Can a defendant who prevails in an exceptional patent infringement suit by invalidating the patent in inter partes review (IPR) recover its associated Patent Office-related attorney’s fees? A split three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit recently said no in Dragon Intellectual Property LLC v. Dish Networks LLC, Appeal Nos. 2022-1621, -1777, Slip Op. at 8 (Fed. Cir. May 20, 2024) (“Dragon V”). This blogsite previously discussed (link) several instances where courts, including the Federal Circuit, have authorized this recovery when the Patent Office proceedings substituted for aspects of the district court litigation between the same parties. How then did this two-judge majority conclude otherwise?Continue Reading Federal Circuit Holds Recoverability of Attorney’s Fees Does Not Extend to AIA Trials

On June 30th, the Federal Circuit granted a petition for re-hearing en banc in LKQ Corp. v. GM Global Tech. Operations LLC.[1] LKQ, an auto parts repair vendor for GM, successfully petitioned for inter partes review of GM’s design patent for a front fender design,[2] arguing it was anticipated by a prior art reference (Lain) and obvious over Lian alone or in combination with a brochure for the 2010 Hyundai Tucson. The PTAB ultimately affirmed the patentability of GM’s claimed design, prompting LKQ to appeal to the Federal Circuit. On appeal, LKQ argued that the PTAB’s obviousness analysis utilized tests overruled by the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR, and, as such, the obviousness standard for design patents should mirror the standard for utility patents set forth in KSR. However, a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit disagreed, noting in relevant part that “it is not clear the Supreme Court has overruled” the tests for obviousness applied by the PTAB.Continue Reading Federal Circuit to Decide Whether KSR Applies to Design Patents

Can a petitioner’s reply in an IPR proceeding present new arguments and evidence responding to a proposed claim construction first raised in the patent owner’s response?  In Axonics, Inc. v. Medtronic, Inc., Nos. 2022-1532, 2022-1533 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 7, 2023), the Federal Circuit answered in the affirmative, vacating the PTAB’s final written decision of

After the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Arthrex, Inc., the Patent Office implemented an interim process for the Director to review Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions in AIA trials. The Office sought public feedback on the process last year (link) and received more than 4,000 responses (link)! The process has yet to be formalized via traditional notice and comment rulemaking, though someday, perhaps, it will. Until then, the Patent Office continues to offer new updates and information, most recently on July 24, 2023.Continue Reading PTAB Updates and Expands the Director Review Process and Offers Transparency in Ex Parte Appeals

103

In Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GMBH v. Mylan Pharms, Inc., No. 21-1981 (Fed. Cir. May 9, 2023), the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s finding that Sanofi’s patent claims were obvious, determining the PTAB used the wrong test for deciding whether an existing patent was “analogous” to the one being challenged.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals had asserted all claims

Isolated on white background with clipping path. 3D render.

The Patent Office’s Director recently notified the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the Office’s intent to set or adjust several fees that patent applicants, patent owners, and those challenging patents in AIA trials must pay. For applicants, this includes fee increases for filing applications and tiered fees for filing terminal disclaimers. This also includes tiered fees for filing continuation applications more than three or seven years after the earliest claimed benefit application was filed. Part of those fees are to offset the lost maintenance fees that patents issuing from those applications would otherwise incur had they been filed and issued earlier—obtaining revenue from maintenance fees purportedly helps reduce examination costs.Continue Reading Patent Office Proposes Increasing AIA Trial Fees

Cut Expenses

Collateral estoppel is a resource-saving shortcut. Judges consider it when an issue previously received sufficient judicial attention. And they apply it when the issue was resolved against the party now seeking, in some way, to circumvent that resolution. In the absence of some intervening change in the law or new evidence, resolution likely would be the same as before. Addressing the issue anew would therefore be a waste of everyone’s resources. So, the judge bars that party from re-litigating the issue and applies the consequences of the prior resolution. Collateral estoppel’s logical simplicity is manifest, but its application is sometimes complicated.Continue Reading Obvious Variants and the Hand of Fate

In early February 2023, the Patent Office’s Director designated as precedential the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in Xerox Corp. v. Bytemark, Inc., IPR2022-00624, Paper 9 (PTAB Aug. 24, 2022). In this decision, the Board denied a petition seeking inter partes review. The petitioner asserted the challenged patent claims were obvious over printed publication prior art. One of the claimed features was not asserted to be disclosed in the published prior art, but rather asserted to be part of an ordinarily skilled artisan’s common knowledge. The Board characterized this as a “conclusory assertion,” and gave little weight to the accompanying expert witness’s declaration cited in support. Why? Because the declaration, according to the Board, “merely repeats, verbatim, the conclusory assertion for which it is offered to support,” and “does not cite to any additional supporting evidence or provide any technical reasoning [in] support.” Id. at 15.Continue Reading No Weight for Unsupported Expert Witness Testimony

The Chaos of Too Many Rules | Angry boss shout in chaos office because of failure deadline. Stressed vector cartoon characters.

Last year, a district court applied the doctrine of collateral estoppel to dismiss an infringement suit after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board decided to cancel the asserted patent’s claims in an inter partes review. In the ensuing appeal of the court’s decision, the Federal Circuit granted the patent owner’s (Jump Rope’s) unopposed motion for summary affirmance. Jump Rope Sys., LLC v. Coulter Ventures, LLC, Appeal 22-1624 (Fed. Cir. June 28, 2022). Jump Rope presented the unopposed motion after the Federal Circuit denied its motion that the court go en banc.  Jump Rope had sought a determination by the court as a whole that parallel civil litigation seeking to enforce those canceled claims was not moot and could proceed, potentially to an infringement judgment and consequent remedy. Jump Rope has since presented the same argument to the Supreme Court in a petition for a writ of certiorari. Brief of Petitioner, Jump Rope Sys., LLC v. Coulter Ventures, LLC, Sup. Ct. Dkt. 22-298 (Sept. 26, 2022).Continue Reading This Seems Absurd, but …

PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious
PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious

Artificial Intelligence (AI) typically involves certain common aspects. This includes, for example, training data, AI training algorithm(s) that use the training data to train an AI model, and predictions and/or classifications as output from the trained AI model. Could a person of ordinary skill in the art (e.g., a computer scientist) find it obvious to combine these common aspects to arrive at any given AI-based invention? The Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently answered “no” in its final written decision in Intel Corporation v. Health Discovery Corporation, IPR2021-00552, Paper No. 38 (September 12, 2022).
Continue Reading PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious