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Georgetown’s patent relates to a system for inspecting the steel tie plates that connect rail tracks to wooden ties, using digital technology. Georgetown's Aurora System uses lasers and cameras mounted on a vehicle to collect and process information about track ties to allow customers to “manage the logistics of crosstie replacement.” Holland purchases track and crosstie measuring technologies from Rail Vision and places those technologies on its own track inspection "TrackStar" vehicles. Data from the track is sent to third-parties for processing. Rail Vision sends finished reports to Holland for distribution to Holland’s customers. Holland and Georgetown knew of each other’s place in the track-tie market. The companies participated in a “head-to-head challenge,” and demonstrated their services to potential customer Union Pacific. Following the demonstrations, Union Pacific and Holland agreed to alter an existing contract to allow Holland to provide Rail Vision Systems technology to Union Pacific. Georgetown sued Holland for infringement and was granted a preliminary injunction, ending Holland’s potential sales to Union Pacific. A jury found that Holland willfully infringed Georgetown's patent and awarded $1,541,333 in damages. The court awarded Georgetown an additional $1,000,000 in enhanced damages based on a finding of willful infringement, 35 U.S.C. 284. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Substantial evidence supports a finding that subjective recklessness led to willful infringement in this case. View "Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. v. Holland L.P." on Justia Law

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Visual’s 740 patent purports to overcome deficiencies in computer systems using a three-tiered memory hierarchy to enhance performance by creating a memory system with programmable operational characteristics that can be tailored for use with multiple different processors without an accompanying reduction in performance. The Federal Circuit reversed the dismissal of Visual’s patent infringement complaint against NVIDIA. The patent claims an improvement to computer memory systems and is not directed to an abstract idea, so it is patentable under 35 U.S.C. 101. The patent includes a microfiche appendix having a combined total of 263 frames of computer code. View "Visual Memory LLC v. NVIDIA Corp." on Justia Law

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Lottery, a state agency, began operating traditional lottery drawing games and instant lottery scratch-off games in North Carolina in 2006. It introduces new scratch-off games on the first Tuesday of each month and asserts that it has continuously used the mark FIRST TUESDAY since July 2013 in print materials, on its Website, and on point-of-sale displays. In 2014, Lottery applied for registration of the mark FIRST TUESDAY for “Lottery cards; scratch cards for playing lottery games” and for “Lottery services,” submitting specimens that have explanatory text such as “[n]ew scratch-offs” or “[n]ew scratch-offs the first Tuesday of every month.” The examining attorney refused registration, finding that the mark used in the context of Lottery’s promotional materials “merely describes a feature of [its] goods and services, namely, new versions of the goods and services are offered the first Tuesday of every month.” The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and the Federal Circuit affirmed. Lottery’s promotional materials make clear that “new scratch-off games are offered on the first Tuesday of every month” and that fact would “be so understood by the relevant consumers who encounter the designation FIRST TUESDAY.” No “mental thought or multi-step reasoning is required to reach a conclusion as to the nature of the involved goods and services.” View "In re: North Carolina Lottery" on Justia Law

