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Tom is a hands-on, lead trial attorney who handles intellectual property litigation across a wide spectrum of technologies, from aerospace and biochemistry to Internet/e-Commerce and medical devices. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 60 matters in federal courts throughout the country.  He has been named one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers® in Illinois, repeatedly named one of the Best Lawyers in America for Intellectual Property Litigation by U.S. News and World Report, voted a “Leading Lawyer” in the areas of Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition by his peers, and named by Managing IP  as one of its “IP Stars.” Read full bio here.

Admit One - Qualcomm v. Apple

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

In Fitbit, Inc. v. Valencell, Inc., Appeal 2019-1048 (Fed. Cir. July 8, 2020), the Federal Circuit determined that Fitbit, who had successfully sought joinder in an IPR petition filed by Apple, had standing to appeal an adverse determination as to certain patent claims, despite Fitbit’s failure to join that portion of Apple’s Petition. The Federal Circuit went on to rule that the PTAB had erred in rejecting Apple’s arguments as to those claim, and remanded the matter to the Board for further review.
Continue Reading Fitbit Dodges a Bullet—Entitled to Appeal Portion of Apple’s Petition Which It Did Not Join

In Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google LLC, Case No. 2019-1177 (Fed. Cir. January 30, 2020), the Federal Circuit determined that the Board erred in instituting inter partes review based on an obviousness combination that Petitioner Google did not advance in its petition.  Nevertheless, the Federal Circuit agreed that the Board could have properly relied upon the general knowledge of those of skill in the art to modify the primary reference, without having to rely upon that combination.  The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the Board’s decision that the challenged claims were invalid as obvious.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Affirms Use of “Common Sense” in IPRs

In FOX Factory, Inc. v. SRAM, LLC, Case Nos. 2018-2024, 2018-2025 (Fed. Cir. December 18, 2019), the Federal Circuit determined that the Board erroneously presumed a nexus between evidence of secondary considerations and the challenged independent claims.  Petitioner FOX appealed the decisions of the Board in two inter partes reviews.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Rejects Presumption of Nexus Between Claimed Invention and Evidence of Secondary Factors

In Dell, Inc. v. Acceleron, LLC, 884 F.3d 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the Federal Circuit determined that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board was not required to consider arguments first presented by the petitioner at oral argument, despite having remanded an earlier appeal of the Board’s decision for that very purpose. In that earlier appeal, the court had concluded that the Board deprived patent owner, Acceleron, a fair opportunity to rebut new arguments petitioner Dell presented during oral argument—arguments that convinced the Board to cancel Acceleron’s patent claims. The court had vacated the Board’s decision and remanded for reconsideration. On remand, the Board elected not to consider Dell’s new argument and, reversing itself, the Board found as a consequence that Dell had failed to establish that the challenged claims were anticipated.
Continue Reading “Your Call”: Fed. Cir. Says OK not to Reconsider Despite Remand

On October 29, 2018, the Patent and Trademark Office published a request for comments on a proposal to establish a new procedure by which patent owners may seek to amend their claims during inter partes review. Comments are due on or before December 14, 2018. The PTO proposes a pilot program implementing the new amendment process to begin shortly after the deadline for comments.
Continue Reading “Comments Anyone?”: PTO Makes Proposed New IPR Amendment Process

Inter partes review (IPR) is a procedure that allows a party to challenge the validity of an issued patent based on prior art patents or printed publications. IPRs first became available in 2013 following passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Some have questioned whether this post-grant review of patent validity is constitutional. Today, the United States Supreme Court declared that neither Article III of the Constitution nor the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury precluded such reviews by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). 
Continue Reading The Supreme Court Finds IPR Proceedings Constitutional

“Inurement,” \i-ˈnu̇r-mənt, -ˈnyu̇r\ noun  :in patent law the concept that the action of another may inure to one’s benefit, esp.  where the actions of another in reducing an invention to practice may be attributed to the named inventor for purposes of establishing priority of invention. 
Continue Reading Breadcrumbs Lead Federal Circuit to “Inurement”

Business strategy businessman planning and finding a solution through a drawing of a labyrinth maze

The saga of Enfish v. Microsoft continues.  The Enfish litigation provides a textbook example of the multi-pronged defense now common with the advent of post-grant review and the evolving law concerning unpatentable subject matter.  Many are no doubt aware of the significant Federal Circuit decision on patentable subject matter (i.e. Section 101) which this litigation spawned.  Less familiar are the parallel developments in the PTAB.  Most recently, the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s determination that some, but not all, of the claims of the asserted patents were invalid in light of prior art.  Microsoft Corp.v. Enfish, LLC, No. 2015-1734 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 30, 2016) (non-precedential).
Continue Reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Enfish: Unraveling the Maze of Parallel Court/PTAB Proceedings

Woman whispering to her friend

The Federal Circuit reversed, in part, a PTAB final written decision after determining that several emails, wrongly excluded as hearsay, showed the inventor’s conception prior to allegedly anticipating art.  In REG Synthetic Fuels, LLC v. Neste Oil Oyj,  No. 2015-1773 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 18, 2016), the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s finding that a prior art reference anticipated the challenged claims directed to a certain paraffin composition.  The Federal Circuit determined that emails the PTAB wrongly excluded from evidence sufficiently established that the Patent Owner conceived the invention before the filing date of the prior art reference.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Reverses PTAB’s Anticipation Decision: Proof of Prior Conception Improperly Excluded as Hearsay