Justia Patents Opinion Summaries
In Re MaxPower Semiconductor, Inc.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review proceedings, involving MaxPower patents. MaxPower sought a writ of mandamus to review those decisions. The Federal Circuit denied the petition. A decision to institute IPR proceedings, like a decision not to institute, is “nonappealable” under 35 U.S.C. 314(d). The court rejected MaxPower’s argument that the collateral order doctrine warranted immediate review because its challenge implicates questions of whether the Board can institute proceedings that are subject to arbitration; that doctrine only allows appeal when an order “affect[s] rights that will be irretrievably lost in the absence of an immediate appeal.” MaxPower can meaningfully raise its arbitration-related challenges after the Board’s final decisions. The court also rejected MaxPower’s argument that its appeals are authorized under 9 U.S.C. 16(a)(1), which states that an appeal may be taken from an order “refusing a stay of any action under section 3 of this title,” “denying a petition under section 4 of this title to order arbitration to proceed,” “denying an application under section 206 of this title to compel arbitration,” “confirming or denying confirmation of an award or partial award,” or “modifying, correcting, or vacating an award.” MaxPower has not shown that this mandamus petition is not merely a “means of avoiding the statutory prohibition on appellate review of agency institution decisions.” View "In Re MaxPower Semiconductor, Inc." on Justia Law
Lubby Holdings LLC v. Chung
Lubby’s patent is titled “Personal Vaporizer.” “Personal vaporizers are handheld devices that vaporize a vaporizing medium such as a liquid solution or a wax.” The patent relates to personal vaporizers that “will resist leaking, particularly during periods of nonuse.” Lubby and Vaporous Technologies, a nonexclusive licensee of the patent, sued Chung for infringement. The district court found Chung liable and awarded damages of $863,936.10.The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. There was evidence to support the jury’s verdict that Chung directly infringed the patent but the district court erred in awarding damages for the sales of infringing products before the commencement of the suit, which is the date Chung received actual notice of the patent under 35 U.S.C. 287. The court remanded for a new trial to determine the number of infringing products sold after the commencement of the suit and for the determination of a reasonable royalty rate for the sale of these units. View "Lubby Holdings LLC v. Chung" on Justia Law
Belcher Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Hospira, Inc.
Epinephrine (adrenaline), a hormone that has been on the market since approximately 1938, is used for various medical purposes. It degrades by racemization and oxidation. A 1986 publication taught that “there is an optimum pH at which racemization and oxidation can be balanced to minimize loss of intact drug by these two routes.” In 2012, Belcher submitted New Drug Application (NDA) for a 1 mg/mL injectable l-epinephrine formulation. The NDA was literature-based; Belcher did not perform any studies on its epinephrine formulation. Belcher responded to FDA inquiries concerning pH levels and racemization. In 2014, Belcher filed an application entitled “More Potent and Less Toxic Formulations of Epinephrine and Methods of Medical Use,” resulting in the 197. Hospira then submitted an NDA seeking approval of a 0.1 mg/mL injectable l-epinephrine formulation, including a Paragraph IV certification (21 U.S.C. 355(b)(2)(A)(iv)) alleging that the patent’s claims are invalid, unenforceable, and/or not infringed. Belcher sued Hospira for infringement.The Federal Circuit affirmed a finding that the patent was unenforceable for inequitable conduct. Belcher’s Chief Science Officer withheld material information about the pH range and the impurity levels from the Patent and Trademark Office. Belcher’s alleged critical improvement over the prior art was already within the public domain, just not before the examiner. Belcher’s officer acted with intent to deceive. View "Belcher Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Hospira, Inc." on Justia Law
HTC Corp. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) established many global standards for 3G, 4G, and 5G cellular communications technology. ETSI members that own standard-essential patents must provide “an irrevocable undertaking in writing that [they are] prepared to grant irrevocable licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND)” terms. Ericsson holds patents that are considered essential to the ETSI standards and agreed to grant licenses to other companies to use its standard-essential patents on FRAND terms. HTC produces mobile devices that implement those standards; to manufacture standard-compliant mobile devices, HTC has to obtain a license to use Ericsson’s patents. Ericsson and HTC have previously entered into three cross-license agreements for their respective patents. Negotiations to renew one of those agreements failed.HTC filed suit, alleging that Ericsson had breached its commitment to provide a license on FRAND terms and had failed to negotiate in good faith. The jury found in favor of the defendants. The district court entered a separate declaratory judgment that the defendants had affirmatively complied with their contractual obligations. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the district court’s exclusion of HTC’s requested jury instructions, its declaratory judgment that Ericsson had complied with its obligation to provide HTC a license on FRAND terms, and the exclusion of certain expert testimonial evidence as hearsay. View "HTC Corp. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson" on Justia Law
Juno Therapeutics, Inc v. Kite Pharma, Inc.
