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Contour’s patents describe action sport video cameras or camcorders, configured for remote image acquisition control and viewing. The claimed device uses GPS technology and includes wireless communication capability to allow another device, such as a smartphone, to control camera settings in real time, access stored video, and act as a “viewfinder” to preview what the camera sees. The patents claim priority to a provisional application filed in September 2010; the one-year critical date is September 13, 2009. GoPro sought inter partes review of the patents, alleging unpatentability on obviousness grounds, relying on a 2009 GoPro sales catalog as prior art. That catalog discloses a digital camera linked to a wireless viewfinder/controller. There was testimony that the catalog was distributed at a July 2009 trade show with approximately 150 vendors and more than 1,000 attendees. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board concluded that the catalog is not a prior art printed publication under 35 U.S.C. 102(b). The Federal Circuit vacated. A dealer show focused on extreme sports vehicles is an obvious forum for action sports cameras; while the general public may not have been aware of the trade show, dealers would encompass the relevant audience such that a person ordinarily skilled and interested in action cameras, exercising reasonable diligence, should have been aware of it. The catalog was disseminated with no restrictions and was intended to reach the general public. View "GoPro, INC. v. Contour IP Holding, LLC" on Justia Law

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The 2001 patent application, directed to a method of treating cancer by administering natural killer cells, was rejected on obviousness grounds, after years of examination. The Patent and Trial Appeal Board affirmed. The assignee of the application appealed to the district court under 35 U.S.C. 145, in lieu of an immediate appeal to the Federal Circuit. The statute provides that the applicant must pay “[a]ll of the expenses of the proceeding,” “regardless of the outcome.” After prevailing in the district court, the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sought to recover $111,696.39 in fees under section 145. Although the district court granted the USPTO’s expert fees, it denied attorneys’ fees. Initially, the Federal Circuit reversed. On reconsideration, the court affirmed. The American Rule prohibits courts from shifting attorneys’ fees from one party to another absent a “specific and explicit” directive from Congress. The phrase “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” falls short of that stringent standard. View "Nantkwest, Inc. v. Iancu" on Justia Law

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Nash has been in the water recreational device industry for more than 50 years and designs and manufactures water skis, kneeboards, wakeboards, and similar recreational devices. ZUP entered the market in 2012 with its “ZUP Board,” designed to assist riders who have difficulty pulling themselves up out of the water into a standing position while being towed behind a motorboat. ZUP owns the 681 patent, which includes 12 claims that generally cover a water recreational board and a method of riding that board in which a rider simultaneously uses side-by-side handles and side-by-side foot bindings to help maneuver between various riding positions to allow the rider to more readily move from lying prone, to kneeling, to crouching, to standing. The district court invalidated claims 1 and 9 as obvious and, in the alternative, held that Nash does not infringe claim 9. The Federal Circuit affirmed that claims 1 and 9 are invalid as obvious, 35 U.S.C. 103(a), and did not reach the infringement question. One of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to combine the various elements from prior art references, “to aid in rider stability, to allow a wide variety of users to enjoy the device, and to aid users in maneuvering between positions”—all motivations that were “a driving force throughout the prior art." View "ZUP, LLC v. Nash Manufacturing, Inc." on Justia Law

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Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are semiconductor devices that emit light when an electric current is applied. They provide illumination in products such as printers, phones, and televisions. LEDs typically consist of a substrate, an n-type semiconductor layer, and a p-type semiconductor layer. Gallium nitride (GaN) is a semiconductor that emits blue light in LEDs. Fabricating monocrystalline GaN films is difficult because of the lack of available substrates with a matching lattice structure. BU’s 738 patent relates to the preparation of monocrystalline GaN films via molecular beam epitaxy, which addresses the GaN lattice-mismatch problem with a two-step growth process. A jury found that defendants infringed the patent and failed to prove its invalidity. The district court rejected defendants’ argument that the patent is invalid for not meeting the enablement requirement, 35 U.S.C. 112. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding the asserted claim not enabled as a matter of law. The patent’s specification does not teach one of skill in the art how to make the claimed semiconductor device with a monocrystalline growth layer grown directly on an amorphous buffer layer. Defendants’ expert testified that it is impossible to epitaxially grow a monocrystalline film directly on an amorphous structure; the specification does not enable what the experts agree is physically impossible. View "Trustees of Boston University v. Everlight Electronics Co." on Justia Law

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review (IPR) over AIT’s objection that the RPX's IPR petitions were time-barred under 35 U.S.C. 315(b) because RPX was acting as a “proxy” for its client, Salesforce, on whom AIT had served a complaint alleging infringement of the patents more than one year before RPX filed its petitions. AIT alleged that RPX that the time bar applicable to Salesforce was applicable to RPX. The Board held certain claims of the patents unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit vacated, concluding that the Board applied an unduly restrictive test for determining whether a person or entity is a “real party in interest” under section 315(b) and failed to consider the entirety of the evidentiary record. The term “real party in interest” has an expansive common-law meaning. RPX, unlike a traditional trade association, is a for-profit company whose clients pay for its portfolio of “patent risk solutions” to help extricate themselves from non-practicing entity lawsuits. Its SEC filings reveal one of its “strategies” is “the facilitation of challenges to patent validity,” to “reduce expenses.” The Board did not consider these facts, which, taken together, imply that RPX files IPRs to serve its clients and that a key reason clients pay RPX is to benefit from this practice if they are sued. View "Applications in Internet Time, LLC v. RPX Corp." on Justia Law

