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 Circuit went on to rule that the PTAB had erred in rejecting Apple’s arguments as to those claim, and remanded the matter to the Board for further review.
Continue Reading Fitbit Dodges a Bullet—Entitled to Appeal Portion of Apple’s Petition Which It Did Not Join

Research Corporation Technologies, Inc. (RCT) sued Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Mylan), Breckenridge Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Breckinridge), and Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Alembic), in federal district court, accusing them of infringing United States Reissued Patent No. RE38,551. The patent claims pharmaceutical compositions useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other central nervous system disorders. Within one year of being served with the infringement complaint, Breckenridge alone petitioned the PTAB to institute inter partes review of the patent, but the PTAB denied the petition on its merits.
Continue Reading CAFC Hears IPR Appeal From Parties That Were Time-Barred From Filing Petition

In a routine AIA trial, the PTAB determined that challenged claims in a patent directed to HVAC systems were unpatentable as being obvious and anticipated by prior art. This trial was unusual, however, because the Board premised its anticipation conclusion on a joined IPR petition that successfully rectified evidentiary deficiencies in the same petitioner’s earlier IPR petition, which the Board granted only on obviousness grounds. The later IPR petition would have been time-barred but for the Board’s conclusion, according to an expanded panel of administrative patent judges (APJs), that the statutory joinder provision “permits joinder of issues, including new grounds of unpatentability, presented in the petition that accompanies the request for joinder.”
Continue Reading Adding Two More to the List of Serious Questions about AIA Trials

When a patent is co-owned by a state university and another party, an IPR may proceed against the remaining party even after the state university co-owner has been determined to have sovereign immunity from the proceeding.  Reactive Surfaces Ltd., LLP v. Toyota Motor Corp., [Case No. IPR2017-00572, Paper 32 (July 13, 2017)]. This recent decision was the first to address a situation where a university owned a patent jointly with a company.  This decision follows two earlier cases, Covidien v. University of Florida , discussed here, and NeoChord, Inc. v. University of Maryland, Baltimore, [Case No. IPR2016-00208, Paper 28 (PTAB, May 23, 2017)], where the Board determined that sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment as an “arm of the state” prevents an IPR from being instituted regarding patents owned by state universities.
Continue Reading IPR Challenge May Proceed Even in the Absence of Some Patent Owners

Merging concept illustrated by two different jigsaw piece a silver and a gold one.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (“Teva”) filed a Petition, seeking an IPR of claims 1–20 of Allergan’s U.S. Patent No. 8,642,556. [IPR2017-00579, Paper No. 9]  Along with the Petition, Teva filed a Motion for Joinder to join Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Allergan, Inc., IPR2016-01129.  This blog has previously reported on the topic of joinder in IPR Petitions here and here.

Teva’s Petition was not timely, having been filed more than one year after Allergan filed a complaint alleging infringement of the ‘556 patent against Teva.  Teva’s Motion for Joinder, however, was filed within one month of the date that the Board instituted review in response to Mylan’s Petition.  Under 37 C.F.R. § 42.122(b), Teva’s Motion for Joinder with Mylan’s Petition was timely.
Continue Reading One-Year Time Bar Does Not Apply to a Request for Joinder of IPR Proceedings

Apple Icon ImagesA little more than a month after the Delaware district court narrowly interpreted the IPR estoppel provision to suggest that it may not be necessary to include all known grounds so as to avoid estoppel in district court litigation, the same court issued a decision suggesting that the IPR estoppel provision may not be so narrow after all.  The decision adds to the growing confusion over the scope of the estoppel provision Congress wrote into the AIA.

On December 20, 2013, Parallel Networks Licensing, LLC (“Parallel Networks”) sued International Business Machines Corporation (“IBM”) in the Delaware district court for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,894,554 (“the ‘554 Patent”) and 6,415,335 (“the ‘335 Patent”).  Parallel Networks Licensing, LLC v. International Bus. Machs. Corp., Case No. 13-2072 (D. Del.).  IBM answered and counterclaimed seeking declaratory judgments of non-infringement and invalidity based on anticipation and obviousness.
Continue Reading Joinder Does Not Prevent Application of IPR Estoppel Provision

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In Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, the Supreme Court recognized that a “district court may find a patent claim to be valid, and the agency may later cancel that claim in its own review.”  The Court also recognized that because of the different evidentiary burdens in court versus before the agency—the Patent Office—“the possibility of inconsistent results is inherent to Congress’[s] regulatory design.” Is that inconsistency sensible? As good a case as any to consider that question involves a global pharmaceutical company, one of its top-selling drug products, and a patent it owns that covers the administration of that drug product.
Continue Reading The Possibility of Inconsistent Results Inherent to Congress’s Design of AIA Trial Reviews

Second Chance Just Ahead on Green Billboard.An expanded, split panel of the PTAB recently decided that it may be appropriate to join the same party’s serially-filed IPR petitions into a single proceeding, even when one such petition would otherwise be time-barred but for the joinder.  Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. v. Nidec Motor Corp., IPR2015-00762, Paper 16 (PTAB Oct. 5, 2015). The decision offers guidance on situations where the PTAB may exercise discretion in consolidating proceedings involving the same petitioner, and broadly interprets the statute to permit joinder of the same parties and issues. 
Continue Reading Split PTAB Ruling Allows Parties to Join Their Own Petitions