T cells, white blood cells that contribute to the immune response, have naturally occurring receptors on their surfaces that facilitate their attack on target cells (such as cancer cells) by recognizing and binding an antigen, i.e., a structure on a target cell’s surface. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves isolating a patient’s T cells; reprogramming those T cells to produce a specific, targeted receptor (a CAR) on each T cell’s surface; and infusing the patient with the reprogrammed cells. Juno’s patent relates to a nucleic acid polymer encoding a three-part CAR for a T cell. It claims priority to a provisional application filed in 2002, at “the birth of the CART field.” Kite’s YESCARTA® is a “therapy in which a patient’s T cells are engineered to express a [CAR] to target the antigen CD19, a protein expressed on the cell surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias, and redirect the T cells to kill cancer cells.”Juno sued, alleging infringement. The district court held that the claims were not invalid for lack of written description or enablement, the patent’s certificate of correction was not invalid, and Juno was entitled to $1,200,322,551.50 in damages. The Federal Circuit reversed. No reasonable jury could find the patent’s written description sufficiently demonstrates that the inventors possessed the full scope of the claimed invention. View "Juno Therapeutics, Inc v. Kite Pharma, Inc." on Justia Law
Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc.
USR sued Apple for infringement of patents otherwise directed to similar technology, securing electronic payment transactions. The patents “address the need for technology that allows consumers to conveniently make payment-card [e.g., credit card] transactions without a magnetic-stripe reader and with a high degree of security.”The district court found all claims of four asserted patents ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. All claims of the asserted patents are directed to an abstract idea and contain no additional elements that transform them into a patent-eligible application of the abstract idea. Applying the Supreme Court’s “Alice” analysis, the court stated that sending data to a third party as opposed to the merchant is an abstract idea and cannot serve as an inventive concept, as is authenticating a user using conventional tools and generating and transmitting that authentication—without “improv[ing] any underlying technology.” Nothing in the claims is directed to a new authentication technique; rather, the claims are directed to combining longstanding, known authentication techniques to yield expected additional amounts of security. View "Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc." on Justia Law
MLC Intellectual Property, LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc.
MLC sued Micron for infringing certain claims of a patent, titled “Electrically Alterable Non-Volatile Memory with N-bits Per Cell,” describing methods of programming multi-level cells. The district court excluded certain opinions of MLC’s damages expert.On interlocutory appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed orders precluding MLC’s damages expert from characterizing certain license agreements as reflecting a 0.25% royalty, opining on a reasonable royalty rate when MLC failed to produce key documents and information directed to its damages theory when requested prior to expert discovery, and opining on the royalty base and royalty rate where the expert failed to apportion for non-patented features. View "MLC Intellectual Property, LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc." on Justia Law
Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC
DET sued Google for infringing its “Tab Patents,” which are directed to systems and methods for displaying and navigating three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets by implementing user-customizable “notebook tabs” on the spreadsheet interface. In 2018, the Federal Circuit reversed a holding that the claims were patent ineligible. On remand, the district court granted Google summary judgment of noninfringement, premised on its construction of the term “three-dimensional spreadsheet” recited in the preamble of the asserted claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that the preamble is limiting and adopting the district court’s construction of that term. DET did not argue that the accused product infringes under the district court’s construction. View "Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC" on Justia Law
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776 v. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.
Defendants in these tandem cases (collectively, "Takeda") are a brand pharmaceutical manufacturer and related entities that began producing and marketing the Type-2 diabetes drug ACTOS in 1999. Purchasers of ACTOS filed suit against Takeda for improperly describing its patents to the FDA, in effect extending the duration of its patent protection over ACTOS and delaying generic competition. The district court denied Takeda's motion to dismiss, concluding that the alleged patent descriptions were incorrect under the Hatch–Waxman Act and pertinent regulations.On this interlocutory appeal, the Second Circuit held that under the "Listing Requirement" of 21 U.S.C. 355(b)(1), a combination patent does not "claim" any of its component drug substances past their individual patent expiration dates. The court also held that the purchasers were not required to allege that Takeda's interpretation of the Listing Requirement was unreasonable in order to plead a monopolization claim under the Sherman Act. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of Takeda's motion to dismiss and remanded for further proceedings. View "United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1776 v. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co." on Justia Law
CommScope Technologies LLC v. Dali Wireless, Inc.
CommScope sued Dali, alleging infringement of five of CommScope’s patents relating to telecommunications technology. Dali counterclaimed, alleging CommScope infringed two of Dali’s patents also relating to telecommunications technology. One of Dali’s asserted patents, the 521 patent, is titled “System and Method for Digital Memorized Predistortion for Wireless Communication.” This technology generally relates to wireless communications with portable equipment and handsets, such as mobile phones. Such devices often include a power amplifier to boost the signal. However, amplification can cause unintended distortions to the signal. The 521 patent resolves this problem through the use of a feedback loop and lookup tables.The district court entered judgment on the jury’s verdict of infringement, no invalidity, and damages for both CommScope and Dali. The Federal Circuit reversed with respect to the 521 patent and otherwise affirmed without opinion. Substantial evidence does not support the jury’s finding that CommScope’s FlexWave infringes Dali’s 521 patent. Dali failed to present evidence proving that the FlexWave meets the district court’s construction of the claim term “switching a controller off.” View "CommScope Technologies LLC v. Dali Wireless, Inc." on Justia Law