Sections 102/103

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Federal Circuit Provides some Clarity as to when a Claim Preamble is Limiting

In Shoes by Firebug LLC, v. Stride Rite Children’s Group, LLC, Appeals 2019-1622, and 2019-1623 (Fed. Cir. June 25, 2020), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s IPR decisions that the claims of two challenged Firebug patents, directed to illumination systems for footwear, were unpatentable for obviousness. Although the PTAB erred in determining that the word … 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

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

Come on, Board, Finish What You Started

The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Samsung Electronics America, Inc. v. Prisua Engineering Corp., Appeals 2019-1169, -1260 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 4, 2020), is remarkable, but not for its holding: “the Board may not cancel claims for indefiniteness in an IPR proceeding.” After 10,000 IPRs, hardly anyone thought otherwise. But it’s interesting nonetheless that someone so … 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

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

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

Update: On September 26, 2019, the court vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision. 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, … 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
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