Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Patents
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The case involves a patent infringement dispute between Copan Italia S.p.A. and Copan Diagnostics Inc. (collectively, “Copan”) and Puritan Medical Products Company LLC and its affiliated companies (collectively, “Puritan”). Copan, the holder of several patents on flocked swabs used for collecting biological specimens, filed a patent infringement complaint against Puritan in the District of Maine. Puritan, in response, filed a partial motion to dismiss, claiming immunity under the Pandemic Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (“PREP Act”) for a portion of its accused product.The District Court for the District of Maine denied Puritan's motion to dismiss. The court found that Puritan had not shown, as a factual matter, that its flocked swabs were “covered countermeasures” under the PREP Act. The court also granted Puritan’s motion to amend its answer, allowing it to assert PREP Act immunity as a defense, subject to further argument.Puritan appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. However, the appellate court found that it lacked jurisdiction to review the case. The court reasoned that the district court's denial of Puritan's motion to dismiss did not conclusively determine any issue, which is a requirement for the application of the collateral order doctrine. The court suggested that the district court may wish to structure the litigation in a manner that could allow it to make a conclusive determination on Puritan’s PREP Act immunity defense before the case proceeds any further. The appeal was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. View "COPAN ITALIA SPA v. PURITAN MEDICAL PRODUCTS COMPANY LLC " on Justia Law

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In 2020, Zircon Corp. filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission alleging that Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. and Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc. violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling electronic stud finders that infringed on Zircon's patents. The Commission instituted an investigation based on Zircon's complaint. A Commission Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found no violation of section 337. On review, the Commission affirmed the ALJ's finding of no violation.The Commission's decision was based on two independent reasons. First, it affirmed the ALJ's determination that Zircon had not satisfied the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement. Zircon had argued that it met this requirement based on its investment in plant and equipment, its employment of labor and capital, and its investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents. However, the Commission found that Zircon had not provided an adequate basis to evaluate the investments and the significance of those investments with respect to each asserted patent.Second, the Commission found each of the claims of the patents that were before the Commission were either invalid or not infringed. The Commission found that all the asserted claims of one patent would have been obvious in view of four prior art references; that several claims of two other patents were invalid as anticipated by or obvious in light of Zircon’s original stud finder; and that several of the claims of these two patents were not infringed.Zircon appealed the Commission's decision, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission's decision. The court agreed with the Commission's interpretation of section 337 and found that substantial evidence supported the Commission's finding that Zircon failed to meet its burden to prove the existence of a domestic industry relating to articles protected by each of its patents. View "ZIRCON CORP. v. ITC " on Justia Law

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The case involves IOENGINE, LLC (IOENGINE) appealing a series of Final Written Decisions by the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) that found certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,539,047, 9,059,969, and 9,774,703 unpatentable during inter partes review (IPR). The patents in question share a written description and title—“Apparatus, Method and System for a Tunneling Client Access Point.” They claim a “portable device” configured to communicate with a terminal, with the device and terminal having various program codes stored in memory to facilitate communications.The Board had previously determined that certain claims of the patents were unpatentable. IOENGINE appealed, arguing that the Board incorrectly construed the claim term “interactive user interface,” incorrectly applied the printed matter doctrine, and otherwise erred in its anticipation and obviousness analysis.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the Board erred in its application of the printed matter doctrine to certain claims, reversing the Board’s unpatentability determinations as to claims 4 and 7 of the ’969 patent and claims 61–62 and 110–11 of the ’703 patent. However, the court affirmed the Board’s unpatentability determinations as to all other claims. The court also found that IOENGINE forfeited its proposed claim construction by not presenting it to the Board during IPR. View "IOENGINE, LLC v. INGENICO INC. " on Justia Law

