Sections 102/103

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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

A Reference is Publicly Accessible if a Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art Could Access the Reference

In a recent decision vacating the PTAB’s finding that a draft standard for video coding emailed to a listserv was not publicly accessible, the Federal Circuit again corrected the PTAB’s application of the legal standard to determine the public accessibility of prior art. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Infobridge Pte. Ltd., case no. 2018-2007, 2018-2012, … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Obviousness Decision by Board, Discusses Impact of Standing on Triggering of §315(b)’s Time Bar

In Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. v. F’real Foods, LLC, Appeal No. IPR2016-01107 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 16, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision in an IPR upholding the patentability of a patent claim under 35 U.S.C. § 103. Additionally, the court discussed but did not determine whether improper … Continue Reading

Trade Show Publication Dooms Patent in IPR Appeal Despite Contrary Decision in ITC Appeal

Inter partes review not only provides a faster and cheaper way to challenge patent validity, but also expands the Patent Office’s ability to develop law on esoteric issues relating to prior art. The Federal Circuit’s decision Nobel Biocare Services AG v. Instradent USA, Inc. is another in a line of cases arising out of IPR … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Puts Nail in Coffin For Petitioner’s Case Challenging Casket Patent

In Matthews International Corporation v. Vandor Corporation, No. 2017-1889 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 27, 2018) (non-precedential), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision to uphold the claims of Vandor’s patent that Matthews challenged in inter partes review. The claims at issue “are directed to ‘a casket arrangement’ made of pliable material, such as cardboard,” … Continue Reading

Tradeshow Catalog Qualifies as Prior Art

Update: On November 1, 2018, the CAFC issued a modified opinion and an order denying Contour’s petition for rehearing en banc.  The modified opinion is consistent with the original petition, discussed below, insofar as the PTAB decision was vacated and remanded, but adds the following statement at page 8: “When direct availability to an ordinarily … 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

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 May Cite New References Not Cited in the IPR Petition

In affirming a PTAB IPR decision canceling claims for obviousness, the Federal Circuit concluded that the PTAB’s reliance on references not included in the original petition did not violate due process or the patent owner’s procedural rights under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  Anacor Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu, 889 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2018). Citing … Continue Reading

Contour of Soup Can Saves Gravity Feed Display Design Patent

Next trip to the grocery store, stop in the canned soup aisle and take a closer look at how the canned soups are displayed on the shelves. You may notice a gravity feed dispenser with a label area. Between 2002 and 2009, Petitioner Campbell Soup Co. purchased $31 million of Patent Owner Gamon’s gravity feed … 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

Inventor’s Uncorroborated Testimony Not Sufficient to Swear Behind Reference

Attempting to “swear behind” an alleged prior art reference has been common practice in IPRs, going back to the first IPR, Garmin Int’l, Inc. v. Cuozzo Speed Tech. LLC, IPR2012-00001 (PTAB 2013), aff’d sub nom. In re Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC, 793 F.3d 1268 (Fed. Cir. 2015), aff’d sub nom., Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC v. … 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

Play the Claim

Monsanto Technology LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Appeal 2017-1032 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 5, 2018), illustrates “[t]he life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one.” [1] The case concerns an inter partes reexamination of a Monsanto patent in which the Patent Office concluded the claimed subject matter was inherently described in an … Continue Reading

Rituxan Patent Spared by Failure to Establish Product Label as “Printed Publication”

A patent relating to a method of treating rheumatoid arthritis using rituximab recently survived its fourth IPR challenge. Celltrion, Inc. v. Biogen, Inc., IPR2016-01614 (PTAB Feb. 21, 2018). The PTAB determined that the Petitioners failed to establish that the challenged claims of the patent were obvious over prior art, in part, because of the Petitioners’ … Continue Reading

Petitioner Failed to Show That Patent Owner’s Drug Product Package Insert Was a Printed Publication

On February 9, 2018, the PTAB denied Sandoz Inc.’s petition for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,512,216, a patent owned by AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd. The patent recites methods for treating moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis with adalimumab, a human anti-tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) antibody.  The methods of the claimed invention involve subcutaneously administering … Continue Reading

Precedential and Informative Board Decision on Serial IPR Petitions

Serial IPR petitions directed to previously-challenged patents account for many of the petitions filed with the PTAB; however, 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) provides the Board with discretion to reject petitions where the same, or substantially the same, prior art or arguments have already been presented to the USPTO.  The Board recently designated as precedential part … 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

Avoid Creating Bad Blood with the Board

The Board recently denied a post grant review petition because the challenge was deemed redundant of the Patent Office’s earlier examination of similar claims in a related application. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. v. Complete Entertainment Resources  B.V., Case No. PGR2017-00038 (PTAB January 16, 2018). The decision offers a cautionary tale for patent practitioners.  The Board … Continue Reading
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