Justia U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Animal / Dog Law
Radio Sys. Corp. v Lalor
Bumper Boy holds two patents on improvements to electronic animal collars; the 082 patent is a continuation-in-part of the 014 patent. Although the 082 patent contains some new matter, the asserted claims from the 082 patent are supported by the 014 patent specification. Both patents generally disclose and claim a collar having “high point surfaces” that extend the inside surface of the collar above the base of electrodes 24 toward the animal “to relieve and distribute the load caused by collar tension around the animal’s neck” and reduce discomfort. The district court construed “inside surface” as “the portion of the collar housing facing inwards towards the animal” and “electrode base” as “the portion of the electrode where it intersects the inside surface of the collar housing” and held that Radio Shack and Innotek did not infringe the patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to claim construction, but reversed with respect to the district court’s reliance on equitable estoppel. View "Radio Sys. Corp. v Lalor" on Justia Law
Casitas Mun. Water Dist. v. United States
Casitas Water District operates the Ventura River Project, which is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and provides water to Ventura County, California, using dams, reservoirs, a canal, pump stations, and many miles of pipeline. In 1997, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed the West Coast steelhead trout as an endangered species and determined that the primary cause of its decline was loss of habitat due to water development, including impassable dams. Casitas faced liability if continued operation of the Project resulted in harm to the steelhead, 16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1), 1540(a)–(b). In 2003, NMFS issued a biological opinion concerning operation of a fish ladder to relieve Casitas of liability. Casitas opened the Robles fish ladder, then filed suit, asserting that the biological opinion operating criteria breached its 1956 Contract with the government or amounted to uncompensated taking of Casitas’s property. The Claims Court dismissed, citing the sovereign acts doctrine. The Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal of the contract claim, but reversed dismissal of Casitas’s takings claim. The court again dismissed, holding that Casitas had failed to show that the operating criteria had thus far resulted in any reduction of water deliveries, so a takings claim was not yet ripe. The Federal Circuit affirmed. View "Casitas Mun. Water Dist. v. United States" on Justia Law
Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. v. Societe des Produits Nestle, S.A.
Nestle’s BEGGIN’ STRIPS registered mark for pet treats has been in continuous use since 1988 and has been registered since 1989. Midwestern manufactures and sells pet treats and filed an intent-to-use application with the Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to register the mark WAGGIN’ STRIPS for pet food and edible pet treats. Nestle opposed registration, arguing likelihood of confusion between the two marks. The district court ruled in favor of Nestle, finding likelihood of confusion. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding that the district court properly admitted evidence submitted by Nestle. View "Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. v. Societe des Produits Nestle, S.A." on Justia Law
Merial, Ltd. v. Cipla, Ltd.
The patents involve topical compositions for protecting pets from fleas and ticks. The 940 patent, now expired, claimed fipronil for pest control by direct toxicity. Merial, as exclusive licensee, developed compositions sold as Frontline. Merial also devised compositions, covered by the 329 patent, combining fipronil with an insect growth regulator, sold as Frontline Plus, the leading flea and tick treatment. In 2007 Merial sued Cipla and other internet retailers, alleging infringement. No defendant responded. The district court found that the patents were not invalid, that Cipla had infringed each patent, and entered a permanent injunction barring Cipla from directly or indirectly infringing the patents. In 2008 Cipla filed an informal communication, not intended to constitute an appearance, denying infringing or having any presence in the U.S., and requesting dismissal. The district court entered final judgment. Velcera, led by former Merial executives, engaged with Cipla to develop, test, manufacture, and distribute products to compete with Merial. Both Velcera and Cipla entered into development and supply agreements with various companies. In 2011, they began selling PetArmor Plus. The district court held Velcera and Cipla in contempt. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to jurisdiction and to the contempt order’s application to Velcera. View "Merial, Ltd. v. Cipla, Ltd." on Justia Law