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Successful IPR Petition Time Barred Under 35 U.S.C. §315(b) by Involuntarily Dismissed Complaint

In Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co., Appeal Nos. 2017-1555, 217-1626 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018), the Federal Circuit vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision in an IPR because institution of the IPR should have been time barred under 35 U.S.C. §315(b).  Additionally, the Federal Circuit declined to … Continue Reading

PTAB Properly Applied the Printed Matter Doctrine

In Praxair Distrib. v. Mallinckrodt Hosp. Pdts., (Fed. Circ. May 16, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s application of the printed matter doctrine in an IPR, and determined that all challenged claims were obvious. Mallinckrodt’s patent is directed to methods of treating newborns having low blood oxygenation with nitric oxide (NO) gas, “to dilate … 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 Reverses, i.e. Overturns, Board’s Anticipation Decision Due to Overbroad Claim Construction

In TF3 Ltd. v. Tre Milano, LLC, Appeal 2016-2285 (Fed. Cir. July 13, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision canceling claims directed to a hair styling device as anticipated by prior art.  The court concluded that the Board improperly broadened two claim terms beyond the description in … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Tribal Sovereign Immunity Does Not Apply to IPR

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the PTAB’s decision that tribal immunity cannot be asserted in an IPR (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharma Inc., Case No. 2018-1638 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018). On appeal, Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”) argued that the Board improperly denied its motion to withdraw from IPR proceedings, and the Saint Regis … 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 Failed to Properly Apply Incorporation by Reference Doctrine

In Paice LLC, The Abell Foundation, Inc., v. Ford Motor Company, Appeal No. 2017-1406 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 1, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB decision for failing to properly apply the doctrine of incorporation by reference, thereby reminding the PTAB as well as practitioners alike of the proper standard for invoking and applying that … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Requests Briefing from Patent Office Regarding § 315(b) Time-Bar Determinations

On June 7, 2018, the Federal Circuit in Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp. requested that intervenor, Patent Office director Andrei Iancu, and appellee Broadcom, file a response to Wi-Fi One’s second petition for rehearing.  Wi-Fi One, Case No. 2015-1944, Docket No. 212 (June 7, 2018).  At issue was whether the court should grant Wi-Fi … Continue Reading

No SAS-based Relief on Appeal, Unless Requested

Left in the wake of the Supreme Court’s SAS decision (discussed here) are a number of appeals pending before the Federal Circuit concerning Patent Trial and Appeal Board final written decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings administered on a subset of claims and grounds presented in the IPR petition. While litigants before the Board … Continue Reading

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Alone Cannot Protect Patents from IPR

In late March, the Federal Circuit issued an order staying the PTAB proceedings concerning numerous related IPRs of patents issued to Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”), but assigned to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (“the Tribe”). These IPRs were headed toward a final hearing on the merits previously scheduled for April 3rd. In those IPRs, the PTAB denied the Tribe’s … Continue Reading

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 … 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 … 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

The United States Can Have Standing in AIA Proceedings

Update: On October 26, 2018, the Supreme Court issued an order granting the patent owner’s petition for a writ of certiorari from the Federal Circuit’s judgment (discussed in the post below).  The Court will decide: “Whether the government is a ‘person’ who may petition to institute review proceedings under the AIA.”  The Court’s docket for … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Again Reminds PTAB that BRI Must Be Reasonable

Last fall, the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB decision that affirmed an Examiner’s rejection of various claims in an ex parte reexamination because the Examiner’s interpretation of the claims, which the PTAB upheld, was unreasonably broad. In re Smith International, Inc., Appeal No. 2016-2303 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 26, 2017). The court’s decision is noteworthy because … Continue Reading

PTAB Not Always Bound By Previous Court Decisions Regarding Patent Validity

In Novartis AG v. Noven Pharm. Inc., Appeal 2016-1678-1679 (April 2017), Novartis appealed two PTAB decisions holding claims of two patents obvious over cited prior art (IPR2014-00549 and IPR2014-00550), arguing that previous judicial holdings of non-obviousness should control the PTAB’s factual findings and that the claims should have been held non-obvious. The two Novartis patents … Continue Reading

Error in Claim Construction Leads to Reversal of IPR Decision and Cancelation of Claims

Two recent Federal Circuit decisions illustrate how an error in construing claims may lead the court to reverse a PTAB final written decision. In Organik Kimya AS v. Rohm & Haas Co., the Federal Circuit determined that the PTAB correctly construed the disputed claim term, “swelling agent,” and therefore affirmed the PTAB’s decisions upholding the … 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

Federal Circuit Overturns PTAB’s Finding of Patent Validity

In a split opinion in Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corporation, the Federal Circuit has again overturned a final written decision issued by the PTAB determining that challenged claims in an IPR were not unpatentable, a development that should at least cast doubt on the validity of patents that survive challenges at the PTAB. Homeland … Continue Reading
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