Justia Patents Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. v. Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc.
PacBio’s patents describe methods for sequencing a nucleic acid, such as DNA, using nanopore technology. PacBio sued Oxford for infringement. Before trial, the district court granted PacBio’s motion “to prevent [Oxford] from using ‘pejorative’ terms (such as ‘non-practicing entity,’ ‘NPE,’ and ‘paper patents’), stating “it would be inappropriate to put before the jury evidence or argument about the potential impact of a verdict in favor of PacBio— such as higher prices or slower medical research.”A jury found all asserted claims infringed but also determined that they are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 112 for lack of enablement. The district court upheld the verdict on enablement and denied PacBio’s request for a new trial because of Oxford’s improper opening remarks that included references to the potential applications of its accused products to the then-emerging global COVID-19 crisis. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The record supports the legal conclusion that the disclosures of the patents, even combined with the knowledge of relevant artisans, required undue experimentation to enable the full scope of the relevant claims. The court reasonably denied a new trial, given PacBio’s own conduct and references to COVID-19, and its successful request for no more than curative instructions. View "Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. v. Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law
Cap Export, LLC v. Zinus, Inc.
Zinus’s patent is directed to “[a]n assemblable mattress support” that “can be shipped in a compact state with all of its components compactly packed into the headboard.” Cap sought a declaratory judgment that the patent was invalid and not infringed. Zinus counterclaimed, alleging infringement and unfair business practices under California state law. The district court granted summary judgment that claims 1 and 3 were invalid as obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit vacated. The district court subsequently granted partial summary judgment that claims 1–3 were not invalid, in part because Cap had abandoned the “bed in a box” prior art reference that the court had relied on in its previous determination. Cap stipulated to the entry of a final judgment in favor of Zinus, with $1.1 million in damages and a permanent injunction.Thereafter, Cap discovered evidence (in an unrelated suit) that the deposition testimony of Zinus's then-president had been false concerning the prior art. Cap successfully moved to vacate the judgment and injunction under Rule 60(b)(3), which provides grounds for relief for “fraud . . . , misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.” The Federal Circuit affirmed. The court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the misrepresentations prevented Cap from fully and fairly presenting its case and that Cap satisfied the due diligence requirement. View "Cap Export, LLC v. Zinus, Inc." on Justia Law
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. International Trade Commission
10X filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, alleging that Bio-Rad’s importation and sale of microfluidic systems and components used for gene sequencing or related analyses violated the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. 1337, which prohibits importation and sale “of articles that . . . (i) infringe a valid and enforceable United States patent.”An ALJ determined that Bio-Rad violated the statute with respect to all three patents finding that Bio-Rad infringed the patent claims and that 10X practiced the claims, satisfying the requirement of a domestic industry “relating to the articles protected by the patent.” The ALJ rejected Bio-Rad’s defense that it could not be liable for infringement because it co-owned the asserted 10X patents under assignment provisions that two of the named inventors signed when they were employees of BioRad (and its predecessor), even though the inventions were not made until after the employment.The Commission and Federal Circuit affirmed. Substantial evidence supports findings that Bio-Rad infringed the asserted claims and that 0X’s domestic products practice the asserted claims. The court rejected Bio-Rad’s indefiniteness challenge. The assignment provisions did not apply to a signatory’s ideas developed during the employment solely because the ideas ended up contributing to a post-employment patentable invention in a way that supports co-inventorship of that eventual invention. View "Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law
Raytheon Technologies Corp. v. General Electric Co.
Raytheon’s patent is directed to gas turbine engines, which generally consists of a fan section, a compressor section, a combustor section, and a turbine section. On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found two claims unpatentable as obvious in view of the Knip reference, which discloses the claimed power density limitation for a geared gas turbine engine. During the proceeding, Raytheon submitted unrebutted evidence establishing that Knip’s disclosure of highly aggressive performance parameters for a futuristic turbine engine relied on the use of nonexistent composite materials. The petitioner never supplied any evidence suggesting a skilled artisan could have made a turbine engine with the power density recited in the claims.The Federal Circuit reversed. The relied-upon prior art fails to enable a skilled artisan to make and use the claimed invention. There is no absolute requirement for a relied-upon reference to be self-enabling in the section 103 context if the overall evidence of what was known at the time of invention establishes that a skilled artisan could have made and used the claimed invention. If an obviousness case is based on a non-self-enabled reference, and no other prior art reference or evidence would have enabled a skilled artisan to make the claimed invention, the invention cannot be said to have been obvious. View "Raytheon Technologies Corp. v. General Electric Co." on Justia Law
Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc.
Qualcomm sued Apple in the Southern District of California for infringing claims of two patents. Apple sought inter partes review. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board held Apple did not prove that claims in the two patents would have been obvious. Before the filing of appeals, Apple and Qualcomm settled all litigation between the two companies worldwide. Based on that settlement, the parties jointly moved to dismiss Qualcomm’s district court action with prejudice, which the district court granted.The Federal Circuit dismissed appeals from the inter partes review for lack of standing. Apple has not alleged that the validity of the patents will affect its contract rights (ongoing royalty obligations) in the settlement. The possibility of a future suit is too speculative to confer standing, as is the likelihood that 35 U.S.C. 315(e) would estop Apple from arguing that the patents would have been obvious in future disputes. Apple has failed to show an injury in fact based on potential future allegations that its products infringe the patents. View "Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc." on Justia Law
Wi-LAN Inc. v. Sharp Electronics Corp.
