Articles Posted in Intellectual Property

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While the interconnectivity of computer networks facilitates access for authorized users, it also increases a network’s susceptibility to attacks from hackers, malware, and other security threats. Some of these security threats can only be detected with information from multiple sources. SRI developed the inventions claimed in patents titled “Network Surveillance” and “Hierarchical Event Monitoring and Analysis.” SRI had performed considerable research and development on network intrusion detection before filing the patents-in-suit. In an infringement suit, the district court denied Cisco’s motion for summary judgment of patent ineligibility, construed the claim term “network traffic data,” granted summary judgment of no anticipation, and denied judgment as a matter of law of no willful infringement. The court awarded enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees, and ongoing royalties. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment of ineligibility, adopted the claim construction, and affirmed summary judgment of no anticipation but vacated and remanded the denial of judgment as a matter of law of no willful infringement, and therefore vacated the enhancement of damages. The court also vacated the award of attorneys’ fees and remanded for recalculation and affirmed the award of ongoing royalties on post-verdict sales of products that were actually found to infringe or are not colorably different. View "SRI International, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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Natural owns patents relating to dietary supplements containing beta-alanine (an amino acid). Together with histidine, another amino acid, beta-alanine can form dipeptides that are involved in the regulation of intracellular pH during muscle contraction and development of fatigue. Variations in dipeptide concentrations affect the anaerobic work capacity of athletes. One dipeptide, carnosine, contributes to hydronium ion buffering. During certain sustained exercise, hydronium ions and lactate can accumulate and severely reduce intracellular pH; reduced pH interferes with the creatine-phosphorylcreatine system, part of the process by which energy is generated in muscle cells. Natural's patents generally relate to the use of beta-alanine in a dietary supplement to “increas[e] the anaerobic working capacity of muscle and other tissue.” The district court applied the Supreme Court’s 2015 two-part “Alice” test and held all of the asserted claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter (35 U.S.C. 101_ and lacked an inventive concept. The Federal Circuit reversed. Under Natural’s proposed claim constructions, the Method Claims are not directed to an exception to section 101 under the first step of the Alice test, so judgment on the pleadings was inappropriate. The Product Claims contain a dietary supplement limitation, with the same proposed construction, which does not support the idea that this limitation was well-understood, routine, and conventional. The Manufacturing Claims are not directed to the natural law or product of nature, but are an application of the law and new use of that product. View "Natural Alternatives International, Inc.. v. Creative Compunds, LLC" on Justia Law

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Drug manufacturers filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications with the Food and Drug Administration seeking to market generic versions of Saphris, a drug product sold by Forest Laboratories. Saphris is a sublingually administered, atypical antipsychotic containing asenapine maleate. Forest sued for patent infringement, asserting that the proposed generic products would infringe claims of its patents. The district court held the generic manufacturers had not established certain claims to be invalid and held Forest had not established infringement of certain claims as to two manufacturers. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the validity determination, and for reconsideration infringement under a corrected claim construction. The district court erred in treating “excitation” as being limited to “excitation disorders.” The court rejected claims concerning sufficient written description, obviousness, and the construction of other claims. View "Forest Laboratories, LLC v. Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC" on Justia Law

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PersonalWeb’s patent explains that in conventional data processing systems, data items such as files are typically identified by their user-created alphanumeric name and/or pathname or location. Problems arise with traditional naming conventions if, for example, one device transfers a data item to a second device where the data item already exists so that a duplicate is created. The patent addresses that concern and others by creating a substantially unique identifier for each data item in the data processing system, independent of the data item’s user-defined name, location, etc., and dependent on only the content of the data item itself. The identifier for a particular data item is created by applying a cryptographic hash function to the data item. The output of the hash function is the content-based identifier or “True Name,” which is “virtually guaranteed” to be unique to the data item. In inter partes review, the Patent Board found that several claims were unpatentable as obvious in light of two prior art references. The Federal Circuit reversed. The Board relied on a “proposed, theoretical Binary Object Identifier look-up table” that does not necessarily exist in one of the references, so the Board’s reliance on inherency for that element in its obviousness analysis was improper. View "Personal Web Technologies, LLC v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law

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The University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) patent is titled “Managing Critical Care Physiologic Data Using Data Synthesis Technology.” In 2017, UFRF sued GE, alleging infringement. GE argued that the claims of the patent were directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The district court dismissed, applying the two-step framework described by the Supreme Court in its 2014 “Alice” decision to conclude that the claims are directed to an abstract idea and do not recite an inventive concept. The Federal Circuit affirmed, first rejecting UFRF’s argument that, as an arm of the State of Florida, it enjoyed sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. By bringing its claim of infringement, UFRF waived its sovereign immunity as to any relevant defenses. The patent seeks to automate “pen and paper methodologies” to conserve human resources and minimize errors, a quintessential “do it on a computer” patent. Such claims are directed to abstract ideas. The claimed “programmatic action involving said machine-independent data” can be performed using “[a]ny kind of computer system or other apparatus,” including a “general-purpose computer system.” The claims do no “more than simply instruct the practitioner to implement the abstract idea . . . on a generic computer.” View "University of Florida Research Foundation, Inc. v. General Electric Co." on Justia Law

