Justia Patents Opinion Summaries

by
This case concerns a patent dispute between Harris Brumfield, Trustee for Ascent Trust (Plaintiff-Appellant) and IBG LLC and Interactive Brokers LLC (Defendants-Appellees). The plaintiff alleged that the defendants infringed several patents owned by Trading Technologies International, Inc., the plaintiff's predecessor. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected the plaintiff’s challenges and affirmed the district court's rulings.The district court had invalidated the asserted claims of two of the plaintiff's patents under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The court also excluded one basis for recovering "foreign damages" proposed by the plaintiff's damages expert, and denied the plaintiff's post-verdict motion for a new trial on damages.On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the district court correctly applied the law in determining that the asserted claims of the patents were ineligible for patenting under § 101. The court also affirmed the district court’s decision to exclude certain damages evidence, and it upheld the denial of the plaintiff's request for a new trial on damages. View "Brumfield v. IBG LLC" on Justia Law

by
This case involves Virtek Vision International ULC (Virtek) and Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc. d/b/a Aligned Vision (Aligned Vision) who both appealed a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board concerning U.S. Patent No. 10,052,734 owned by Virtek. The patent discloses an improved method for aligning a laser projector with respect to a work surface. The Board had held that certain claims of the patent were unpatentable, finding them to be obvious in light of certain prior art references.Virtek appealed the Board's determination that claims 1, 2, 5, 7, and 10–13 of the patent were unpatentable. Aligned Vision cross-appealed the Board's holding that it failed to prove claims 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 of the patent were unpatentable.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Board's determination that claims 1, 2, 5, 7, and 10–13 were unpatentable, finding that there was not substantial evidence to support a motivation to combine the prior art references in the manner claimed in the patent. The court noted that it was an error to suggest that because two coordinate systems were disclosed in a prior art reference and were therefore “known,” that satisfies the motivation to combine analysis. The court affirmed the Board's determination that Aligned Vision failed to prove claims 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 would have been obvious, agreeing with the Board that Aligned Vision had failed to show a motivation to combine the references for these claims. View "Virtek Vision International ULC v. Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This case deals with the importation of two transcatheter heart valve systems by Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. and Meril, Inc. (collectively, "Meril") into the United States for a medical conference in San Francisco. The plaintiff, Edwards Lifesciences Corporation and Edwards Lifesciences LLC (collectively, "Edwards"), a competitor medical device company, alleged that this act constituted patent infringement. Meril argued that the importation was covered by the "safe harbor" provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1), which exempts certain activities from being considered patent infringement if they are reasonably related to the development and submission of information under a Federal law which regulates the manufacture, use, or sale of drugs.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Meril, and Edwards appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court, noting that the undisputed evidence showed that the importation of the valve systems was reasonably related to submitting information to the United States Food and Drug Administration. The court rejected Edwards' arguments that the district court had disregarded contemporaneous evidence, applied the safe harbor with an objective standard, and relied improperly on declarations from Meril employees. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that there was no genuine dispute of material fact and that Meril was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORPORATION v. MERIL LIFE SCIENCES PVT. LTD. " on Justia Law

by
The case in question is a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Abbott Laboratories, Abbvie Inc., Abbvie Products LLC, Unimed Pharmaceuticals LLC, and Besins Healthcare, Inc. These petitioners were involved in a patent and antitrust lawsuit concerning the drug AndroGel 1%. They sought a writ of mandamus after a district judge ruled that the application of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege justified an order compelling the production of certain documents. The Petitioners claimed those documents were privileged.The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied their petition. The court reasoned that the petitioners failed to meet the high standard for granting a petition for writ of mandamus. Specifically, they failed to show a clear and indisputable abuse of discretion or error of law, a lack of an alternate avenue for adequate relief, and a likelihood of irreparable injury.The court also found that the district court did not err in its interpretation of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege as it applies to sham litigation. The court held that sham litigation, which involves a client’s intentional “misuse” of the legal process for an “improper purpose,” can trigger the crime-fraud exception. The court also rejected the argument that a "reliance" requirement must be applied in this context. View "In re: Abbott Laboratories" on Justia Law

by
In a dispute between Maxell, Ltd. and Amperex Technology Limited, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was asked to review a decision by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The case involved Maxell's U.S. Patent No. 9,077,035, which pertains to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Maxell had asserted that Amperex infringed upon its patent, while Amperex contested the patent's validity. The district court had deemed the claim language defining a transition metal element in the patent to be indefinite, ruling in favor of Amperex.The Court of Appeals, however, reversed this decision. It found that the two limitations of the claims did not contradict each other. The first limitation stated that the transition metal element must contain cobalt, nickel, or manganese, while the second requirement stated that the transition metal element must contain cobalt at a content of 30% to 100% by mole. The court found it possible for a transition metal element to meet both these requirements, thus concluding that there was no contradiction. The court emphasized that all limitations of a claim must be considered to understand the invention's scope. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "MAXELL, LTD. v. AMPEREX TECHNOLOGY LIMITED " on Justia Law

by
In the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Chewy, Inc., (Chewy) brought a suit against International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) seeking a declaratory judgment of noninfringement of several IBM patents. In response, IBM filed counterclaims alleging Chewy’s website and mobile applications infringed the patents.The patents in question relate to improvements in web-based advertising. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Chewy's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of claims of the ’849 patent and also granted Chewy's motion for summary judgment that claims of the ’443 patent are ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. IBM appealed both summary judgment rulings.The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remand for further proceedings. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision on noninfringement of the ’849 patent, ruling that Chewy's website and applications did not infringe certain claims of the patent because they didn't perform the specific limitation of "selectively storing advertising objects" as described in the patent.However, the Court reversed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement of claim 12 of the ’849 patent, concluding that there is a genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether Chewy "establish[es] characterizations for respective users."As for the ’443 patent, the Court affirmed the lower court's ruling that the claims are ineligible under § 101. The patent claims, according to the Court, could not transform the abstract idea of identifying advertisements based on search results into patent-eligible subject matter. View "CHEWY, INC. v. IBM " on Justia Law