Wi-LAN’s 654 patent concerns “methods to display interlaced video on [a] noninterlaced monitor” Interlaced video. Television sets use interlaced video formats to prevent a “flicker” effect that results from the difference in the frame rate of the television set and the frame rate in which a program was filmed. Wi-LAN’s 250 patent, “relates generally to multimedia encoders and specifically [to] an integrated multimedia stream multiplexer,” which receives separate audio and video data streams and combines them into a single multimedia data stream. The 250 patent is directed to a system for dynamically adjusting the bit rates of the input audio and video data streams to obtain a combined multimedia data stream with an optimal bit rate. Vizio and Sharp sold “smart” television sets. Wi-LAN alleged direct and induced infringement of the patents against both.For the 250 patent, the district court construed the terms “output multimedia data stream” and “a multimedia processor, coupled to the data rate analyzer” and entered a stipulated judgment of noninfringement. The court reasoned that Wi-LAN knew that it could not establish infringement without establishing that the source code of Sharp’s and Vizio’s systems actually practiced the patented method and lacked sufficient admissible evidence to prove direct infringement of the 654 patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the construction of the claim terms. With respect to the 654 patent, a source code printout did not constitute a business record admissible under Rule 803(6). View "Wi-LAN Inc. v. Sharp Electronics Corp." on Justia Law
In Re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Stanford’s 2012 patent application is directed to computerized statistical methods for determining haplotype phase. A haplotype phase acts as an indication of the parent from whom a gene has been inherited. The written description explains that accurately estimating haplotype phase based on genotype data obtained through sequencing an individual’s genome “plays pivotal roles in population and medical genetic studies.” The application is directed to methods for inferring haplotype phase in a collection of unrelated individuals.The Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final rejection of the patent claims, applying the two-step “Alice” analysis to determine patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101 and finding that the claims involve patent-ineligible subject matter. The rejected claims are drawn to abstract mathematical calculations and statistical modeling, and similar subject matter that is not patent-eligible. The improvement in computational accuracy alleged by Stanford does not qualify as an improvement to a technological process; rather, it is merely an enhancement to the abstract mathematical calculation of haplotype phase itself. View "In Re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University" on Justia Law
DePuy Synthes Products, Inc. v. Veterinary Orthopedic Implants, Inc.
The parties compete in the market for veterinary orthopedic implants. DePuy sued VOI, alleging patent infringement. The district court entered the parties’ joint proposed protective order, designating certain information as “Confidential Material” and “Highly Confidential Material—Attorney Eyes Only.” The information designated “Highly Confidential” encompassed “supplier . . . names and identifying information.” DePuy filed under seal an unopposed motion for leave to amend the complaint to join as a defendant the manufacturer of VOI’s accused products, disclosing the manufacturer’s identity and information about the business relationship between the manufacturer and VOI.According to VOI, the manufacturer identity and other information are Highly Confidential and constitute trade secrets, so that it was necessary to file the amended complaint under seal, with only a redacted version publicly available. DePuy argued that the manufacturer’s public website advertises its business; that VOI and the manufacturer have no confidentiality agreement; that the manufacturer ships its products to VOI using a public carrier; and that a third party was aware that the manufacturer supplied products to VOI.The district court ordered that the amended complaint be filed on the public record without redaction of either the manufacturer's identity or other information. The order did not specifically analyze the other information. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The district court did not abuse its discretion in performing its obligation to ensure public access to court documents. View "DePuy Synthes Products, Inc. v. Veterinary Orthopedic Implants, Inc." on Justia Law
Mylan Laboratories Ltd. v. Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V.
Janssen sued Mylan for infringing claims in the 906 patent. Less than six months later, Mylan petitioned for inter partes review (IPR) of that patent, raising four grounds for the unpatentability under 35 U.S.C. 103. Opposing institution, Janssen claimed IPR would be an inefficient use of Patent Trial and Appeal Board resources because of two co-pending district court actions: the suit against Mylan and another suit against Teva. The Board agreed and denied the petition. Applying its six-factor standard, the Board found substantial overlap between the issues raised in Mylan’s IPR petition and the co-pending district court actions and that both actions would likely reach final judgment before any final written decision. The Teva trial date was only weeks away.Mylan argued that the Board’s determination, based on the timing of separate litigation to which Petitioner is not a party, undermines its constitutional and other due process rights and that the Board’s continued adoption and application of non-statutory institution standards through ad hoc proceedings lie in contrast to congressional intent. The Federal Circuit denied relief, stating that it lacks jurisdiction over appeals from decisions denying institution. Although the court has jurisdiction over mandamus petitions challenging such decisions, Mylan has not shown it is entitled to such an extraordinary remedy. View "Mylan Laboratories Ltd. v. Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V." on Justia Law
In Re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Stanford’s 925 application is directed to methods and computing systems for determining haplotype phase--an indication of the parent from whom a gene has been inherited. Improved haplotype phasing techniques “promise to revolutionize personalized health care by tailoring risk modification, medications, and health surveillance to patients’ individual genetic backgrounds.” Achieving the understanding necessary to accomplish those goals requires “interpretation of massive amounts of genetic data produced with each genome sequence.” The 925 application describes a method for receiving genotype and pedigree data and processing the data by performing mathematical calculations and statistical modeling to arrive at a haplotype phase determination.The Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in rejecting the claims as patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101 because they are drawn to abstract mathematical calculations and statistical modeling, and similar subject matter that is not patent-eligible. Claim 1 recites no steps that practically apply the claimed mathematical algorithm; instead, claim 1 ends at storing the haplotype phase and “providing” it “in response to a request.” Simply storing information and providing it upon request does not alone transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible subject matter. View "In Re Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University" on Justia Law