As discussed in a recent post, On May 21, 2024, the Federal Circuit issued its en banc decision in LKQ Corp. v. GM Global Tech. Operations LLC, significantly impacting design patent law. The court overturned the long-standing RosenDurling test, a two-part test used to assess the obviousness of design patents. This decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for patent practitioners and clients alike.Continue Reading Federal Circuit Abandons Rosen-Durling Test for Design Patent Obviousness

In LKQ v. GM, a May 21, 2024 en banc decision on an appeal of an IPR final written decision determining that the challenged claim of GM’s U.S. Design Patent No. D797,625 (directed to the design for a vehicle front fender) was not obvious, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision, overruling the RosenDurling test for obviousness of design patents and articulating general guidance for a new obviousness test it determined was more consistent with Supreme Court authority, in particular the “flexible standards” applied in Smith v. Whitman Saddle Co., 148 U.S. 674 (1893), Graham v. John Deere, 383 U.S. 1 (1966), and KSR v. Teleflex, 550 U.S. 398 (2007). Continue Reading Federal Circuit Reframes Test for Obviousness of Design Patents

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

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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

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On February 9, 2023 the PTAB issued a Final Written Decision in Early Warning Services, LLC and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. WePay Global Payments LLC, determining the design claim of US D930,702 (“D’702”) unpatentable, as both anticipated and obvious based on a single reference, Reddy, US 2018/0260806 A1 (“Reddy”). See Consolidated PGR2022-00031 and PGR2022-00045, Paper No. 34. D’702 claimed a display screen having an animated graphical user interface (GUI).Continue Reading PTAB Invalidates GUI, but Leaves Obviousness Test Gooey

A Decision Poised to Pivot on Credibility

The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Google LLC v. IPA Technologies, Inc., Appeals 2021-1179, -1180, and -1185 (Fed. Cir. May 19, 2022), offers three instructive reminders. First, a publication disqualified from consideration as prior art during prosecution may be resurrected as prior art during an AIA trial. Second, the burden of producing evidence is not static, but rather one that shifts among trial participants. Third, when presented with a “highly relevant evidentiary conflict”—like conflicting fact-witness testimony—the Patent Trial and Appeal Board must resolve it “and make appropriate findings of fact.” Google, Slip Op. at 11. When it doesn’t do this, it’s getting the case back.
Continue Reading A Decision Poised to Pivot on Credibility

No design patents for you!--Extension of Fox Factory Complicates Reliance on Indicia of Non-ObviousnessIn Campbell Soup Co. v. Gamon Plus, Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s finding that Gamon’s design patents on gravity-fed displays for soup were non-obvious. 10 F.4th 1268 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 19, 2021) (“Gamon II”). As the Supreme Court denied Gamon’s petition for writ of certiorari (in which Gamon argued it did not have an opportunity to request review of the PTAB’s decision by a properly-appointed Director of the USPTO), here’s a closer look at the Federal Circuit’s opinion.
Continue Reading No design patents for you!–Extension of Fox Factory Complicates Reliance on Indicia of Non-Obviousness

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

Headaches in Claiming Antibody-based Inventions Broadly

Recent Federal Circuit decisions call into question the value of patents broadly claiming inventions on antibodies and their function in treating debilitating diseases. The decisions in these cases originated in district courts and arguably swept aside the merits of scientific breakthroughs because the inventions claimed were not enabled or were otherwise insufficiently described to justify their broad breadth.* In Teva Pharmaceuticals Int’l GmbH v. Eli Lilly and Company, Appeals 2020-1747, -1748, and -1750 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2021), the Federal Circuit again dealt with patents broadly claiming antibodies.
Continue Reading The Headaches in Claiming Antibody-based Inventions Broadly

Cancelled - An Invalidated Patent Still Qualifies As 102(e) ArtOn May 28, 2021, the Federal Circuit found obvious the claims of a patent directed to telepharmacy, describing a process allowing a pharmacist to remotely supervise and approve the work of non-pharmacists in filling drug orders. The court reversed the PTAB’s decision to the contrary. Becton Dickinson and Co. v. Baxter Corp. Englewood, 998 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2021). In reaching its conclusion, the court clarified that a prior art patent that has previously been invalidated still qualifies as prior art under pre-AIA 102(e).  Id. at 1345.
Continue Reading An Invalidated Patent Still Qualifies As 102(e) Art