watch

Pending Supreme Court Decisions An updated discussion of this issue is available here: The Supreme Court Finds IPR Proceedings Constitutional The Supreme Court will decide during its October 2017 term “Whether inter partes review—an adversarial process used by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to analyze the validity of existing patents—violates the Constitution by extinguishing … Continue Reading

Patent Owner’s Optional Preliminary Response Avoids IPR, But Dooms Infringement Action

Earlier this year, the Federal Circuit held “that statements made by a patent owner during an IPR proceeding, whether before or after an institution decision, can be considered for claim construction and relied upon to support a finding of prosecution disclaimer.” Aylus Networks, Inc., v. Apple Inc., Appeal 2016-1599 (Fed. Cir. May 11, 2017). In … Continue Reading

Pay-Per-Click Patent Found Ineligible Under Section 101

In a final written decision issued on April 24, 2017, the PTAB canceled all four challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,671,057, directed to detecting invalid and fraudulent clicks in pay-per-click web advertising (Google Inc. v. Zuili, CBM2016-00008 (Paper 56)). The PTAB found all four claims unpatentable under 35 U.S.C § 101, and obvious under … Continue Reading

Teaching Away for Dummies

In Meiresonne v. Google, Inc., No. 2016-1755 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 7, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision in IPR2014-01188 that the challenged claims in U.S. Patent No. 8,156,096 (the “’096 patent”) are unpatentable as obvious over the 1997 book “World Wide Web Searching for Dummies, 2nd Edition” by Brad Hill (“Hill”) and … Continue Reading

Secondary Considerations Change Panel’s Mind after Institution

The PTAB is not often persuaded by objective evidence of non-obviousness, i.e., secondary considerations, when the scope and content of the prior art includes all of the features recited in the claims. However, a pair of recent PTAB decisions, Innopharma Licensing, Inc. v. Senju Pharmaceutical Co., LTD., IPR2015-00902, Paper 90, and IPR2015-00903, Paper 82 (PTAB … Continue Reading

Analogous Art: A Tale of Two Decisions

In two recent PTAB decisions, Tissue Transplant Technology Ltd. & Human Biologics of Texas, Ltd., v. Mimedx Group, Inc., Case IPR2015-00420, Paper 25 (PTAB July 7, 2016) and Dexcowin Global, Inc., v. Aribex, Inc. Case IPR2016-00440, Paper 13 (PTAB July 7, 2016), the Board reached opposite conclusions regarding whether the petitioner’s prior art was analogous … Continue Reading

For CBM Standing, Is “Incidental To” a Financial Product or Service Enough?

If a patented mobile phone app can locate a nearby ATM machine, are the claims of that patent subject to CBM review because ATMs are used in financial transactions? What if the claim could cover a business entity that, incidentally, might also push advertisements to a mobile phone? Is it enough that a claim is … Continue Reading

Squeezing the ‘Antibody Exception’ to Written Description into a Corner

The PTAB has continued the trend of pushing the -“antibody exception” to written description into an ever-smaller corner. Claims to methods of using antibodies that bind Siglec-15 to impair osteoclast differentiation and inhibit bone resorption were deprived of priority because the parent application failed to disclose the “antigenic regions useful for generating antibodies having the … Continue Reading

PTAB Provides Procedural Guidance with Five Precedential Opinions

Update: The Supreme Court issued a decision on April 20, 2020  holding that the patent statute (35 U.S.C. § 314(d)) bars judicial review of a PTAB decision of whether an inter partes review petition is time-barred pursuant to 35 USC 315(b). As stated by the Court, the PTAB’s “application of §315(b)’s time limit, we hold, is … Continue Reading

CAFC Puts the “Reasonable” Back in the BRI Standard

In a pair of decisions from related IPR appeals, the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded portions of two final written decisions related to the same patent and parties because the PTAB’s construction of the claims was unreasonably broad. See, PPC Broadband, Inc. v. Corning Optical Comm’ns, Appeal Nos. 2015-1361, et al. (Fed. Cir., Feb. 22, 2016); … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Provides Further Guidance on Administrative Procedures For Motions to Amend Claims

Update: Overruled in part by Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal. In Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG, Case No. 2014-1719 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 11, 2016) (appeal of IPR2013-00067), the Federal Circuit provided further guidance on the PTAB’s administrative procedures regarding motions to amend claims. After considering Nike’s argument that 35 U.S.C. § 316(e) places the burden of … Continue Reading

Estoppel Applied in Second CBM to Later-Obtained Patent and Evidence

Six days after issuing a final decision holding the claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,711,100 unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in a first CBM review, Square, Inc. v. Unwired Planet, LLC, CBM2014-00156, (PTAB Dec. 22, 2015), the PTAB issued a decision denying institution in a second CBM Petition filed by the same Petitioner for … Continue Reading

One Post-AIA Claim Risks PGR For All Claims

In its seventh PGR institution, the PTAB recently decided for the first time that a patent asserting a pre-AIA effective filing date was eligible for post-grant review because it contained at least one claim that was only entitled to a post-AIA effective filing date.  Although some claims were entitled to a pre-AIA effective filing date, … Continue Reading

PTAB Warns Again That Prosecution Declarations Without Depositions May Be Given Little or No Weight

If you rely in an IPR on a declaration submitted during prosecution, the PTAB may give it little or no weight if your opponent cannot cross-examine the declarant. In Praxair Distribution, Inc. v. INO Therapeutics LLC, the PTAB instituted inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 8,846,112, directed to methods of providing nitric oxide gas … Continue Reading

Institution Decisions are Nonappealable. Settled? Maybe Not Yet.

The ability to appeal the determination on institution of an IPR is expressly limited by statute. 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) states: “The determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” An identically-phrased limitation is also applicable to PGR institution decisions at 35 U.S.C. § … Continue Reading
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