Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

by
The patent, covering methods of treating hepatitis C by administering compounds having a specific chemical and stereochemical structure, issued on a final application filed on June 27, 2003, by the inventor, Storer. In an interference proceeding, Storer was initially declared the senior party based on the “S1” provisional application's June 28, 2002 filing date. Clark’s Application was filed September 12, 2007, with priority claimed to a provisional application filed on May 30, 2003. Both were filed before the effective date of the America Invents Act, which abolished the first-to-invent interference rule in favor of a first-to-file rule. Clark moved to deny Storer the priority date of the S1 application and to invalidate Storer’s claims, arguing that the S1 application did not enable compounds having the 2´F(down) substituent. Storer argued that these compounds were generically disclosed in the S1 application, and were readily obtained based on the disclosure in the S1 provisional and prior art. The Board awarded priority to Clark. The Federal Circuit affirmed; substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that “a high amount of experimentation is necessary to synthesize” the target compound. The record showed sufficient variability and unpredictability to support a conclusion that Storer’s provisional application did not enable the interference subject matter. View "Storer v. Clark" on Justia Law

by
Outdry’s 171 patent claims methods of waterproofing leather, particularly for the manufacture of shoes, clothes, or leather accessories. The specification discloses prior art methods of waterproofing leather shoes, including sewing a fabric lining and a semipermeable film to the interior surface of the leather or gluing a semi-permeable membrane inside the leather around the membrane’s perimeter, but states those methods allowed a water cushion to form in which water penetrates the leather and becomes trapped between the membrane and interior surface of the leather. The 171 patent sought to overcome this issue by “directly pressing” a semi-permeable membrane onto the leather via a dotted glue pattern. The Patent Board found that the claims would have been obvious over a combination of prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the Board’s construction of “directly pressing” and finding that a prior reference discloses “directly pressing” and “a process for waterproofing leather.” The Board’s fact finding regarding motivation to combine is supported by substantial evidence. View "Outdry Technologies Corp. v. Geox S.P.A." on Justia Law

by
When an artery is damaged or inflamed, the body releases the enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO). Prior art taught that MPO could be detected in an atherosclerotic plaque or lesion that required a surgically invasive method; could be indirectly detected in blood; or could be detected in blood with results that were not predictive of cardiovascular disease. Cleveland Clinic purportedly discovered how to “see” MPO in blood and correlate that to the risk of cardiovascular disease. True Health, a diagnostic laboratory, purchased the assets of Diagnostics, which had contracted with Cleveland Clinic to perform MPO testing. Rather than continue that relationship, True Health performed its own MPO testing. Cleveland Clinic sued, asserting infringement of the patents. The district court found all the claims patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101; dismissed the contributory and induced infringement claims of the 260 patent; denied leave to amend; and held that it was proper to consider section 101 at the motion to dismiss stage.. The court found that the claims were directed to a law of nature, with no saving inventive concept. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Cleveland Clinic provided no proposed construction of any terms or proposed expert testimony that would change the analysis. The claims, whether considered limitation-by-limitation or as a whole, do not sufficiently transform the natural existence of MPO in a bodily sample and its correlation to cardiovascular risk into a patentable invention. View "Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics. LLC" on Justia Law

by
EmeraChem’s 758 patent claims methods for regenerating a devitalized catalyst/absorber that has absorbed and oxidized nitrates and nitrites after exposure to pollutants in the combustion gases of engines by passing a regeneration gas over the catalyst without removing the catalyst. The application was filed in 1994; the patent issued in 1997, naming Guth and Campbell as co-inventors. The 758 patent incorporates Campbell 558 in its entirety. The application for Campbell 558 was filed months before the 758 application; the patent issued in 1995, disclosing a catalyst/absorber used to absorb and oxidize pollutants from exhaust gas but requiring removal of the catalyst/absorber. Campbell, Danziger, Guth, and Padron are its named co-inventors. Volkswagen sought inter partes review of the 758 patent, alleging anticipation of various claims and that various claims would have been obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103(a) over the combination of Campbell 558 and a prior reference. The Patent Board found that certain claims of the 758 patent would have been obvious over Campbell and another reference. The Federal Circuit affirmed as to several claims and vacated with respect to others. Campbell’s Declaration was insufficient to demonstrate that the cited portions of Campbell are not “by another.” The Board did not err in holding Campbell is section 102(e) prior art. The court remanded for clarification of whether the Board adopted a new rationale for unpatentability in its final written decision. View "EmeraChem Holdings, LLC v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc." on Justia Law

by
One-E-Way filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, alleging infringement of its patents, which disclose a wireless digital audio system designed to let people use wireless headphones privately, without interference, even when multiple people are using wireless headphones in the same space. The specification explains that previous wireless digital audio systems did not provide “private listening without interference where multiple users occupying the same space are operating wireless transmission devices.” The Commission found the claim term “virtually free from interference” indefinite and invalidated the asserted claims of One-E-Way’s patents. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the term “virtually free from interference,” as properly interpreted in light of the specification and prosecution history, would inform a person of ordinary skill in the art about the scope of the invention with reasonable certainty. View "One-E-Way, Inc. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