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Under 42 U.S.C. 1485, the USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) makes loans for construction of affordable rental housing. From 1972-1982, each of 10 limited partnerships (with a common general partner, Olsen) entered into a 50-year loan agreement that stated that each borrower could pay off the loan and convert its properties to conventional housing after 15 or 20 years. The 1987 Emergency Low Income Housing Preservation Act, 42 U.S.C. 1472(c)), provided that before accepting prepayment, the USDA must attempt to enter into an agreement with the borrower. In 2002, Olsen was negotiating to sell to a nonprofit organization. He notified the RHS of “intent . . . to convert [some] units into conventional housing” and sought approval to pay off the mortgages. RHS responded with a checklist. Olsen did not proceed; the potential acquirer decided against purchasing the properties. In 2011, Olsen submitted more definite prepayment requests. RHS responded with an incentive offer concerning four properties, which Olsen accepted, remaining in the program. For three other properties, RHS informed Olsen that prepayment was not an option. Olsen purportedly believed that pursuing prepayment on any properties was futile. He did not submit additional applications. In 2013, the partnerships sued, alleging that the government, through the 1987 enactment or the 2011 correspondence, violated their prepayment rights. The Federal Circuit reversed the Claims Court's dismissal. The 2002 correspondence did not trigger the RHS’s duty to accept prepayment; RHS did not take any steps inconsistent with prepayment. The government did not breach its contractual obligation in 2002. Because the alleged breaches occurred no earlier than 2011, the contract claims are not barred by the six-year limitations period. The Claims Court implicitly premised the dismissal of takings claims on the same erroneous rationale. View "Airport Road Associates, Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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AIA sued Avid for infringement of patents directed to research technologies stemming from the discovery of a genetic mutation that is associated with early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. Mullan is named as the sole inventor of both patents. Avid responded that AIA lacked standing to assert the patents and that Sexton, AIA’s founder, and Mullan orchestrated a scheme to appropriate for themselves inventions from Imperial College in London and the University of South Florida. AIA claimed that Dr. Mullan was properly named as sole inventor and that his employer, USF, waived any ownership rights. The district court held a jury trial on standing, in which 12 witnesses testified and over 200 exhibits were introduced. The jury determined that USF did not knowingly and intentionally waive its ownership rights and that Dr. Hardy was a co-inventor; the court found AIA lacked standing and entered judgment for Avid. The Federal Circuit summarily affirmed. Avid sought attorney’s fees. The district court allowed the parties to submit briefing, evidence, and declarations and held a hearing, then awarded Avid $3,943,317.70 in fees. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting AIA’s argument that the Seventh Amendment requires a jury trial to decide the facts forming the basis to award attorney’s fees under Patent Act section 285. The district court did not err by making factual findings not foreclosed by the jury’s verdict on standing; AIA’s due process rights were not violated. View "AIA America, Inc. v. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals" on Justia Law

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Rumsey, a Department of Justice employee, protested grant-making decisions and ultimately went to the media and members of Congress and filed a complaint with the Inspector General, alleging fraud. Her efforts resulted in corrective action. Rumsey alleged that the agency subsequently gave her improperly low performance ratings, moved some of her job duties to other employees, and canceled her telework agreement. She prevailed in an individual right of action appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board, alleging whistleblower reprisal. Rumsey sought attorney’s fees under 5 U.S.C. 1221(g)(1)(B). At the time of that request, Rumsey and Slavet, one of the three lawyers that represented Rumsey during the Board proceedings, were in fee dispute before the District of Columbia Bar, Attorney/Client Arbitration Board. Rumsey “distanced herself from Slavet,” who had been Rumsey’s principal lawyer before and during the initial hearing before the administrative judge. The AJ had previously awarded sanctions based on Slavet’s failure to respond to discovery requests. The Board affirmed the AJ’s refusal to award attorney’s fees for Slavet’s services. Slavet and Rumsey settled their fee dispute, agreeing that Rumsey would pay $120,000 of the $145,445 sought by Slavet. The Federal Circuit reversed. Rumsey carried her burden of showing entitlement to some award of attorney’s fees. View "Rumsey v. Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, 42 U.S.C. 262, establishes a scheme for adjudicating claims of patent infringement in the FDA's approval of “biological products.” To obtain FDA approval, the sponsor of a new biological product must demonstrate that it is “safe, pure, and potent.” For a “biosimilar” product based on an approved “reference” product, a party may submit an abbreviated “subsection (k)” application that “piggybacks” on the showing made for an approved reference product but must provide the reference product's sponsor with its subsection (k) application and information that describes the manufacturing process. The parties then collaborate to identify patents for immediate litigation. The second phase is triggered by the applicant’s notice of commercial marketing and involves any patents that were included on the lists but not previously litigated. Hospira's subsection (k) application sought approval of a biosimilar of EPOGEN®, Amgen’s FDA-approved product, Although Amgen asserted that Hospira failed to disclose the composition of the cell-culture medium used during manufacturing, the parties began identifying patents. Amgen claimed that it could not assess the reasonableness of asserting infringement claims concerning other patents for culturing cells and moved to compel discovery on the composition of Hospira’s cell-culture medium in its suit on listed patents. The court denied Amgen’s motion, stating that the information had no relevance to the asserted patents. Amgen appealed that interlocutory order. The Federal Circuit dismissed, holding that it lacked jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine and that Amgen failed to satisfy the prerequisites for mandamus. View "Amgen, Inc.. v. Hospira, Inc.." on Justia Law

