by
In April 2009, E.O. visited a pediatrician for his six-month visit and received several vaccinations. That night, Mrs. Oliver found E.O. seizing in his bed and called 9-1-1. At the emergency room, E.O. presented with a fever, red eyes with discharge, and a runny nose. The next day, E.O.’s pediatrician diagnosed E.O. with “complex febrile seizure and conjunctivitis.” E.O. did not have any health issues or seizures for two months but had several seizures over the summer and began to experience prolonged seizures in March 2010. Each seizure resulted in an emergency room visit. A pediatric neurologist diagnosed E.O. with an SCN1A gene defect. E.O. exhibited developmental delay. A pediatric neurologist performed examinations, which demonstrated “intractable, symptomatic childhood absence and complex partial seizures of independent hemisphere origin secondary to SCN1A gene defect (borderline SMEI syndrome) and encephalopathy characterized by speech delay.” E.O.’s family sought compensation under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 42 U.S.C. 300aa-2–300aa-33, alleging that E.O. developed Dravet syndrome as a result of the vaccinations. The Claims Court and Federal Circuit affirmed the rejection of their claim. The government’s expert provided strong evidence that Dravet syndrome will develop in children with the SCN[1]A mutation, whether or not they receive vaccinations; the Olivers failed to establish that their theory has garnered widespread acceptance, as evidenced by an extensive discussion of articles with contradictory findings. View "Oliver v. Secretary of Health and Human Services" on Justia Law

by
The Missouri River overlies the western boundary of South Dakota's Crow Creek Indian Reservation, established in 1863. Under the Supreme Court’s 1908 “Winters” decision, the creation of a Reservation carries an implied right to unappropriated water “to the extent needed to accomplish the purpose of the reservation.” The Tribe possesses “Winters rights.” The Tribe sued, seeking $200 million in damages for the taking of its water rights. The complaint notes the federal Pick-Sloan flood control project on the River, with construction of the Fort Randall and Big Bend Dams; a 1996 statute that established a trust fund for the Tribe, funded with $27.5 million in hydroelectric-power revenue from Pick-Sloan; a 2012 settlement between the Tribe and the government, unrelated to water rights; and the generally poor economic prospects of the Reservation; it alleged that the government breached its fiduciary duty to “[a]ppropriately manag[e] the natural resources" of the Reservation, 25 U.S.C. 162a(d)(8). The complaint did not allege that the government’s actions deprived the Tribe of sufficient water to fulfill the reservation’s purposes or that those actions would cause the Tribe to lack sufficient water in the future. The Claims Court dismissed, stating that the complaint did not suggest that the Tribe is experiencing a water shortage and that it could not identify an injury "that has yet occurred.” The Federal Circuit affirmed, concluding that the Tribe failed to even allege that it has suffered the requisite injury in fact. View "Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Core sued Apple, alleging infringement of two patents concerning technology for wireless communications in a digital network. Claim 14 is directed to a mobile station, such as a mobile telephone, configured to synchronize to a base station using the same timing information for the uplink and downlink channels. Claim 19 is directed to a receiver, such as a mobile telephone, that can detect predetermined control messages where they are not otherwise expected. A jury found that Apple infringed both asserted claims and that neither was invalid. The court rejected Apple’s argument that the 151 patent was unenforceable due to implied waiver. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. The jury’s finding of infringement of claim 14 was supported by substantial evidence. The issue of validity came down to a disagreement between the experts; the jury could reasonably credit the testimony of Core’s expert over that of Apple’s expert. The court remanded with respect to Apple’s implied waiver theory of unenforceability, based on actions taken by Nokia, the original assignee of one patent, during its participation with the standards-setting organization referenced in the patent. The district court did not make findings regarding whether either party inequitably benefited from Nokia’s failure to disclose, or whether Nokia’s conduct was sufficiently egregious to justify finding implied waiver without regard to any benefit resulting from that misconduct. The court reversed in part; Core’s theory of infringement is inadequate to support a judgment on claim 19. View "Core Wireless Licensing, S.A.R.L. v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In 1999, Native American farmers sued, alleging that the USDA had discriminated against them with respect to farm loans and other