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

In early February 2023, the Patent Office’s Director designated as precedential the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in Xerox Corp. v. Bytemark, Inc., IPR2022-00624, Paper 9 (PTAB Aug. 24, 2022). In this decision, the Board denied a petition seeking inter partes review. The petitioner asserted the challenged patent claims were obvious over printed publication prior art. One of the claimed features was not asserted to be disclosed in the published prior art, but rather asserted to be part of an ordinarily skilled artisan’s common knowledge. The Board characterized this as a “conclusory assertion,” and gave little weight to the accompanying expert witness’s declaration cited in support. Why? Because the declaration, according to the Board, “merely repeats, verbatim, the conclusory assertion for which it is offered to support,” and “does not cite to any additional supporting evidence or provide any technical reasoning [in] support.” Id. at 15.Continue Reading No Weight for Unsupported Expert Witness Testimony

PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious
PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious

Artificial Intelligence (AI) typically involves certain common aspects. This includes, for example, training data, AI training algorithm(s) that use the training data to train an AI model, and predictions and/or classifications as output from the trained AI model. Could a person of ordinary skill in the art (e.g., a computer scientist) find it obvious to combine these common aspects to arrive at any given AI-based invention? The Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently answered “no” in its final written decision in Intel Corporation v. Health Discovery Corporation, IPR2021-00552, Paper No. 38 (September 12, 2022).
Continue Reading PTAB Concludes Artificial Intelligence Medical Device Patent Is Not Obvious

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