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The Supreme Court Decides Arthrex, Giving the PTO Director Discretion to Review PTAB Decisions

On June 21, 2021, the Supreme Court issued a decision vacating the Federal Circuit’s judgment in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019). As we previously explained, the Federal Circuit in Arthrex held that the AIA was unconstitutional in that administrative patent judges (APJs) have the authority of principal … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Finds Lack of Enablement in Prior Art Reference

In Raytheon Technologies v. General Electric Corp., Appeal 2020-1755, (Fed. Cir. April 16, 2021), the Federal Circuit reversed a PTAB inter partes review decision that determined Raytheon’s claims, directed to gas turbine engines, are unpatentable as obviousness over “Knip,” a 1987 NASA technical memo.  In particular, the court determined that Knip did not enable a … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Finds Loyalty Rewards Claims Ineligible

In cxLoyalty, Inc. v. Maritz Holdings Inc., Appeals 2020-1307, -1309 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed a PTAB final written decision in a CBM proceeding canceling Maritz’s original claims related to a GUI for a customer loyalty program, as ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The PTAB had granted Maritz’s … Continue Reading

PTAB Plays Wrong Tune On Whether Reference is Analogous Art

In Donner Technology, LLC v. Pro Stage Gear, LLC, Appeal. No. 20-1104 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 9, 2020), the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision that the Petitioner, Donner Technology, did not sufficiently prove unpatentability because a printed publication on which it relied was not sufficiently analogous to the claimed subject matter.  In doing … Continue Reading

Mine Your Patent Application and You Might Find a Licensee

A patent interference is an adversarial proceeding where each party is trying deprive its opponent of a patent on an invention that that the Patent Office has already decided is patentable. Long after the AIA became effective to phase out interferences, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board continues to declare and administer them where at … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Review the Arthrex Decision

The Supreme Court issued an order on October 13, 2020, granting and consolidating three certiorari petitions seeking review of the Federal Circuit’s judgment in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019), reh’g denied, 953 F.3d 760 (Fed. Cir. 2020). We discussed the Federal Circuit’s judgment here and its decision … Continue Reading

Fitbit Dodges a Bullet—Entitled to Appeal Portion of Apple’s Petition Which It Did Not Join

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 … Continue Reading

Raiders of the Lost Art

In Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, (“Ericsson”), v TCL Corporation, (“TCL”), 2017-2381, -2385 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 7, 2019), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s decision that canceled claims in an Ericsson patent that TCL challenged based on its subsidiary finding that a German journal article TCL presented was indeed prior art.  The decision is important because it … Continue Reading

Incorporating Entire Arguments by Reference Can Lead to Disastrous Outcomes

In General Access Solutions, Ltd. v. Sprint Spectrum L.P., Case No. 19-1856 (Fed. Cir. May 11, 2020) (non-precedential), General Access Solutions (“GAS”) appealed from two final written decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding holding that multiple claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,173,916 and 6,891,810 … Continue Reading

Patent Invalidated Despite Owner’s Argument Reinstated On Appeal

In The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. One World Techs., Inc., Case 18-2112 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 17, 2019), the Federal Circuit held the USPTO erred in determining that Chamberlain raised a new argument during the Board’s final hearing. There, Chamberlain argued that the prior art did not anticipate certain claims of the patent. The Federal Circuit … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Reaffirms that Software is Patent Eligible

In Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Electronics USA, Appeal No. 19-1835 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 30, 2020), the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that software inventions are patentable in the U.S. with a bright-line statement: “Our precedent is clear that software can make patent-eligible improvements to computer technology, and related claims are eligible as long as they are directed to … Continue Reading

PTAB Determination on One-Year Time Bar Cannot be Appealed

On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court held that PTAB decisions instituting IPR are final and non-appealable and that the language of 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) “indicates that a party generally cannot contend on appeal that the agency should have refused “to institute an inter partes review.”  Thryv Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies LP, case number … Continue Reading

PTAB Failed to Apply Standard of Diligence Properly

In ATI Technologies v. Iancu, 920 F.3d 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2019), the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s decision that the Patent Owner had not presented sufficient evidence to swear behind several prior art references.  In doing so, the Federal Circuit reminded the PTAB, as well as practitioners alike, of the proper standard of proof for … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Vacates Board Obviousness Decision Relying Upon Reference in Non-Instituted Ground for Motivation to Combine

In In Re: IPR Licensing, Inc., Appeal Nos. IPR2014-00525, IPR2015-00074 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 22, 2019), the Federal Circuit vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision that a claim was invalid as obvious.  The claim had previously been in front of the Federal Circuit in an appeal in which Federal Circuit found insufficient record support … Continue Reading

Section 101 Challenges are Out of Bounds in IPR Appeals

Neptune Generics v. Eli Lilly & Company, Case No. 2018-1257, 2018-1258 (Fed. Cir. April, 2019), concerns an Eli Lilly & Co. patent protecting method of administering folic acid and a methylmalonic acid (MMA) lowering agent, e.g., vitamin B12. Specifically, the method concerns the administration of these products before administering pemetrexed disodium, an anti-folate chemotherapeutic, to … Continue Reading

Haste Makes Waste?

If the Federal Circuit’s decision in Arthrex wasn’t sufficiently newsworthy, then look at what lurks in its wake. The day after the decision, the court issued precedential orders indicating that a timely Constitutional challenge apparently must be presented to the court in an opening brief. A few days after those orders, two of the court’s … Continue Reading

PTAB Should Have Determined that Gravity Feed Display Design Patent is Obvious

In Campbell Soup Co. v. Gamon Plus, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sept. 26, 2019), the Federal Circuit vacated the PTAB’s decision (discussed here) upholding the validity of Gamon’s design patent D621,645 (“the ‘645 patent”) for soup can display racks.  The court determined that substantial evidence did not support the Board’s finding that Linz is not a … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Obviousness Decision by Board, Finds No APA Violation Based on New Characterization of Passage Providing Motivation to Combine

In Smith & Nephew, Inc. v. Arthrocare Corp., Appeal No. IPR2016-00918 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 21, 2019), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in an IPR to invalidate patent claims on the basis of obviousness, determining that the Board did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by describing the motivation … Continue Reading

Estoppel May Not Apply When Petitioner Lacks Standing to Appeal IPR Decision

In AVX Corp. v. Presidio Components, Inc., No. 2018-1106 (Fed. Cir. May. 13, 2019), the Federal Circuit determined that a manufacturer did not have standing to appeal an adverse decision in an IPR challenging a competitor’s patent, because the petitioner did not have a present or nonspeculative interest in engaging in conduct arguably covered by … Continue Reading
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