Justia U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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MyMail’s patents are directed to methods of modifying toolbars that are displayed on Internet-connected devices such as personal computers. MyMail sued ooVoo and IAC for infringement of the MyMail patents. After the Supreme Court’s 2017 opinion in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods, the parties agreed to transfer the lawsuits to the Northern District of California. That court dismissed, finding that the MyMail patents are directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit vacated the dismissal finding that the district court erred by declining to resolve the parties’ claim construction dispute before adjudging patent eligibility. MyMail had argued that the claimed inventions are patent-eligible, as evidenced in part by a construction of the term “toolbar” rendered by the Eastern District of Texas in an earlier proceeding involving the patent. View "MyMail, Ltd. v. ooVoo, LLC" on Justia Law

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In September 2017, Anza alleged that Mushkin had infringed its 927 patent, entitled “Flip Chip Bonding Tool and Ball Placement Capillary,” which relates to “dissipative and insulative ceramic flip chip bonding tools and capillaries for ball placement for bonding electrical connections.” After Mushkin was severed from another defendant and the case was transferred, the parties engaged in mediation. Anza conceded that its claims were no longer viable and was permitted to file an amended complaint in June 2018; Anza removed the infringement allegations regarding the 927 patent and alleged infringement of the 479 and 864 patents under 35 U.S.C. 271(g). Anza also omitted 10 of the 16 products that had originally been accused and added two new products. The district court dismissed, finding that Anza’s claim of damages for patent infringement was barred by the six-year statute of limitations, 35 U.S.C. 286 because the claims in Anza’s second amended complaint did not relate back to the date of Anza’s original complaint. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding the district court’s application of the relation-back doctrine overly restrictive. Claims in the second amended complaint that relate to the six originally accused products relate back to the original filing date and are not barred. For the products that were added in the second amended complaint, the district court must determine whether the allegations regarding those products are sufficiently similar that they should relate back to the filing date of the original complaint. View "Anza Technology, Inc. v. Mushkin, Inc." on Justia Law

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Nalpropion markets Contrave® for weight management in overweight or obese adults, with three Orange Book-listed patents. The 626 patent is drawn to a method for treating overweight or obesity comprising diagnosing an individual as suffering from overweight or obesity by body mass index, administering bupropion in an amount effective to induce weight loss, and administering naltrexone in an amount effective to enhance the weight loss activity of bupropion. The 195 patent is also directed to methods of treating overweight or obesity, but the claims are drawn to specific dosages of sustained-release naltrexone and bupropion that achieve a specific dissolution profile. The 111 patent is directed to a composition of sustained-release bupropion and naltrexone for affecting weight loss. Actavis filed an abbreviated new drug application seeking to enter the market with a generic version of Contrave® before the expiration of those patents. Nalpropion alleged infringement; Actavis brought invalidity counterclaims. The district court held each claim not invalid and infringed. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part, rejecting Actavis’s argument that a claim of the 195 patent lacked adequate written description support because its claimed dissolution profile was achieved using one method but the specification discloses data obtained using another method. The court reversed with respect to the 626 patent; it would have been obvious for a person of skill to combine bupropion and naltrexone for treating overweight and obesity because both drugs were known to cause weight loss. View "Nalpropian Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Actavis Laboratories FL, Inc." on Justia Law

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Sanofi’s 170 and 592 patents respectively claim the compound cabazitaxel and methods of using it. Sanofi markets cabazitaxel under the trade name Jevtana® to treat certain drug-resistant prostate cancers. Both patents are listed in the Orange Book as covering cabazitaxel. Cabazitaxel belongs to a family of compounds called taxanes and is the third and most recent taxane drug to gain FDA approval. The others are paclitaxel, approved in 1992, and docetaxel, approved in 1996. Defendants filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications to market generic versions of cabazitaxel before the expiration of the patents, prompting Sanofi to sue for infringement. Defendants sought a declaration of invalidity. The district court found claims 7, 11, 14–16, and 26 of the 592 patent invalid as obvious and claims 1 and 2 of the 170 patent not invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit vacated as to claims 7, 11, 14–16, and 26 of the 592 patent because there was no case or controversy with respect to those claims when the district court issued its decision. Sanofi’s disclaimer of the disclaimed claims mooted any controversy over them. The court affirmed that the 170 patent is not invalid as obvious over docetaxel. View "Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Department of Treasury issues savings bonds, a type of debt security that never expires and may be redeemed at any time after maturity, 31 U.S.C. 3105(b)(2)(A). Federal law limits the ability to transfer bonds. Kansas and Arkansas passed “escheat” laws providing that if bond owners do not redeem their savings bonds within five years after maturity, the bonds are considered abandoned and title will transfer (escheat) to the state two or three years thereafter. The states sought to redeem an unknown number of bonds, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When Treasury refused, they filed suit. The Court of Federal Claims held that Treasury must pay the proceeds of the relevant bonds, once identified, to the states. The Federal Circuit reversed. Federal law preempts the states’ escheat laws, so the bonds belong to the original bond owners, not the states. Even if the states owned the bonds, they could not obtain any greater rights than the original bond owners, and, under federal law, 31 C.F.R. 315.29(c), a bond owner must provide the serial number to redeem bonds six years or more past maturity, which includes all bonds at issue. The states do not have the physical bonds or their serial numbers. View "Laturner v. United States" on Justia Law