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This case involves Packet Intelligence LLC ("Packet") and NetScout Systems, Inc. and NetScout Systems Texas, LLC (collectively, "NetScout"). Packet had sued NetScout for patent infringement. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that NetScout had willfully infringed Packet's patents and awarded Packet damages, enhanced damages for willful infringement, and an ongoing royalty. NetScout appealed this decision.In a previous appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had reversed the district court's award of pre-suit damages and vacated the court's enhancement of that award. The court affirmed the district court's judgment in all other respects and remanded the case to the district court. On remand, the district court denied NetScout's motion to dismiss or stay the case and entered an amended final judgment. The amended judgment reduced the enhanced damages and reset the ongoing royalty rate.Meanwhile, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("Board") found all of the patent claims asserted by Packet in this case unpatentable as obvious. Packet appealed the Board's final written decisions. The Federal Circuit coordinated those appeals so they would be considered by the same panel deciding this appeal.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s amended final judgment and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. The court held that Packet’s infringement judgment was not final before the Board’s unpatentability determinations were affirmed. Therefore, the court was compelled to order that Packet’s patent infringement claims be dismissed as moot. View "PACKET INTELLIGENCE LLC v. NETSCOUT SYSTEMS, INC. " on Justia Law

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The case revolves around SnapRays, a Utah-based company that designs, markets, and sells electrical outlet covers with integrated guide lights, safety lights, motion sensor lights, and USB charging technology, and Lighting Defense Group (LDG), an Arizona-based company that owns a patent related to a cover for an electrical receptacle. LDG submitted an Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (APEX) Agreement alleging that certain SnapPower products sold on Amazon.com infringed its patent. SnapPower subsequently filed an action for declaratory judgment of noninfringement.The United States District Court for the District of Utah dismissed SnapPower's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over LDG. The court concluded that LDG lacked sufficient contacts with Utah for it to exercise specific personal jurisdiction. It found that LDG's allegations of infringement were directed toward Amazon in Washington, where the APEX Agreement was sent, and not at SnapPower in Utah. The court also noted that under Federal Circuit law, principles of fair play and substantial justice support a finding that LDG is not subject to specific personal jurisdiction in Utah.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court's decision. The appellate court concluded that LDG purposefully directed extra-judicial patent enforcement activities at SnapPower in Utah, thereby satisfying the requirements for specific personal jurisdiction. The court found that LDG's submission of the APEX Agreement to Amazon, which identified SnapPower's listings as allegedly infringing, was an intentional action aimed at affecting SnapPower's sales and activities in Utah. The court also rejected LDG's argument that the assertion of specific personal jurisdiction over it in Utah would be unfair and unreasonable. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "SNAPRAYS v. LIGHTING DEFENSE GROUP " on Justia Law

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The case revolves around Intellectual Tech LLC (IT), a wholly owned subsidiary of OnAsset Intelligence, Inc. (OnAsset), and its patent dispute with Zebra Technologies Corporation (Zebra). In 2019, IT asserted U.S. Patent No. 7,233,247 against Zebra, claiming that it was the owner and assignee of the patent. However, Zebra moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that IT lacked standing. The district court initially denied the motion, but later granted it based on its determination that IT lacked constitutional standing, leading to the dismissal of all claims without prejudice.Previously, OnAsset had granted Main Street Capital Corporation (Main Street), a lender, a security interest in its patents, including the one in question, as part of a loan agreement. When OnAsset defaulted on the loan, Main Street gained certain rights. Subsequently, OnAsset assigned the patent to IT, which also defaulted on its obligations. The district court found that Main Street's ability to license the patent upon default deprived IT of all its exclusionary rights, leading to a lack of constitutional standing.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit disagreed with the district court's interpretation. The appellate court found that IT retained at least one exclusionary right, even considering the rights Main Street gained upon default. The court clarified that a patent owner has exclusionary rights as a baseline matter unless it has transferred all exclusionary rights away. The court concluded that IT still suffered an injury in fact from infringement even if IT and Main Street could both license the patent. Therefore, the appellate court reversed the district court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Intellectual Tech LLC v. Zebra Technologies Corp." on Justia Law