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Allergan’s Restasis Patents relate to a treatment for alleviating the symptoms of chronic dry eye. In 2015, Allergan sued, alleging infringement of the Restasis Patents based on Mylan’s filings of Abbreviated New Drug Applications. Mylan, Teva, and Akorn sought inter partes review of the patents. The Patent Board instituted IPR and scheduled a consolidated oral hearing. Before the hearing, Allergan and the Tribe entered into an agreement Mylan alleges was intended to protect the patents from review. A patent assignment transferring the Restasis patents from Allergan to the Tribe was recorded with the Patent Office. The Tribe moved to terminate the IPRs, arguing it is entitled to assert tribal sovereign immunity; Allergan moved to withdraw. The Board denied both motions. The Federal Circuit affirmed. IPR is neither clearly a judicial proceeding instituted by a private party nor clearly an enforcement action brought by the federal government: tribal sovereign immunity may not be asserted in IPR proceedings. View "Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc." on Justia Law

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The patent describes an “attention manager [that] makes use of ‘unused capacity’” of a display device, by displaying content in that unused capacity; it can display content when the display device is turned on but the user is not actively engaged or display content in an area of the display screen not used by already-displayed content with which the user is engaged. In 2014, the Federal Circuit upheld a judgment invalidating various claims on indefiniteness grounds but remanded with respect to four claims; the court construed “attention manager” as “a system that displays images to a user either when the user is not engaged in a primary interaction or in an area of the display screen that is not used by the user’s primary activity.” On remand, the district court found that the claims fail to recite patent-eligible subject matter, 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The claims are directed to an abstract idea, presentation of two sets of information, in a nonoverlapping way, on a display screen. The claimed “attention manager,” broadly construed as any “system” for producing that result, is not limited to a means of locating space on the screen and displaying the second set of information in that space. The claim limitations for accessing, scheduling, and then displaying the second information set are conventional functions stated in general terms. The claims lack any arguable technical advance over conventional computer and network technology. View "Interval Licensing, LLC v. AOL, Inc." on Justia Law

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Blackbird’s 747 patent is directed to energy-efficient lighting apparatuses. One embodiment discloses retrofitting an existing light fixture with a more energy efficient lighting apparatus. The district court entered a judgment of noninfringement of the patent based on its construction of “attachment surface.” The Federal Circuit vacated, holding that the district court erred in construing “attachment surface” to be secured to the ballast cover. By its plain language, claim 12 does not require the attachment surface to be secured to the ballast cover. Claim 12 expressly recites a fastening mechanism for securing the attachment surface to the illumination surface. It does not refer to any other fastening mechanism. It does not require the attachment surface be secured to anything other than the illumination surface. View "Blackbird Tech LLC v. ELB Electronics, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Jazz patents relate to a drug distribution system for tracking prescriptions of a “sensitive drug.” “A sensitive drug is one which can be abused, or has addiction properties or other properties that render the drug sensitive.” One such sensitive drug is Xyrem®. Jazz exclusively markets Xyrem®, which the FDA has approved to treat symptoms associated with narcolepsy. The active ingredient in Xyrem®, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), may also be illicitly used as a “date-rape drug.” Under the Controlled Substances Act any approved drug product containing GHB is classified as a Schedule III depressant, so the FDA approved Xyrem® under “restricted distribution regulations contained in [21 C.F.R. 314.500] (Subpart H) to assure safe use of the product.” On inter partes review, the Patent Board found certain claims invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding a conclusion that implementing prior art, consisting of background materials and the meeting minutes, transcript, and slides on the FDA website, on multiple computers “would have been a predictable use of a known distributed data system according to its established function.” View "Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC" on Justia Law

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Tre Milano challenged the validity of claims 1–5 and 11, and did not challenge the validity of claims 6–10 and 12–15 of the 118 Patent, which covers a device that automates the curling of hair. A strand of hair is fed into a chamber of the device, the hair is wound around a rotating curling member in the chamber, the wound hair is heated to preserve the curl, and the curled hair slides off the curling member and exits the chamber so that the curvature of the curls created by the device can be substantially maintained. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted Inter partes review of all of the claims that were challenged. The Federal Circuit concluded that the Board erred in its finding of anticipation by erroneously construing two claim terms: “the length of hair can pass through the secondary opening” and “free end,” broadening the claims beyond the description in the 118 Patent specification. On the correct claim construction, the claims are not anticipated by prior art, 35 U.S.C. 102(b). View "TF3 Ltd. v. Tre Milano, LLC" on Justia Law