benefits. The court certified a class, including LaBatte, a farmer and member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribe. Under a settlement, the government would provide a $680 million compensation fund. The Track A claims process was limited to claimants seeking standard payments of $50,000. Track A did not require proof of discrimination. Under Track B, a claimant could seek up to $250,000 by establishing that his treatment by USDA was "less favorable than that accorded a specifically identified, similarly situated white farmer(s),” which could be established “by a credible sworn statement based on personal knowledge by an individual who is not a member of the Claimant’s family.” A "Neutral" would review the record without a hearing; there was no appeal of the decision. LaBatte's Track B claim identified two individuals who had personal knowledge of the USDA’s treatment of similarly-situated white farmers. Both worked for the government's Bureau of Indian Affairs. Before LaBatte could finalize their declarations, the government directed the two not to sign the declarations. The Neutral denied LaBatte’s claim. The Claims Court affirmed the dismissal of LaBatte’s appeal, acknowledging that it had jurisdiction over breach of settlement claims, but concluding that it lacked jurisdiction over LaBatte’s case because LaBatte had, in the Track B process, waived his right to judicial review to challenge the breach of the agreement. The Federal Circuit reversed. There is no language in the agreement that suggests that breach of the agreement would not give rise to a new cause of action. View "LaBatte v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Sigvaris imports graduated compression hosiery from three product lines. All of the product lines exert 15–20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) of compression onto the wearer. Graduated compression hosiery “when properly worn, forces pooled blood to circulate out of the leg and throughout the body.” Between September 2008 and November 2010, Sigvaris imported 105 entries. Customs liquidated the entries between August 2009 and September 2011. Customs classified the subject merchandise as “[o]ther graduated compression hosiery: . . . [o]f synthetic fibers” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading 6115.10.40 subject to a duty rate of 14.6%. The Trade Court held and the Federal Circuit affirmed that the merchandise does not qualify as duty-free under the HTSUS subheading 9817.00.96 as articles specially designed for the use or benefit of physically handicapped persons. The plain language of the heading focuses the inquiry on the “persons” for whose use and benefit the articles are “specially designed,” and not on any disorder that may incidentally afflict persons who use the subject merchandise. To be “specially designed,” the subject merchandise must be intended for the use or benefit of a specific class of persons to an extent greater than for the use or benefit of others. View "Sigvaris, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

by
PI filed four petitions with the Patent and Trademark Office under 35 U.S.C. 311(b) requesting inter partes review of the claims of three patents. The patents share a priority date of June 4, 1997. The Board denied the petitions, finding that PI failed to show that any reference cited in the petitions was publicly accessible before that date and that the relied-upon references were not invalidating prior art. The petitions relied on three references: a paper presented at a 1993 conference and two data sheets. The Board rejected the references under 35 U.S.C. 102 and 311(b), concluding that they were not printed publications available to the public. The Federal Circuit denied relief, rejecting claims of procedural irregularities; 35 U.S.C. 314(d), states that “[t]he determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” A disappointed petitioner cannot by-pass the statutory bar on appellate review simply by directing its challenge to asserted procedural irregularities rather than to the substance of the non-institution ruling. View "In re: Power Integrations, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Luminara owns three patents for making flameless candles that look and behave like real candles. At Liown’s request, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review (IPR) of 31 claims of those patents. The Board first addressed whether the IPR of the 319 patent was time-barred under 35 U.S.C. 315(b), because the petition was filed more than a year after Liown was served with a complaint alleging infringement by Candella, Luminara’s predecessor. The district court had entered a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. Luminara later commenced another lawsuit against Liown, again alleging infringement of the 319 patent as to the same products. The IPR petition was within one year of service of the second action. The Board rejected the timeliness argument because the first action had been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice, ‘leav[ing] the parties as though the action had never been brought.’” The Board found all 31 claims were either anticipated or would have been obvious over the prior art. The Federal Circuit vacated the decision as to the 319 patent and remanded for dismissal of that IPR, holding that the section 315(b) time-bar applies, and affirmed the other IPRs. The Board lacked jurisdiction to institute the time-barred IPR. View "Luminara Worldwide, LLC v. Iancu" on Justia Law

