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Exmark sued Briggs & Stratton for infringement of a patent directed to a lawn mower having improved flow control baffles. .The court entered summary judgment that claim 1 was not invalid because the claim survived multiple reexaminations involving the same prior art and denied summary judgment of indefiniteness with respect to claim 1. A jury found that Briggs willfully infringed and awarded $24,280,330 in compensatory damages, which the court doubled as enhanced damages for willful infringement. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The district court erred by determining invalidity solely on the fact that claim 1 survived multiple reexaminations; erred in denying a new trial on damages because Exmark’s damages expert failed to provide an adequate explanation for a 5% royalty rate for the patented feature relative to other conventional features of the accused products; and abused its discretion by limiting the evidence relevant to damages to prior art that had been commercialized, The district court's willfulness ruling did not comport with the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Halo Electronics, mandating that willfulness is to be determined by the jury regardless of whether Briggs’ defenses were objectively reasonable. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment that claim 1 is indefinite and denial of Briggs’ laches defense. View "Exmark Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. Briggs & Stratton Power Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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The patent, entitled “Full Duplex Single Clip Video Codec” lists co-inventors, Woo, Li, and Hsiun, and was created while they were Infochips employees. Infochips’ “receivables,” pledged as security, were seized by LM when Infochips went out of business in 1993; in 1995, LM sold Infochips’s assets to Woo. Woo assigned his interest in the patent to AVC. In 1995, AVC filed the patent's parent application. Woo and Li assigned their interests to AVC. Hsiun refused to do so. The PTO permitted AVC to prosecute the application without that assignment. AVC claimed that it obtained Hsiun’s interests by Hsiun's 1992 Employment Agreement with Infochips. The patent was issued to AVC, which later dissolved, after purporting to transfer its assets to its successors (Advanced Video). In 2011, Advanced Video filed patent infringement lawsuits. The district court found that AVC had not complied with Delaware statutes governing dissolved corporations and that no patent rights had transferred to Advanced Video. The cases were dismissed. The state court appointed a Receiver to transfer AVC's patent rights to Advanced Video. After the transfer, Advanced Video filed new infringement lawsuits, arguing that its acquisition of Hsiun’s interest was effected by the Employment Agreement’s “will assign,” trust and quitclaim provisions. The court rejected the argument and, because Hsiun was not a party to the suit, dismissed for lack of standing. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Hsiun never actually assigned her rights, despite her promises to do so. View "Advanced Video Technologies, LLC v. HTC Corp." on Justia Law

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Finjan sued Blue Coat for infringement of patents directed to identifying and protecting against malware. Certain claims recite a system and method for providing computer security by attaching a security profile to a downloadable; others recite a system and method for providing computer security at a network gateway by comparing security profiles associated with requested files to the security policies of requesting users. Others recite a “policy-based cache manager” that indicates the allowability of cached files under a plurality of user security policies and relate to a system and method for using “mobile code runtime monitoring” to protect against malicious downloadables. A jury awarded Finjan $39.5 million for infringement, including $24 million for the 844 patent. The court concluded that the 844 patent is directed to patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part, upholding the subject matter eligibility determination as to the 844 patent and the jury’s finding of infringement of the 844 and 731 patents. Blue Coat was entitled to judgment of noninfringement for the 968 patent because the accused products do not perform the claimed “policy index” limitation. With respect to damages, the court affirmed the award for the 731 and 633 patents, vacated the award for the 968 patent, and, as to the 844 patent, agreed with Blue Coat that Finjan failed to apportion damages to the infringing functionality. View "Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Directors of the Office of Compliance affirmed a finding that the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) engaged in unfair labor practices when it issued Officer Konczos a Command Discipline Warning in response to Konczos’s protected union activity, 5 U.S.C. 7102. Konczos had expressed dissatisfaction with the USCP policy of requiring officers to work a double-shift when the need arises, sometimes informing an officer about the extra shift only at the last minute. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Fraternal Order of Police and the USCP permits the USCP to require officers on the current tour to be held over for a subsequent tour. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The parties did not dispute that Konczos engaged in protected activity when he raised the issue during regularly scheduled labor-management meetings and when he reiterated his concerns in an email to the police chief; the court rejected USCP’s argument, that the portion of Konczos’s email protesting his own personal holdover did not constitute a protected activity. Substantial evidence supported findings that Konczos made a prima facie case of discrimination and that USCP’s stated justifications were pretextual. View "United States Capitol Police v. Office of Compliance" on Justia Law

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The 215 patent is directed to improving the efficiency by which messages are sent from a receiver to a sender in a telecommunications system to advise the sender that errors occurred in a particular message. In inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that various claims were anticipated. The Federal Circuit initially affirmed, holding that whether the petition for review was time-barred was not subject to judicial review. On rehearing, en banc, the Federal Circuit remanded. The Patent and Trademark Office is prohibited from instituting inter partes review if the petition requesting that review is filed more than one year after the petitioner, real party in interest, or privy of the petitioner is served with a complaint for patent infringement, 35 U.S.C. 315(b); under section 314(d) the determination “whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” The court, noting the strong presumption in favor of judicial review of agency actions, found no clear and convincing indication of congressional intent to prohibit review of time-bar determinations under section 315(b). In finding such rulings appealable, the court overruled its own precedent. View "Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp." on Justia Law

