Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

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The patents at issue are directed to the fusion protein etanercept and methods of making the same. Etanercept is the active ingredient in Immunex’s biologic drug Enbrel®, which is primarily indicated for reducing the signs and symptoms of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder. Sandoz filed an abbreviated Biologics License Application (aBLA), seeking approval to market Erelzi, a biosimilar version of Enbrel®. In a patent infringement suit under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, Sandoz stipulated to infringement of the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit. The district court held that Sandoz had failed to prove that the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit were invalid. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims of obviousness-type double patenting; failure to meet the written description requirement; and obviousness. View "Immunex Corp v. Sandoz Inc." on Justia Law

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ECT sued ShoppersChoice for infringement of its 261 patent, directed “to systems and methods that notify a party of travel status associated with one or more mobile things. ShoppersChoice challenged claim 11 as patent-ineligible, 35 U.S.C. 101. ShoppersChoice moved to join a patent eligibility hearing set in a parallel lawsuit, in which ECT alleged claim 11 infringement against other companies. The court conducted a consolidated hearing and invalidated claim 11 as directed to the abstract idea of providing advance notification of the pickup or delivery of a mobile thing. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that “the claim only entails applying longstanding commercial practices using generic computer components and technology.” ShoppersChoice sought attorney fees, citing evidence that ECT sent standardized demand letters and filed repeat infringement actions to obtain low-value “license fees” and force settlements. Before the court ruled, a California District Court awarded attorney fees against ECT in another case related to the patent. The Federal Circuit vacated a holding that the case was not exceptional. A pattern of litigation abuses characterized by the repeated filing of patent infringement actions for the sole purpose of forcing settlements, with no intention of testing the merits of one’s claims, is relevant to a district court’s exceptional case determination. The court clearly erred by failing to consider the objective unreasonableness of ECT’s alleging infringement of claim 11 against ShoppersChoice. View "Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC v. ShoppersChoice.Com, LLC" on Justia Law

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On inter partes review (IPR) of B/E’s patents, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found certain claims unpatentable as obvious. The patents relate to space-saving technologies for aircraft enclosures such as lavatory enclosures, closets, and galleys. The patents are directed to space-saving modifications to the walls of aircraft enclosures; they are not directed to the structures contained within those walls. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the Board incorporated a claim limitation that is not present in the prior art. The challenged claims would have been obvious because modifying a combination of prior art to include a second recess was nothing more than the predictable application of known technology. The Board fully articulated its conclusion of obviousness, and substantial evidence supports the Board’s determination of obviousness independent of whether it erred in considering design drawings. View "B/E Aerospace, Inc. v. C&D Zodiac, Inc" on Justia Law

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Nike’s patents share a specification and are directed to methods of manufacturing an article of footwear with a textile upper. Adidas petitioned for inter partes review of certain claims. The Patent Board held that Adidas had not demonstrated that the challenged claims are unpatentable as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, first holding that Adidas had standing. The companies are in direct competition. Nike refused to grant Adidas a covenant not to sue, confirming that Adidas’ risk of infringement is concrete and substantial. Substantial evidence supports a finding that the claims are not obvious. The claims recite a method of “mechanically-manipulating a yarn with a circular knitting machine . . . to form a cylindrical textile structure.” The process involves removing a textile element from the textile structure and incorporating it into an upper of the article of footwear. Adidas had not demonstrated that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to combine prior references and failed to identify which reference or combination of references it was relying on to disclose each limitation of the challenged claims. View "Adidas AG v. Nike, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Firebug patents are generally directed to footwear illumination systems. According to the patents, while light-up shoes are not new to the industry, there are many possible structural designs. In some designs, the light sources are external to the footwear; in others, the lights are integrated into the shoes. The Firebug patents purport to disclose an improved structure for internally illuminated footwear. The patents describe footwear comprising a sole and an upper portion having three layers—a liner (the innermost layer), an interfacing layer, and a light-diffusing layer. The light sources are connected to the interfacing layer between the interfacing layer and the light-diffusing layer. The interfacing layer is reflective and maximizes the amount of light that exits through the light-diffusing layer. Stride Rite, Firebug’s competitor, filed an infringement suit. Stride Rite, in response, filed petitions for inter partes review of certain claims. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found the claims unpatentable as obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed. While the preamble of claim 1 of one patent limits the challenged claims to require textile footwear, the Board’s ultimate conclusion of obviousness is correct under the proper claim construction and any error was therefore harmless. The obviousness determination was supported by substantial evidence. View "Shoes by Firebus LLC v. Stride Rite Children's Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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Personal Web’s patents share a largely common specification and claim priority to an abandoned patent application, which was filed in 1995. According to the specification, there was a problem with the way computer networks identified data in their systems. There was “no direct relationship between the data names” and the contents of the data item. Computer networks could become clogged with duplicate data, and the efficiency and integrity of data processing systems could be impaired. The inventors purported to solve this problem by devising “True Names” for data items. The system created a “substantially unique” identifier for each data item that depended only on the content of the data itself and did not depend on purportedly less reliable means of identifying data items, such as user-provided file names. PersonalWeb sued Amazon for patent infringement. After the district court issued its claim construction order, PersonalWeb stipulated to the dismissal of all its claims against Amazon with prejudice; the court subsequently entered judgment against PersonalWeb. In 2018, PersonalWeb filed dozens of new lawsuits against website operators, many of which were Amazon’s customers. Amazon intervened. The Federal Circuit affirmed a declaratory judgment that PersonalWeb’s lawsuits against Amazon’s customers were barred as a result of the prior lawsuit brought by PersonalWeb against Amazon. View "In Re PersonalWeb Technologies LLC" on Justia Law

