Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

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Arctic’s patents, directed to personal watercraft (PWC) steering systems, issued in 2004 and 2003, after Arctic stopped selling PWCs. In 2002, Arctic entered into a license agreement with Honda that expressly stated that Honda had no marking obligations. Honda began making and selling unmarked PWCs. Arctic asserted that Honda stopped selling unmarked products in 2013. Bombardier claimed that Honda continued to sell PWCs under the Arctic license until 2018. In 2014, Arctic sued Bombardier for infringement. The court held that Bombardier bore the burden of proving that Honda’s PWCs practiced the asserted claims and denied Bombardier’s motion to limit potential damages because of Honda’s sales of unmarked products. A jury awarded Arctic a royalty to begin in 2008 and found that Bombardier had willfully infringed the asserted claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed as to willfulness but vacated in part. Once an alleged infringer identifies products that it believes are unmarked patented articles subject to the 35 U.S.C. 287 notice requirements, the patentee bears the burden of proving that the products do not practice the claimed invention. On remand, Arctic conceded that it could not show that the Honda PWCs do not practice the asserted claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Bombardier. Section 287 continues to limit damages after a patentee or licensee ceases sales of unmarked products; willful infringement does not establish actual notice under section 287. View "Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit held that Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC improperly submitted a patent for listing in "the Orange Book" and that Sanofi was potentially liable under the antitrust laws to drug purchasers who were allegedly harmed by the effective extension of Sanofi's monopoly. At the center of this appeal was a publication maintained by the FDA called Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, known as "the Orange Book," which lists patents said by their owners to claim FDA-approved drugs. When a patent is listed in the Orange Book the patent-owning drug manufacturer has the ability to trigger an automatic, thirty-month suspension of the FDA's approval of a competing product. Plaintiffs alleged that Sanofi artificially restricted competition in the market for insulin glargine by improperly listing a certain patent in the Orange Book, thereby delaying competition in the insulin glargine market and resulting in inflated prices. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs' Sherman Act claims. The First Circuit vacated the dismissal as to Sanofi's alleged improper Orange Book listing of the patent, holding that Sanofi improperly submitted the patent for listing in the Orange Book and that Sanofi potentially liable under the antitrust laws to drug purchasers who were allegedly harmed by the effective extension of Sanofi's monopoly. View "In re Lantus Direct Purchaser Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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SIT sued Google for patent infringement in the Eastern District of Texas. Under 28 U.S.C. 1400(b), “[a]ny civil action for patent infringement may 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.” Under Supreme Court precedent, “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its state of incorporation for purposes of the patent venue statute; the Federal Circuit has held that a “regular and established place of business” must be: “a physical place in the district”; “regular and established”; and “the place of the defendant.” Google provides video and advertising services to residents of the Eastern District of Texas through the Internet. Google Global Cache (GGC) servers function as local caches for Google’s data. Google contracts with internet service providers within the district to host Google’s GGC servers. The GGC servers cache only a small portion of content that is popular with nearby users but can serve that content with shorter wait times than Google’s central server infrastructure due to their physical proximity to the ISP’s users. No Google employee installed, performed maintenance on, or physically accessed any of the GGC servers. The district court denied Google’s motion to dismiss. The Federal Circuit ordered that the case be dismissed or transferred. A “regular and established place of business” requires the regular, physical presence of an employee or other agent of the defendant conducting the defendant’s business at the alleged “place of business.” View "In Re: Google LLC" on Justia Law

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Serta filed a patent infringement action against Casper, citing the 173, 763, and 935 patents. Those patents cover mattresses that include a channel and methods for forming it. These mattresses can have varying areas of firmness by inserting reinforcement of various types into their channels that can be located at regions where additional support is desired. Casper filed three motions for summary judgment directed to non-infringement of Casper’s accused mattresses, accused methods of manufacturing, and redesigned mattresses. While Casper’s summary judgment motions were pending, the parties executed a settlement agreement and advised the district court of the settlement. The district court nevertheless granted Casper’s summary judgment motions of non-infringement. It later denied Serta’s motions to vacate the summary judgment order and to enforce the settlement agreement. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded with instructions to enforce the settlement agreement. There is no contention that the settlement or the relief sought by Serta is unlawful or contrary to public policy. There is also no dispute that the parties executed the agreement before the district court issued the summary judgment order; Casper has admitted that the agreement was binding. The settlement agreement mooted the case even though it included terms that required future performance. View "Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC v. Casper Sleep Inc." on Justia Law