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Pleasure-Way, manufactures and sells Class B motorhomes. In 2008-2009, having bought 144 DaimlerChrysler AG “Sprinter” vans in the U.S., Pleasure-Way exported them to its facility in Canada, where it converted them into its Plateau TS and Ascent TS motorhomes, by installing fully-plumbed kitchen and bathroom fixtures with freshwater and sewage tanks, water heaters, sleeping quarters, countertops with propane burners, microwave ovens, wall-mounted televisions, refrigerators, large picture windows and porch lights, awnings, running boards, and exterior showers. When Pleasure-Way imported the resulting motorhomes into the U.S., it sought to avoid their being classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), 8703.33.00, arguing that the motorhomes should be classified under subheading 9802.00.50, as “[g]oods re-entered after repair or alteration in Canada or Mexico.” Customs rejected the argument and assessed a 2.5% ad valorem import duty. The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment against Pleasure-Way. Pleasure-Way gave the converted motorhomes new names and sold them at a price double to triple the market price for Sprinter vans. It marketed them as upscale leisure vehicles for vacationing and recreation, while the Sprinter vans were marketed primarily as cargo vans. The likely use and consumer base for the vans as exported were broadly different from those for the motorhomes imported after conversion. View "Pleasure-Way Industries, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Monsanto’s patent, titled “Soybean Seed and Oil Compositions and Methods of Making Same,” claims a two-step process for crossing (mating) two parent soybean lines to produce soybean seeds with a modified fatty acid profile. The patent describes “the combination of transgenes that provide both moderate oleic acid levels and low saturated fat levels with soybean germplasm that contains mutations in soybean genes that confer low linolenic acid phenotypes.” After granting DuPont’s request for inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the rejection of several claims as anticipated, 35 U.S.C. 102(b), and one as obvious over prior art (Booth). The Federal Circuit affirmed. The PTAB “reasonably interpreted” Booth’s parent line containing 4% linolenic acid “to be within the scope of ‘about 3%,’” as recited in claim 1 of the patent. Substantial evidence supported the finding that Booth “necessarily includes” step (b) of the asserted claims. View "Monsanto Technology LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours" on Justia Law

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The Commerce Department can impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on imported goods if it “determines that the government of a country . . . is providing, directly or indirectly, a countervailable subsidy with respect to” an imported good, 19 U.S.C. 1671(a)(1), and assessed CVD rate of 374.15% on entries of aluminum extrusions from China. Other importers challenged that rate at the Trade Court in a separate case, resulting in an "all-others" rate of 7.37% on entries of aluminum extrusions from China. Capella was not part of the litigation and never sought administrative review of its entries, so those entries were subject to automatic liquidation at the 374.15% cash deposit rate in effect at the time of the entries. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trade Court’s dismissal of Capella’s complaints. Sections 1516a(c)(1); (e) state the CVD rate that applies to pre-Timken notice entries when liquidation is not enjoined by court decision or the subject of administrative review: the rate Commerce established in its final determination. Capella’s entries were made before the Timken notice and Capella did not participate in the separate litigation or request administrative review of its entries, so Capella could not claim the benefit of the lower all-others rate awarded to the litigants. View "Capella Sales & Services Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission awarded spectrum licenses to Alpine, for use in the provision of wireless telecommunications services. Alpine bid approximately $8.9 million for one license and $17.3 million for the other. As a small business, Alpine was eligible to pay in installments over the 10-year term of the licenses. Alpine’s failure to make required payments in 2002 triggered automatic cancellation under FCC regulations. In addition to taking other steps in response, Alpine sought relief from the FCC and, on review under the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 402(b)(5), from the District of Columbia Circuit. In 2016, Alpine filed this action against the United States under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491(a)(1), arguing that the FCC breached contractual obligations in canceling the licenses and that the cancellation was a taking for which Alpine was entitled to just compensation. The Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal by the Claims Court for lack of jurisdiction under the Tucker Act. The Communications Act provides a comprehensive statutory scheme through which Alpine could raise its contract claims and could challenge the alleged taking and receive a remedy that could have provided just compensation in this case, foreclosing jurisdiction under the Tucker Act. View "Alpine PCS, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Petitioners, employed by the Office of Air and Marine (OAM), within the Department of Homeland Security, alleged that the agency’s actions and policies violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. 4301–4335. They were members of the Air Force and Navy Reserves. They subsequently resigned, claiming that they were “forced to quit.” An administrative judge (AJ) rejected Petitioners’ contention that the OAM violated USERRA by failing to grant them waivers from participating in training courses that conflicted with their military service dates, creating a hostile work environment, forcing them to surrender their badges and weapons during military leaves of 30 or more days, delaying within-grade pay increases, and requiring them to use annual, sick, or other leave in lieu of military leave. The AJ found “a legitimate basis for the [Agency’s] security policy,” and an “absence of any evidence that its [weapons] policy was adopted with discriminatory intent.” Allegedly hostile incidents were either “‘unavoidable’ workplace friction” or did not rise to the level of “humiliating,” “physically threatening,” or “so frequent and pervasive” to render their work environment hostile. They later filed a second complaint, alleging constructive discharge. The AJ, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Circuit agreed that the constructive discharge claims were barred by collateral estoppel as “inextricably linked” to their previous hostile work environment claims. The standard for establishing constructive discharge is higher than that for hostile work environment, View "Bryant v. Merit Systems Protection Board" on Justia Law