by
CAC’s patent includes both system and method claims directed to “provid[ing] financing for allowing a customer to purchase a product selected from an inventory of products maintained by a dealer.” In one embodiment, the products are vehicles for sale at a car dealership. The invention involves “maintaining a database of the dealer’s inventory,” gathering financing information from the customer, and “presenting a financing package to the dealer for each individual product in the dealer’s inventory.” Westlake petitioned for Covered Business Method (CBM) review, asserting that all claims were ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. 101. Three months after the Board instituted review of some claims, the Supreme Court vacated precedent on which the Board had relied. In view of the developments in section 101 jurisprudence, Westlake filed a second petition, challenging the remaining claims. In its decision to institute review, the Board rejected CAC’s argument that the existence of the first CBM proceeding estopped Westlake from challenging claims the remaining claims under 35 U.S.C. 325(e)(1). The Board’s determination was based on the fact that the first proceeding had not yet resulted in a final written decision. The Federal Circuit agreed that estoppel did not apply and that the challenged claims were unpatentable. View "Credit Acceptance Corp. v. Westlake Services" on Justia Law

by
In 1999, Lyons and Gillette discussed possibly forming a veterinary specialist organization (VSO) for treating athletic animals. For American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation, veterinarians must form an organizing committee and submit a letter of intent. Lyons, Gillette, and others formed a committee. By 2002, the committee began using the mark as the name of the intended VSO. Lyons participated in drafting the letter of intent, the accreditation petition, and bylaws and articles of incorporation. Lyons left the committee and sought registration of the mark for “veterinary education services namely conducting classes, seminars, clinical seminars, conferences, workshops and internships and externships in veterinary sports medicine and veterinary rehabilitation,” based on actual use, alleging first use in commerce in 1996. In 2006, the PTO registered the mark. In 2010, the VSO, “American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation” received provisional recognition; it petitioned to cancel Lyons’s registration on grounds of priority of use and likelihood of confusion, 15 U.S.C. 1052(d), misrepresentation of source, 15 U.S.C. 1064, and fraud. Meanwhile, the district court dismissed an infringement action by Lyons and ordered the PTO to reject Lyons’s application for Principal Register registration, but declined to cancel her Supplemental Register registration. The Board later concluded that Lyons was not the mark’s owner and that her underlying application was void. The Federal Circuit affirmed. In ownership disputes surrounding service marks as between a departing member and a remnant group, the factors are: the parties’ objective intentions or expectations; who the public associates with the mark; and to whom the public looks to stand behind the quality of goods or services offered under the mark. View "Lyons v. American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation" on Justia Law

by
The District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed, for lack of personal jurisdiction, New World’s declaratory judgment complaint against FGTL, a wholly owned subsidiary of the automaker Ford Motor Company. FGTL had previously filed an infringement suit against New World in the Eastern District of Michigan. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the declaratory judgment action. Both FGTL and the Ford Motor Company are incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Michigan. FGTL does no business in Texas and neither maintains an office nor has any employees in Texas. FGTL does not make or sell automobiles or automotive products; it owns, manages, and licenses intellectual property for Ford. FTGL’s pertinent contacts with Texas are limited to the cease and desist letters. While those letters may be sufficient to constitute minimum contacts with the forum, they are not sufficient to satisfy the fairness part of the test for specific personal jurisdiction. View "New World International, Inc. v. Ford Global Technologies, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Skky’s patent describes a method for delivering audio and/or visual files to a wireless device, stating that existing devices required music or video clips to be either factory-installed, or downloaded through a direct Internet interface. The patent allows users to “browse, download, and listen to or watch sound or image files without the need for hand wired plug-in devices or a computer connection to the Internet.” The patent states that “a software system may be integrated with the existing hardware chip of a conventional cellular phone without the need for additional hardware.” In other embodiments, a separate accessory unit attached to the wireless device provides this functionality. On inter partes review, the Patent Board concluded that challenged claims would have been obvious in view of publications entitled “MP3: The Definitive Guide” and “OFDM/FM Frame Synchronization for Mobile Radio Data Communication.” The Board determined that “wireless device means” was not a means-plus-function term. Even assuming that the term was in means-plus-function format, however, the Board rejected Skky’s argument that the term requires multiple processors, wherein one is a specialized processor. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the claim construction and the conclusion that the challenged claims are unpatentable as obvious. View "Skky, Inc. v. MindGeek, S.A.R.L." on Justia Law

by
In 2009, RNB and GAF entered into an agreement under which GAF would promote RNB’s “Roof N Box” product, a three-dimensional roofing model, to building construction contractors affiliated with GAF. The agreement required the parties to submit disputes “arising under” the agreement to arbitration. GAF terminated the agreement after about a year. In 2016, RNB, together with its founder and president, Evans, brought suit against GAF based on GAF’s activities in marketing its own product that competes with the Roof N Box. The complaint alleged design patent infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition. GAF moved to dismiss or stay the action pending arbitration. The district court denied that motion. The Federal Circuit affirmed, stating that GAF’s assertion that the arbitration provision covers the claims stated in the complaint is “wholly groundless.” The complaint challenges actions whose wrongfulness is independent of the 2009 agreement’s existence. View "Evans v. Building Materials Corp." on Justia Law