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Archive for April, 2017

Five Important Case Rulings You Should Familiarize Yourself With

April 17th, 2017 Alexander No comments

1. Phigenix Inc. v. ImmunoGen Inc.

Those considering challenging a patent may have to think twice.

In January, the Federal Circuit ruled that a party unsatisfied with a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) verdict may appeal; however, the party is still obligated to satisfy the constitutional requirements for instituting a proceeding in an Article III court.

Approximately 80 percent of PTAB cases are regarding infringement litigation. Although the parties challenging patents may bring cases to the board, the ruling essentially implies that the parties may not be able to appeal if they lose.

In addition, this ruling means that it is extremely imperative to obtain evidence of any contention among the parties on the record at the beginning of the case at the PTAB in order to safeguard the right to appeal the board’s verdict.

2. In re: Van Os

In this case, the Federal Circuit held that a pronouncement that a patent is invalid as obvious necessitates additional detail. It is not sufficient to state that it would be sound sense to combine prior art to arrive at a claimed invention. The Court stated that “such a conclusory assertion with no explanation is inadequate to support a finding that there would have been a motivation to combine.”

3. Secure Axcess LLC v. PNC Bank NA

In February, the Federal Circuit’s ruling in this case further restricted the amount of patents subject to review under the AIA’s covered business method (CBM) patent review program. Only patents containing a financial component in the claims are subject to review. The Court held that the Secure Axcess patent on web page authentication contains no financial components in tis claims, and thus the invention can be utilized by any company. It is irrelevant that the patent was generally asserted in opposition to banks. The patent should not have been administered under CBM review and then invalidated by the PTAB.

4. Mentor Graphics Corp. v. EVE_USA Inc.

In March, the Federal Circuit affirmed a $36 million award against Synopsys. This case was brought by Mentor Graphics regarding computer emulator technology. The Court ruled that after the Panduit analysis is done, the ensuing damages does not need to be allocated so that they only include the patented invention.

5. Personal Web Technologies LLC v. Apple Inc.

The Federal Circuit’s ruling in this case disapproved of the PTAB’s actions for insufficient justifications and remanded for further proceedings. The Court stated that subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, government entities must still produce “logical and rational” explanations for its verdicts so that courts can review them.

For more information, see Law360.



Unwired Planet LLC v. Apple Inc.

April 9th, 2017 Alexander No comments

This case, involving two huge tech companies, takes place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Unwired Planet is seeking $33 million in damages from Apple for infringement of its wireless, location and voice recognition patents. Unwired Planet asserts that the $33 million is equitable in light of the fact that Apple is seeking $400 from Samsung in a similar proceeding. On the other hand, Apple contends that the damages it was seeking in the Samsung case is irrelevant to the case at bar. Judge Chhabria granted Apple’s motion in limine, agreeing with Apple.

Judge Chhabria ordered Unwired Planet to reveal documents in its infringement case with Samsung and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Upon discovering this, Tracey B. Davies of Gibson Dunn, attorney for Apple, asserted that Unwired Planet’s witnesses were presenting figures “directly contrary” to information they offered during the case. In addition, Davies contended that Apple was not able to depose those involved in the case, thereby substantially prejudicing Apple. Although Judge Chhabria has not seen Apple’s sanction bid, his “preliminary reaction” is to reject it.

Furthermore, Judge Chhabria mentioned that he will not excuse jurors during jury selection just because they are Apple consumers.

For more information, see Law360.



Patent Glory Days Limited for East Texas

April 1st, 2017 Alexander No comments

East Texas has a long-standing reputation as a “patent hotspot.” Judges in the Eastern District of Texas are familiar with patents as they have ruled over numerous cases. Likewise, many potential jurors also have some type of experience with patents. In 1999, the amount of patent cases in East Texas was less than 100, but by 2007, this number skyrocketed to 369. By 2011, East Texas was recognized as a favorable patent location.

Patent holders favor the Eastern District of Texas because of the benefits and advantages that it offers for plaintiffs. To begin with, the discovery process happens fairly quickly and the judges in the district are less susceptible than judges in other districts to summary judgment motions. In addition, there are methods which permit the first parts of a suit to advance predictably without a lot of court involvement.

A high-profile case is putting East Texas at risk of losing its long-established dominance. This Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case regarding where patent suits can be filed, specifically Section 1400(b) of the U.S. Code. This statute states that patent suits can be brought “in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business.”

Kraft Foods Group Brands brought suit against TC Heartland LLC in the District of Delaware, alleging infringement of its concentrated liquid dispenser patents. After TC Heartland unsuccessfully moved the case to the Southern District of Indiana, it filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. TC Heartland asserts that this statute is allowing patent holders to forum-shop, leading to inequitable results. TC Heartland contends that patent suits should only be allowed be to be filed where a company is incorporated, citing Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp.

However, if this were to happen, a large number of patent plaintiffs would be forced out of Texas and into Delaware, where numerous companies are incorporated. While a number of people think that limiting where patent suits can be filed would create impediments for nonpracticing entities and reduce the number of lawsuits, others believe that it would have little impact.

For more information, see Law360.

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