Sections 102/103

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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In a recent non-precedential decision, Snap-on Inc. v. Milwaukee Elec.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

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 Should Have Considered Argument Raised in “Redundant,” Non-instituted Ground

In CRFD Research Ltd. v. Matal, No. 2016-2198 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 5, 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that the PTAB erred in its obviousness analysis, in part by failing to consider an argument the IPR petitioner made in a ground that the PTAB determined was “redundant” to the instituted grounds. Petitioner Hulu, LLC, challenged claims … 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

Eli Lilly’s Pemetrexed Therapy Claims Survive Challenge At PTAB

The Federal Circuit’s decision in Eli Lilly & Co. v. Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., 845 F.3d 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2017) attracted much attention for applying the theory of divided infringement in the context of pharmaceutical therapeutic regimen claims.  Before the Federal Circuit decision, a scrum of petitioners successfully petitioned for IPR of the Lilly patent, … 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

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

Assertion of “Routine Optimization” Without Additional Reasoning Insufficient to Support Obviousness Conclusion

Recent Federal Circuit decisions reversing or remanding PTAB holdings of obviousness have faulted the Board for failing to clearly articulate its reasoning.  See our previous posts here and here.  In In re Stepan Co., No. 2016-1811 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 25, 2017), a split CAFC panel vacated a PTAB ex parte appeal decision affirming an obviousness … Continue Reading

Petitioner Made Rebuttal Argument in Reply, Not an Improper New Argument

PTAB rules prohibit raising new arguments in a reply brief, but it can be difficult to distinguish between an improper reply argument and a proper rebuttal. In Idemitsu Kosan Co. v. SFC Co., No. 2016-2721 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 15, 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that the IPR petitioner properly made a rebuttal argument—not a belated, … Continue Reading

Rejection of Claims Containing Functional Language and a Negative Limitation Affirmed by Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in In re Chudik, Appeal 2016-2673 (Fed. Cir. August 25, 2017) (non-prec.), offers patent practitioners a cautionary tale and good teaching points about the propriety of negative limitations and functional claim language.  No two situations are the same, of course, but the case offers a real-world example of how claims … Continue Reading

Secondary Considerations Again Fail to Shore Up Patent Estate

In IPR 2016-00036, a Bosch windshield wiper patent succumbed to Costco’s challenge on grounds of obviousness.   In its final written decision, the Board held claims 13, 17, and 18 of U.S. Patent No. 6,944,905 obvious.  IPR 2016-00039, discussed here, is another Board decision holding obvious several claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,228,588, another member of … Continue Reading

Eli Lilly Successfully Challenges U Penn Erbitux® Claims at PTAB, Derailing Infringement Suit

The PTAB recently canceled the University of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Patent No. 7,625,558, a potentially fatal blow to the University’s suit against Eli Lilly and Company alleging its cancer therapeutic Erbitux® (centuximab) infringes the patent.  Eli Lilly and Co. v. Trustees of the Univ. of Penn., Case IPR2016-00458 (July 13, 2017). The PTAB’s decision resolved testimony … Continue Reading

Statement of Agreement or Disagreement with Attorney Argument Alone Does Not Provide Substantial Evidence To Support PTAB Findings

In Google Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures II LLC, Appeal 2016-1543, 2016-1545 (Fed. Cir. July 10, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling some claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,121,960, but vacated the portion of the decision that refused to cancel other claims.  With respect to the upheld claims, the court remanded … Continue Reading

Kyle Bass Gets Fresenius’ Diprivan Claims Canceled in IPR

On June 7, 2017, the PTAB issued a final written decision in IPR 2016-00254 canceling claims in a Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC (Fresenius) patent covering Diprivan®. The PTAB instituted the IPR in response to a petition filed by hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and his colleague Erich Spangenberg. Diprivan® is the commercial name for propofol, … Continue Reading

Uncorroborated Declaration Not Sufficient to Avoid § 102(e) Prior Art

In EmeraChem Holdings, LLC v. Volkswagen Group of American, Inc. (Fed. Cir. June 15, 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that the Patent Owner’s uncorroborated declaration was insufficient to show that asserted prior art under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 102(e) represented the work of the same inventive entity as the challenged claims, and with respect to certain … Continue Reading

Different Invalidity Conclusions by PTAB and Federal Courts Prohibited in Inter Partes Reexamination But Permissible in IPR

In Fairchild (Taiwan) Corp. v. Power Integrations, Inc., Appeal 2017-1002 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 21, 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that no inter partes reexamination proceeding can be brought or maintained on issues that a party raised or could have raised in a since-concluded civil action. Specifically, once the court issues a final judgment in the civil … Continue Reading
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