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This case involves a dispute between two manufacturers of dining mats for toddlers, Luv n' Care, Ltd. and Nouri E. Hakim (collectively, “LNC”), and Lindsey Laurain and Eazy-PZ, LLC (collectively, “EZPZ”). LNC filed a lawsuit against EZPZ, seeking a declaratory judgment that EZPZ’s U.S. Patent No. 9,462,903 (the “’903 patent”) is invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed. EZPZ counterclaimed, alleging infringement of the ’903 patent, among other claims. After a bench trial, the district court found that LNC failed to prove that the ’903 patent is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct, but that EZPZ was barred from obtaining relief due to its “unclean hands.” The court also granted LNC’s motion for partial summary judgment that the claims of the ’903 patent are invalid as obvious. Both parties appealed.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment on the doctrine of unclean hands, meaning that EZPZ was barred from obtaining relief due to its misconduct during the litigation. However, the court vacated the district court’s judgment on inequitable conduct and invalidity, finding that there were genuine disputes of material fact that precluded summary judgment. The court also vacated the district court’s denial of LNC’s motion for attorney fees and costs, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Luv n' Care, Ltd. v. Laurain" on Justia Law

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The case involves Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bausch Health Ireland Ltd., and Alfasigma S.P.A. (collectively, “Salix”) and Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc. (“Norwich”). Salix appealed from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware holding certain claims of their patents invalid as obvious. Norwich cross-appealed from an order that issued after the district court concluded that Norwich infringed certain claims of Salix's patents and had failed to prove those claims were invalid.Salix's patents were related to the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (“HE”) and irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (“IBS-D”) using a specific dosage of the drug rifaximin, and to a specific polymorphic form of rifaximin. The district court found that Norwich's Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) for a generic version of rifaximin infringed Salix's patents, but also held certain claims of Salix's patents invalid as obvious.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The court found no clear error in the district court's conclusion that a skilled artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success in administering the claimed dosage regimen for the treatment of IBS-D. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that the polymorph patent claims were invalid as obvious. The court further affirmed the district court's order setting the effective approval date of Norwich's ANDA to be no earlier than the date of expiration of the last to expire of the HE patents, and the district court's denial of the motion to modify the final judgment. View "Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Norwich Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law

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AI Visualize, Inc. accused Nuance Communications, Inc. and Mach7 Technologies, Inc. of patent infringement in the District of Delaware. The patents in question concerned the visualization of medical scans, with an emphasis on three-dimensional views via a low-bandwidth web portal. Nuance and Mach7 sought dismissal of the case on the grounds that the patents were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court agreed, ruling that the patents were directed to an abstract idea and failed to provide an inventive step that transformed the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. Consequently, AI Visualize’s case was dismissed.Prior to this, the district court had granted Nuance and Mach7's motion to dismiss AI Visualize's complaint for failing to state a claim. AI Visualize then filed an amended complaint, which Nuance and Mach7 again moved to dismiss. The district court found that the patents attempted to address prior art problems with transporting large volume visualization datasets over a standard internet connection. However, the court ruled that the focus of the claimed advance over the prior art was abstract, and AI Visualize’s arguments that the claims were directed to improvements in computer functionality were rejected.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. The appellate court agreed that the patents in question were directed to an abstract idea and did not offer an inventive step that transformed the idea into patent-eligible subject matter. Further, the court observed that AI Visualize's amended complaint failed to provide sufficient factual allegations to support that the claims involved unconventional technology or a concrete application of the abstract idea of virtual view "creation". Thus, the dismissal of AI Visualize’s case was affirmed. View "AI Visualize, Inc. v. Nuance Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard the appeal of Inline Plastics Corp. against Lacerta Group, LLC. Inline Plastics alleged that Lacerta infringed on several of its patents concerning tamper-resistant plastic containers and methods of making them. After a district court ruling in favor of Lacerta, Inline appealed on the grounds that the court erred in its judgment of invalidity and infringement. Lacerta cross-appealed, challenging the denial of attorney fees and the dismissal of certain patent claims Inline dropped near the end of trial.The Court of Appeals decided to affirm the district court's denial of Inline's motion for judgment as a matter of law of validity, but vacated the court's judgment of invalidity and remanded for a new trial on this issue. The court affirmed the district court's finding of non-infringement of various claims by Lacerta, but vacated the without-prejudice dismissal of Inline’s late-withdrawn claims. The court also vacated the district court's denial of Lacerta’s motion for attorney fees under § 285. Each party will bear their own costs. View "Inline Plastics Corp. v. Lacerta Group, LLC" on Justia Law