by
This case involves an appeal by Pfizer Inc. from decisions made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board). The Board concluded that claims 1–45 of U.S. Patent 9,492,559, owned by Pfizer and related to immunogenic compositions comprising conjugated Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular saccharide antigens for use in pneumococcal vaccines, were unpatentable. The Board also denied Pfizer’s proposed amendments to the claims.Pfizer's first challenge pertained to the Board’s conclusion regarding the molecular weight of the glycoconjugate in the patent, arguing that the Board incorrectly applied the "result-effective variable doctrine." The court disagreed, upholding the Board's decision that the molecular weight was a result-effective variable that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to optimize.Pfizer's second challenge related to the Board’s finding that the compositions of additional claims incorporating more specific glycoconjugates would have been obvious. The court disagreed with Pfizer's argument that without examples showing the claimed glycoconjugates would have each been immunogenic, there would have been no reasonable expectation of success.Thirdly, Pfizer challenged the Board’s denial of its motions to amend the claims. The court affirmed the Board's decision on some of the proposed claims but vacated the decision on others, remanding them for further consideration due to the Board’s lack of clarity.Lastly, Pfizer challenged the Patent and Trademark Office’s Director Review procedure, alleging it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The court rejected this argument, finding any potential APA violation was harmless as Pfizer had not demonstrated prejudice.Therefore, the court affirmed the Board’s decisions in part, vacated them in part, and remanded the case back to the Board for further proceedings. View "PFIZER INC. v. SANOFI PASTEUR INC. " on Justia Law

by
In this case, Freshub, Ltd., and Freshub, Inc. (collectively, Freshub) filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries (collectively, Amazon) in the Western District of Texas, alleging that Amazon infringed on its patents related to voice-processing technology. Amazon denied the infringement and asserted that the patent should be deemed unenforceable due to alleged inequitable conduct committed by Freshub's parent company, Ikan Holdings LLC. The jury found that Amazon did not infringe the asserted claims of Freshub's patents. Freshub appealed the verdict, and Amazon cross-appealed the court's finding that it failed to prove the asserted inequitable conduct.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the district court's decisions. The court held that substantial evidence supported the jury's finding that Amazon did not infringe the asserted claims of Freshub’s patents. The court also found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Freshub's motion for a new trial based on alleged prejudicial statements made by Amazon at trial. Furthermore, the court agreed with the district court's determination that Amazon failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Ikan’s counsel made a false statement to the United States Patent and Trademark Office with the specific intent to deceive, thereby rejecting Amazon’s inequitable conduct defense. View "FRESHUB, INC. v. AMAZON.COM, INC. " on Justia Law

by
Promptu Systems Corp. sued Comcast Corp. alleging that Comcast infringed on its U.S. Patent Nos. 7,047,196 and 7,260,538. The patents cover a method of using speech recognition services in combination with cable television or video delivery. The case was litigated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The district court adopted claim constructions that were mostly in line with Comcast's proposals. As a result, Promptu and Comcast agreed to dismiss Promptu's patent-infringement claim and state-law claims with prejudice. Promptu also agreed to a final judgment of no infringement by Comcast of the ’196 and ’538 patents, based on the claim constructions adopted by the district court.Promptu appealed the judgment, challenging several of the underlying claim constructions. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the district court incorrectly construed certain claim terms and therefore vacated the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court held that the district court's constructions of the terms "back channel," "multiplicity of received identified speech channels," "speech recognition system coupled to a wireline node," and "centralized processing station" were not accurate. The court provided detailed analysis and reasoning for these conclusions. The court did not rule on the merits of the infringement claims, but instead remanded the case for further proceedings based on the corrected claim constructions. View "PROMPTU SYSTEMS CORPORATION v. COMCAST CORPORATION " on Justia Law

by
This case concerns a patent dispute between RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc. (RAI) and Philip Morris Products S.A. (Philip Morris) about an electrically powered smoking article. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board).RAI owns a patent for electrically powered smoking articles that heat tobacco or other substances without significant combustion. Philip Morris filed a petition to review the patent, asserting that the claims were invalid due to a lack of written description and obviousness over prior art. The Board agreed with Philip Morris and held certain claims of the patent unpatentable.On appeal, RAI argued that the Board erred by finding that some claims lacked adequate written description support and that other claims were obvious. The Court of Appeals agreed with RAI regarding the written-description issue. It found that the patent specification did provide adequate written description support for the disputed claims, as it disclosed the end points of the claimed range and there were no inconsistent statements regarding the range. Thus, the Court of Appeals vacated the Board's decision on this issue and remanded for further consideration.However, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Board’s decision regarding the obviousness issue. It found substantial evidence to support the Board's finding that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to combine prior art references, making the claims obvious. Specifically, the Court found that the Board reasonably concluded that a skilled artisan would have been motivated to replace the heating element in Robinson's smoking article with the heating element taught by Greim. Therefore, the Court affirmed the Board’s finding that these claims were unpatentable as obvious. View "RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc. v. Philip Morris Products S.A." on Justia Law