by
In 2001, Inforocket sued Keen for infringement suit of the 836 patent. Keen brought its own infringement suit against Inforocket based on another patent, before the same judge. The court granted Inforocket summary judgment of noninfringement. While its appeal was pending, Keen acquired Inforocket. Both suits were dismissed “without prejudice.” Keen changed its name to Ingenio.and successfully requested ex parte reexamination of the 836 patent. Several claims were canceled, others were determined to be patentable as amended, and new claims were added. Ingenio was later sold twice. CTC acquired the 836 patent, and, in 2012, asserted infringement against multiple parties. In 2013, Ingenio and others filed a single IPR petition challenging claims of the 836 patent. CTC argued that 35 U.S.C. 315(b) barred institution of IPR proceedings, and that Ingenio lacked standing because Ingenio was served with the 2001 infringement complaint. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found the suit was not barred because the 2001 suit was “dismissed voluntarily without prejudice … leaving the parties as though the action had never been brought.” The Board did not address whether the patent at issue in that suit is the same patent, in light of interim amendments, or whether section 315(b)’s time bar should be determined on a “petitioner-by-petitioner” basis. The Board determined that several claims either were anticipated by or would have been obvious in view of prior art. The Federal Circuit, having previously held that section 315(b) time-bar determinations are appealable,” vacated. The petition was time-barred and the Board lacked jurisdiction to institute IPR proceedings. View "Click-to-Call Technologies, LP v. Ingenio, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The patent describes an ATM, capable of performing banking transactions, including “automatically depositing a bundle of cashes and cheques inserted at once” by separating deposited bundles into individual banknotes; verifying the authenticity or abnormality of each note; sorting and processing the notes based on how each was verified; and preparing the notes for storage safes. One component recited in each of the nine claims is a “cheque standby unit.” The specification does not mention a “cheque standby unit,” but references a “cheque temporary standby unit” in three portions of the detailed description. The International Trade Commission found that Diebold violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing ATM components that infringe the claims, all of which recite the term “cheque standby unit.” The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the term “cheque standby unit” is a means-plus-function term subject to 35 U.S.C. 112, para. 6, which lacks corresponding structure disclosed in the specification. The claimed function is “holding the at least one authentic cheque to return the at least one authentic cheque to the user responsive to receiving user instructions canceling depositing of the at least one authentic cheque.” A person of ordinary skill in the art would be unable to recognize the structure in the specification and associate it with the corresponding function in the claim. View "Diebold Nixdorf, Inc. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

by
BSG sued BuySeasons for infringement of three patents related to systems and methods for indexing information stored in wide access databases. The patents teach that the “self-evolving” aspect of the claimed invention addresses the shortcomings of prior art by enabling users to “add new parameters for use in describing items.” The district court dismissed the suit on grounds that none of the asserted patent claims were patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The asserted claims are directed to the abstract idea of considering historical usage information while inputting data. BSG does not purport to have invented database structures that allow database users to input item data as a series of parameters and values. The recitation of a database structure slightly more detailed than a generic database does not save the asserted claims; a claim is not patent eligible merely because it applies an abstract idea in a narrow way. The only alleged unconventional feature of BSG’s claims is the requirement that users are guided by summary comparison usage information or relative historical usage information but this simply restates an abstract idea. View "BSG Tech LLC v. BuySeasons, Inc." on Justia Law