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Acoustic’s 841 patent relates to communications systems for utility providers to remotely monitor groups of utility meters, e.g., electricity meters. According to Acoustic, the claimed invention was “an improvement upon prior art automated meter reading systems that used expensive and problematic radio frequency (RF) transmitters, or systems that relied on human meter-readers using hand-held or vehicle-mounted short-range wireless devices to obtain meter readings when they were in a customer’s vicinity.” On Network’s petition, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review (IPR). Nine days after institution, Network agreed to merge with Itron, an entity undisputedly time-barred under 35 U.S.C. 315(b). Network and Itron completed the merger during the IPR proceeding. The Board later issued a final written decision and found the challenged claim unpatentable. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting Acoustic’s claim that the inter partes review was time-barred due to Network’s and Itron’s merger-related activities. Acoustic waived its time-bar argument because it failed to present that argument before the Board. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s unpatentability findings based on anticipation. View "Acoustic Technology, Inc. v. Itron Networked Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Andrea sued Apple for infringement of Andrea’s 345 patent, relating to certain aspects of digital audio processing. Apple filed two inter partes review (IPR) petitions. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted review. In its 626 IPR Final Written Decision, the Board concluded that, in light of prior art, several challenged claims were unpatentable. The Board declined to consider certain arguments in Apple’s reply brief because Apple was raising new arguments in its reply brief. In its 627 Decision, the Board concluded that, in light of other cited art, several challenged claims are unpatentable. The Board construed the term “periodically” in favor of Andrea. Between the two IPRs, the Board held that all challenged claims except claims 6–9 are unpatentable. The Federal Circuit vacated with respect to the 626 IPR; the Board erred in refusing to consider Apple’s reply arguments. Apple’s reply does not cite any new evidence or “unidentified portions” of the reference at issue but merely demonstrates another example of the same algorithm to further explain why the reference discloses the “current minimum” and “future minimum” limitations of claims 6–9. Apple’s reply arguments are responsive to arguments raised in Andrea’s Patent Owner Response. The petitioner in an IPR may introduce new evidence after the petition stage if the evidence is a legitimate reply to evidence introduced by the patent owner. The court affirmed with respect to the 627 IPR, finding the decision supported by substantial evidence. View "Apple Inc. v. Andrea Electronics Corp." on Justia Law

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Cheetah’s 836 patent is directed to optical communication networks. AT&T uses hardware and software components in its fiber-optic communication networks. Cheetah asserted that AT&T infringes the 836 patent by making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing its fiber equipment and services. Ciena was allowed to intervene in the suit because it manufactures and supplies components for AT&T’s fiber-optic systems; those components formed the basis of some of Cheetah’s infringement allegations. Ciena and AT&T then moved for summary judgment that Cheetah’s infringement claim was barred by agreements settling previous litigation. Cheetah had sued Ciena and Fujitsu and executed two license agreements—one with Ciena and one with Fujitsu. Ciena and AT&T argued that the licenses included implicit licenses to the 836 patent covering all of the accused products. The district court dismissed the suit. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting Cheetah’s argument that the parties did not intend that the licenses extend to the 836 patent. The court noted the presumption that a license to a patent includes a license to its continuation. The naming of certain patents expressly does not evince a clear mutual intent to exclude other patents falling within the general definitions in an agreement. That is especially true here where the licenses list broad categories of patents without reciting their numbers individually. View "Cheetah Omni LLC v. AT&T Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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HVO’s 941 and 488 patents share a specification and are directed to methods and devices for controlling an oxygen generating system, which is used to sustain and manage airflow for torch glass artists who use surface mix glass torches. HVO sued Oxygen Frog for infringement. A jury concluded that claims 1 and 7 of both patents, the only claims tried, would have been obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit reversed. The district court abused its discretion by admitting lay witness testimony regarding obviousness. That testimony, which was directed to the conclusion of obviousness and its underlying technical questions, is the province of qualified experts, not lay witnesses. Admission of that testimony substantially prejudiced the outcome of the case. View "HVLPO2, LLC v. Oxygen Frog, LLC" on Justia Law

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Prisua’s patent, entitled “Video Enabled Digital Devices for Embedding User Data in Interactive Applications,” is directed to “generating an edited video data stream from an original video stream” by “substituting at least one object . . . in said original video stream by at least a different object.” The claims at issue are directed to methods and apparatuses for “generating a displayable edited video data stream from an original video data stream.” The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review (IPR) and held that claim 11 was unpatentable for obviousness but declined to analyze whether other challenged claims were unpatentable as anticipated or obvious, finding those claims indefinite. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. The IPR statute does not authorize the Board to cancel challenged claims for indefiniteness. The scope of IPR is found in section 311(b), Chapter 31 of Title 35. The scope of post-grant review is in section 321(b), Chapter 32. The use of the word “patentability” in the final written decision provision of each chapter refers to the previously defined scope of the particular review in question. Patentability under section 318(a) refers to the limited grounds of unpatentability described in section 311(b); patentability under section 328(a) refers to the broader grounds of unpatentability described in section 321(b). Reversing in part, the court rejected the Board’s conclusion that the term “digital processing unit” invoked means-plus-function claiming, and that for that reason the remaining claims could not be analyzed for anticipation or obviousness. View "Samsung Electronics America, Inc. v. Prisua Engineering Corp." on Justia Law

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Koninklijke's patent identifies prior art technologies for delivering digital content for playback on a client device: downloading and streaming. It states that downloading suffers from delay because the user cannot playback the digital content until after the entire file finishes downloading; streaming generally requires “two-way intelligence” and a “high level of integration between client and server software,” which “mostly excludes third parties from developing custom server software.” On Google’s petition, the Patent Board instituted inter partes review (IPR) and construed the claim term “a given segment of [a/the] media presentation” to mean “a media presentation with multiple segments.” The Board concluded that Google had not demonstrated that any of the claims were anticipated but that Google had demonstrated that claims 1–11 would have been obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, first holding that the Board erred by instituting IPR of claims 1–11 based on obviousness over two prior references because Google did not advance such a combination of references in its petition. The Board did not violate 35 U.S.C. 311(b) or the IPR statute in determining that the claims would have been obvious over a prior reference in light of the general knowledge of a skilled artisan. The Board’s factual findings underlying its obviousness determination are supported by substantial evidence. View "Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google, LLC" on Justia Law