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Iridescent’s 119 patent, entitled “System and Method of Providing Bandwidth on Demand,” is directed to a system and method of network communication that provides guaranteed bandwidth on demand for applications that require high bandwidth and minimizes data delay and loss during transmission. In Iridescent’s infringement suit against AT&T, the parties stipulated to noninfringement based on the district court’s construction of the term “high quality of service connection.” The Federal Circuit affirmed. The term “high quality of service connection” is a term of degree that is limited to the minimum connection parameter requirements disclosed in Figure 3 of the 119 patent. The term means “a connection that assures connection speed of at least approximately one megabit per second and, where applicable based on the type of application, packet loss requirements that are about 10-5 and latency requirements that are less than one second.” View "Iridescent Networks, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility, LLC" on Justia Law

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MTD’s 458 patent discloses a steering and driving system for zero-turn radius (ZTR) vehicles, with specific reference to ZTR lawnmowers. The patented system is designed to provide a more intuitive steering mechanism to operators of ZTR vehicles. Toro sought inter partes review of claims 1–16 of the patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board found the challenged claims obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103, holding that the claim term “mechanical control assembly . . . configured to” perform certain functions is not a means-plus-function term subject to 35 U.S.C. 112. The Federal Circuit vacated, concluding that the Board erred by conflating corresponding structure in the specification with a structural definition for the term, and by misinterpreting certain statements in the prosecution history. Under the appropriate legal framework, the term “mechanical control assembly” is a means-plus-function term governed by section 112. That the specification discloses a structure corresponding to an asserted means-plus-function claim term does not necessarily mean that the claim term is understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to connote a specific structure or a class of structures. View "MTD Products Inc. v. Iancu" on Justia Law

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The University, an agent or instrumentality of the Swiss Confederation, having a place of business in Bern, Switzerland, granted an exclusive license of its 114 patent to the German company LABOKLIN, whose principal place of business is in Bad Kissingen, Germany. Under the License Agreement, LABOKLIN was required to commercialize the invention in North America. LABOKLIN entered into sublicenses in the U.S. PPG, a corporation headquartered in Washington State, offers laboratory services. After obtaining the University’s consent, LABOKLIN sent a cease-and-desist letter to PPG in Spokane, Washington. PPG sued LABOKLIN and the University, requesting a declaratory judgment that the Asserted Claims of the 114 patent are ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101 for failing to claim patent-eligible subject matter. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the district court had jurisdiction over both LABOKLIN and the University. LABOKLIN had sufficient minimum contacts with the U.S. to comport with due process; the University, a foreign sovereign in the U.S., had engaged in “commercial activity” sufficient to trigger an exception to jurisdictional immunity under 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(2) by “obtain[ing] a patent and then threaten[ing] PPG by proxy with litigation.” PPG had stipulated to infringement of the Asserted Claims; the courts found those Claims patent-ineligible as directed to patent-ineligible subject matter, namely the discovery of the genetic mutation that is linked to HNPK. View "Genetic Veterinary Sciences, Inc. v. LABOKLIN GMBH & Co. KG" on Justia Law

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Lilly markets the compound pemetrexed in the form of a disodium salt as Alimta®, which is indicated, both alone and in combination with other active agents, for treating certain types of non-small cell lung cancer and mesothelioma. Patent disputes about Alimta® reach back more than a decade. DRL, Hospira, and Actavis submitted New Drug Applications (NDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 355(b)(2), relying on Lilly’s clinical data for pemetrexed disodium but each seeks to market different pemetrexed salts. The district court concluded that the NDA submission infringed the 209 patent under 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2) and prohibited FDA approval of the products at issue until the expiration of that patent. The Federal Circuit reversed in part. The finding of literal infringement in the Hospira Decision was clearly erroneous in light of the court’s claim construction of “administration of pemetrexed disodium.” The court otherwise affirmed the infringement holding; the district court did not err in its application of the doctrine of equivalents in either decision. View "Eli Lilly and Co. v. Hospira, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 established a system that includes the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and 12 regional Reserve Banks. The Board exercises broad regulatory supervision over the Reserve Banks, which serve as banks to the U.S. government and to commercial banks who are members of the Federal Reserve System. The Act set the statutory rate for dividend payments on Federal Reserve Bank stock at six percent per year, which remained in effect until 2016, when an amendment (12 U.S.C. 289(a)(1)) effectively reduced the dividend rate for certain stockholder banks to a lower variable rate. Plaintiffs argued that banks that subscribed to Reserve Bank stock before the amendment are entitled to dividends at the six percent rate and that, by paying dividends at the amended rate, the government breached a contractual duty or effected a Fifth Amendment taking. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. There is no “clear indication” of the government’s intent to contract in either the language of the Federal Reserve Act or the circumstances of its passage. Plaintiffs did not allege a legally cognizable property interest arising from its “statutory rights” and the requirement that member banks subscribe to reserve bank stock under the Act does not constitute a regulatory taking. View "American Bankers Association v. United States" on Justia Law