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CODA’s CEO, Hrabal, invented self-inflating tire (SIT) technology. In 2008, GM representatives approached CODA, wanting to involve Goodyear in commercializing the technology. The parties executed a nondisclosure agreement, then met in 2009. Goodyear’s representatives included Benedict. At Goodyear’s request, CODA shared confidential information concerning the SIT. Goodyear representatives expressed skepticism about its viability. The parties agreed to continue discussions. Benedict requested to review an updated technical presentation, the latest testing methods, and performance results. At a second meeting, CODA allowed Goodyear to examine a functional prototype of the technology. Benedict requested that his team have time alone with the prototype, during which he photographed it without permission. Months then passed without any communication. In December 2009, a Goodyear employee on Benedict’s team independently inquired about the status of CODA’s SIT in preparation for an internal Goodyear meeting. Unbeknownst to CODA, Goodyear applied for a patent entitled “Self-Inflating Tire Assembly.” The 586 patent issued in 2011, naming Benedict and Losey as the inventors. CODA later received an unsolicited email from the ex-Goodyear employee with whom it corresponded in December 2009, stating, “I am retired now .. and see ... that they have copied your SIT.” The Federal Circuit vacated the dismissal of CODA’s complaint, seeking correction of inventorship, 35 U.S.C. 256. The district court erred in considering outside evidence about an article, by Hrabal, concerning the technology and in concluding that the complaint was time-barred.CODA’s claims allow the reasonable inference that Hrabal conceived the invention and that Benedict and Losey did not. View "CODA Development SRO v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co." on Justia Law

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CenTrak’s 909 patent, entitled “Methods and Systems for Synchronized Ultrasonic Real Time Location,” relates to systems for real-time location (RTL), which allow users to locate and identify portable devices in a facility. Hospitals, for example, might use RTL systems to track equipment and patients. The asserted claims generally recite five components: ultrasonic (US) base stations; portable devices (i.e., tags); a server; radio frequency (RF) base stations; and a backbone network that connects the server with the RF base stations. In an infringement suit, the district court entered summary judgment several claims invalid for lack of written description and that other claims were not infringed. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether disclosure of the implementation details that the district court identified is necessary to satisfy the written description requirement; there is a material dispute of fact as to whether the named inventors actually possessed an ultrasonic RTL system at the time they filed their patent application or whether they were “leaving it to the industry to complete an unfinished invention.” CenTrak’s evidence raised a triable issue of fact regarding infringement. View "CenTrak, Inc. v. Sonitor Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law

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Continental’s 582, 560, 105, and 912 patents are directed to a “multilayer electrical device . . . having a tooth structure” and methods for making the same. The patents, which have since expired, are continuations of one another and thus share substantially the same specification. According to the patents, multilayer electric devices “suffer from delamination, blistering, and other reliability problems,” especially when “subjected to thermal stress.” The inventions of the patents purport to solve this problem by “forming a unique surface structure . . . comprised of teeth that are preferably angled or hooked like fangs or canine teeth to enable one layer to mechanically grip a second layer.” Continental sued. The parties stipulated to a judgment of noninfringement, based on the district court’s claim construction. The Federal Circuit vacated. The district court erred in reading a “repeated desmear process” limitation into the Category 1 Terms. View "Continental Circuits LLC v. Intel Corp." on Justia Law

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The Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) patent, entitled “Stable Protein Formulations,” describes and claims specific fluid formulations an immunosuppressive agent used in the treatment of immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The product has the common name “abatacept” and the brand name Orencia®. Momenta sought Inter Partes Review of the Patent under the America Invents Act, 35 U.S.C. 311. Momenta was attempting to develop a biosimilar counterpart of Orencia®. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board sustained patentability of the patent claims. Momenta filed an appeal under 35 U.S.C. 319. BMS moved to dismiss for lack of standing because Momenta’s proposed product had failed its Phase 1 clinical trials and had been withdrawn. Momenta responded that it had not abandoned its intent to produce a counterpart of the Orencia® product and filed various exhibits concerning its intentions, ultimately submitting a form that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December 2018, indicating termination of Momenta’s collaboration agreement with respect to the development of a proposed biosimilar to ORENCIA®. Momenta did not withdraw its appeal. The Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of standing as moot. The cessation of potential infringement means that Momenta no longer has the potential for injury, thereby mooting the inquiry. View "Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co." on Justia Law

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Athena Diagnostics is the exclusive licensee of the 820 patent, covering methods for diagnosing neurological disorders by detecting antibodies to a protein called muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK), which is associated with Myasthenia gravis (MG), a neurological disorder where patients experience muscle weakness and symptoms including drooping eyelids, double vision, and slurred speech. Athena markets a test (FMUSK) that functions by evaluating those antibodies. After Mayo developed two competing tests, Athena accused Mayo of infringing its patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the asserted claims of the 820 patent are invalid under 35 U.S.C. 101, for claiming ineligible subject matter. The claims at issue are directed to a natural law and lack an inventive concept. View "Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC" on Justia Law