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Romag’s patent and trademark are directed to magnetic snap fasteners and are licensed to a Chinese manufacturer, which supplied ROMAG magnetic snaps for use in handbags manufactured and distributed by Fossil. In 2010, a batch of Fossil handbags appeared to contain counterfeit ROMAG magnetic snaps. Romag sued Fossil for patent and trademark infringement and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The Federal Circuit affirmed a verdict finding Fossil liable for patent and trademark infringement and for violation of CUTPA. Romag sought attorney’s fees under the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 285, Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1117(a), and CUTPA. The district court granted fees under the Patent Act and CUTPA, but not under the Lanham Act. The Federal Circuit vacated, first holding that the Lanham Act should have the same standard for recovering attorney’s fees as the Patent Act. In determining whether the case was exceptional under 35 U.S.C. 285, the court made several errors with respect to the “totality of the circumstances”: Fossil’s patent invalidity defenses were withdrawn before trial; the court made no finding that Fossil’s defenses of anticipation and obviousness were objectively unreasonable; in the infringement proceedings, the judge did not conclude that Fossil’s indefiniteness defense bordered on frivolous; and the court failed to consider Romag’s earlier litigation misconduct. View "Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc." on Justia Law

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Symbolic owns the mark I AM (typed drawing) for “clothing, namely, hats, caps, socks, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, shorts, pants, sweatpants, jeans, swimwear, swimsuits, beachwear and footwear, namely, shoes, athletic footwear, boots, clogs, sneakers and sandals” in class 25, and owns the mark WILL.I.AM (standard characters) for certain goods in class 9 and services in class 41. Symbolic’s predecessor-in-interest (William Adams) filed trademark applications for registration of the mark for goods in classes 3, 9, and 14 on an intent-to-use basis under 15 U.S.C. 1051(b). The applications were amended during prosecution to include the statement “associated with William Adams, professionally known as ‘will.i.am.’” The examining attorney refused registration on the ground of likelihood of confusion with previously registered I AM marks pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1052(d) for the same or similar goods. The Board affirmed, noting that Adams is the well-known front man for the music group The Black Eyed Peas and is known as will.i.am but that the record did not establish that Adams is “widely known by ‘i.am’ or that ‘i.am’ and ‘will.i.am’ are used interchangeably by either Mr. Adams or the public.” The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the “likelihood of confusion” finding. View "In re: I.AM.Symbolic, LLC" on Justia Law

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In response to a 2005 petition (19 U.S.C. 1673), the Department of Commerce found that diamond sawblades from China were likely sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. For non-market economy (NME) countries, Commerce begins with a rebuttable presumption that all companies within the country are subject to government control and assigns a single antidumping duty rate unless an exporter can demonstrate that it is sufficiently independent. Commerce concluded that ATM qualified for a separate rate of 2.50%. The Trade Court remanded twice. Commerce then concluded that ATM had failed to rebut the presumption of government control, finding that a Chinese government agency controlled one of five ATM entities. The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed in 2013. Commerce conducted its first administrative review before those decisions and found that ATM qualified for a separate rate of 0.15%. On remand, Commerce concluded that ATM did not qualify for a separate rate The China-wide entity rate was then 164.09%. Commerce recalculated that rate—which would apply to ATM and all other members of the China-wide entity—by averaging the previously assigned China-wide rate and the ATM rate, arriving at an entity-wide rate of 82.12%. The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed. Despite ATM’s cooperation with Commerce, it failed to prove independence from government control. View "Diamond Sawblades Manufacturers Coalition v. United States" on Justia Law