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Almirall markets ACZONE®, a prescription medication used to treat acne. Almirall’s 926 and 219 patents are listed in the FDA Orange Book as claiming ACZONE. Before seeking approval to market a generic version of ACZONE, Amneal sought inter partes review (IPR), challenging claims of the patents. Amneal filed its Abbreviated New Drug Application with the FDA. Almirall sued, alleging infringement of only the 219 patent. Amneal counterclaimed that the 926 patent is invalid and is not infringed. Almirall offered to enter into a covenant-not-to-sue on the 926 patent upon the dismissal of the IPR. With the parties unable to reach a settlement, the underlying IPR on the 926 patent proceeded. The Patent Board found claims of the 926 patent not unpatentable. Amneal appealed but later moved to voluntarily dismiss its appeal. Almirall agreed to the dismissal but argued that Amneal litigated in an unreasonable manner by continuing to pursue the IPR after the covenant-not-to-sue was offered, and Almirall sought removal of the patent from the Orange Book. Almirall sought (35 U.S.C. 285) fees and costs incurred from the date settlement negotiations ended to the date of the IPR trial. The Federal Circuit denied the request. Even if section 285 is not limited to district court proceedings, the plain meaning of its reference to “[t]he court” speaks only to awarding fees incurred during, in close relation to, or as a direct result of, judicial proceedings, not to fees incurred for work in Patent Office proceedings before the court asserted jurisdiction. View "Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Almirall, LLC" on Justia Law

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Odyssey filed the 678 patent application in 2004. After several procedural disputes and appeals, the Patent Board reversed an examiner’s rejections. The Technology Center Director issued an “examiner’s request for rehearing.” Odyssey did not address the merits, objecting to the procedural propriety of the request, and requesting reconsideration. Odyssey eventually made merits arguments, but without waiting for the Board’s decision, it sought judicial review. Odyssey filed its 603 application in 2006. After a final rejection of all claims, Odyssey appealed and filed a petition demanding that the examiner make certain evidence part of the written record and supplement his responses. The examiner further explained his decision. The Technology Center Director dismissed the petition as moot. Odyssey believed that the examiner’s answer to its appeal brief included new grounds for rejection. The Technology Center Director dismissed that assertion. Rather than filing a brief replying to the examiner’s answer, Odyssey sought judicial review. The PTO amended its rules of practice in ex parte appeals; final rules were published in November 2011, applicable to all ex parte appeals filed on or after January 23, 2012. Odyssey challenged the legality of these amendments. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of all three claims. In the first two counts, Odyssey was challenging actions not yet final before the Board; the Board could provide Odyssey with an adequate remedy, and if not, Odyssey had remedies under 35 U.S.C. 141 or 145. Count III was untimely under 28 U.S.C. 2401, the six-year statute of limitations for a facial APA challenge, which runs from the date the regulations were published. The complaint was filed in January 2018. View "Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corp. v. Iancu" on Justia Law

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McRO’s patent describes a method for automatically generating animations, with a three-dimensional appearance, depicting lip movements and facial expressions. The method uses two basic building blocks: “phonemes” and “morph targets.” A “phoneme,” the patent explains, is “the smallest unit of speech, and corresponds to a single sound.” A “morph target” is a model of a mouth position—one “reference model” displays a “neutral mouth position,” while other models display “other mouth positions, each corresponding to a different phoneme or set of phonemes.” McRO sued several video game developers alleging infringement of three method claims of the patent. The district court held the claims invalid for ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101, but the Federal Circuit reversed. On remand, the district court ultimately held that the developers were entitled to summary judgment of noninfringement because the accused products do not practice the claimed methods and to summary judgment of invalidity because the specification fails to enable the full scope of the claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of noninfringement, agreeing with the developers that the claim term “morph weight set” requires three-dimensional vectors. The court vacated the judgment of invalidity and remanded for further proceedings in light of, among other things, the developers’ offer to withdraw their counterclaims without prejudice. View "McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America, Inc." on Justia Law

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ESIP’s patent relates to “a novel system and method for combining germicidal protection and aromatic diffusion in enclosed habitable spaces.” ’ Products of this type are commonly known as “vaporizers” or “diffusers.” On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that certain claims of ESIP’s patent are invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, first rejecting ESIP’s claim that the Board should not have instituted inter partes review because appellee Puzhen failed to identify “all real parties in interest” as required by 35 U.S.C. 312. The Board’s decision to institute inter partes review is final and not appealable. The Board’s determination of obviousness in light of prior art was supported by substantial evidence. View "ESIP Series 2, LLC v. Puzhen Life USA, LLC" on Justia Law