Articles Posted in Patents

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Synvina’s 921 patent is directed to a method of oxidizing 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), or an HMF derivative, under specified reaction conditions to form 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). DuPont and Synvina are competitors in the production of FDCA for industrial use. Because FDCA can be produced from sugars using biological or chemical conversion, the U.S. Department of Energy has identified FDCA as a potential “building block[]” for “high-value bio-based chemicals or materials.” The oxidation of HMF and its derivatives to yield FDCA was known at the time of the claimed invention; the issue is whether the patent's claimed reaction conditions—the choice of temperature, pressure, catalyst, and solvent—would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill at the time of the invention. On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that DuPont failed to prove obviousness. Concluding that Dupont had standing because it operates a plant capable of infringing the patent and that the Board applied the wrong legal standard, the Federal Circuit reversed. Where there is a range disclosed in the prior art, and the claimed invention falls within that range, the burden of production falls upon the patentee to come forward with evidence of teaching away, unexpected results or criticality, or other pertinent objective indicia indicating that the overlapping range would not have been obvious in light of that prior art. View "E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Synvina C.V." on Justia Law

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ParkerVision’s 940 patent, titled “Method and System for Frequency Up-Conversion” relates to telecommunications devices, such as cellular phones, in which low-frequency electromagnetic signals are “up-converted” to higher-frequency signals by various means. “Baseband” signals— electromagnetic signals that encode the relevant information of sound waves—have low frequencies, and therefore low energy, making them difficult to transmit wirelessly through the air. Up-converting these frequencies to higher-frequency signals, such as radio frequency signals, allows the signal—and the information contained therein—to be more efficiently transmitted to a receiver. The specification explains that prior art transmitter systems used up-conversion components that are costly, in terms of power consumption and purchase price. The invention disclosed in the 940 patent purports to provide a more efficient means for producing a modulated carrier for transmission that uses less power and requires fewer components” by modulating the amplitude of the baseband signal with the help of an “oscillating signal.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (in related inter partes review proceedings) that certain claims of the 940 patent are unpatentable as obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103(a). The court upheld the Board’s construction of “plurality of harmonics.” View "ParkerVision, Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc." on Justia Law

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Nobel’s 977 patent, directed to dental implants, explains that a “feature of the invention” is that “the coronally tapered aspect [of the implant] is designed to allow elastic expansion of the bone while inserting the wider area of the coronally tapered aspect inside the bone and after insertion of the narrow area of the coronally tapered aspect the bone relapses to cover the coronally tapered aspect.” “In another preferred embodiment ... the coronally tapered region 85 is placed inside the bone so the bone can grow above this region. The tapered region 90 is below the bone level 91. The height of the coronally tapered region 85 is 0.5–4 mm. Preferably the height is 1–3 mm and for most cases 1.3–2.5 mm depending on the diameter of the implant.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, on inter partes review, that six claims were unpatentable based on anticipation. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that a catalog reference was a “printed publication” publicly accessible prior to the critical date. The Board correctly construed the language “having a frustoconical shape” as not serving as an adjective that modifies “coronal region.” View "Nobel Biocare Services AG v. Instradent USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Acorda’s patents claim the administration of a medication containing the active ingredient 4- aminopyridine (4-AP) to improve walking in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Acorda holds an FDA-approved New Drug Application and markets, under the name “Ampyra®,” 10 milligram 4-AP sustained-release tablets for twice-daily oral administration and holds an exclusive license to the earlier, broader “Elan patent,” which is listed in the FDA Orange Book for Ampyra with the Acorda patents, and claims methods of treating patients having certain conditions, including multiple sclerosis, by administering a drug containing a sustained-release formulation of any of certain agents, including 4-AP. Defendants sought FDA approval to market generic versions of Ampyra. In Acorda's infringement suit, the district court held that the asserted claims in the Acorda patents are invalid for obviousness but upheld the Elan patent and enjoined infringement of that patent until it expired in July 2018. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the asserted Acorda patent claims are invalid, discounting the weight of Acorda’s evidence of commercial success, failure of others, and long-felt but unmet need. The court noted the Elan patent issued in 1996 and was licensed exclusively to Acorda in 1997 for spinal cord injury and in 1998 for multiple sclerosis treatment, which blocked others from domestic marketing without risk of infringement and deterred other entities from investing in research whose reward depended on marketing a drug like Ampyra. View "Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Roxane Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board determined there was no interference-in-fact between UC’s Application No. 13/842,859, and the claims of 12 patents and one application owned by Broad. The involved claims relate to the use of a CRISPR-Cas91 system for the targeted cutting of DNA molecules. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Under the relevant test (35 U.S.C. 102(g)) a patent may only be awarded to the first inventor. Whether an interference occurs is determined by comparing the involved claims. The question is whether “the subject matter of a claim of one party would, if prior art, have anticipated or rendered obvious the subject matter of a claim of the opposing party and vice versa.” The Board performed a thorough analysis of the factual evidence and considered a variety of statements by experts for both parties and the inventors, past failures and successes in the field, evidence of simultaneous invention, and the extent to which the art provided instructions for applying the CRISPRCas9 technology in a new environment. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that there was not a reasonable expectation of success, and the Board did not err in its determination that there is no interference-in-fact. View "University of California v. Broad Institute, Inc." on Justia Law

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Orexo’s 330 Patent, entitled “Abuse-Resistant Pharmaceutical Composition for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence,” claims a product having the brand name Zubsolv®, approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid dependence. Actavis filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application for a generic counterpart of Zubsolv, accompanied by a Paragraph IV certification, leading to Hatch-Waxman litigation under 21 U.S.C. 355(j) and 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2)(A). The Federal Circuit reversed a finding of obviousness. The question is not whether the references separately taught components of the 330 Patent formulation, but whether the prior art suggested the selection and combination achieved by the 330 inventors. The district court erred in discounting the enhanced bioavailability in the 330 patent’s formulation as “a ‘difference in degree,’ not a difference in ‘kind.’” The clinical studies reported in the 330 Patent show 66% improved bioavailability. In the context of this invention, this is more than a trivial “degree.” View "Orexo AB v. Actavis Elizabeth, LLC" on Justia Law

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Samsung filed a petition to institute an inter partes review of certain claims of IXI’s 033 patent, titled “System, Device And Computer Readable Medium For Providing A Managed Wireless Network Using Short-Range Radio Signals.” The patent is directed to “a system that accesses information from a wide area network (WAN), such as the Internet, and local wireless devices in response to short-range radio signals.” The system includes a wireless gateway device (i.e., a cell phone), which is coupled to a cellular network, which in turn connects to the Internet through a carrier backbone. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted the review and determined that the reviewed claims are invalid. The Federal Circuit affirmed, as supported by substantial evidence, the finding that a person of ordinary skill in the art would read prior art as implicitly describing an implementation in which the JINI (a specific architecture designed for deploying and using services in a network) lookup service, which identifies services provided on the network, is located on the gateway device, i.e., the cell phone. View "IXI IP, LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

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Worlds’s patents relate to the computer-generated display of avatars in a virtual world, including methods to determine which avatars are displayed in a given situation. In 2012, Worlds asserted infringement against Activision, which develops, publishes, licenses, and distributes video games. Bungie developed the Destiny products, which are distributed by Activision. In 2014, Worlds notified Activision that it intended to add Destiny as an additional accused product. Six months later, more than a year after Activision was served with the infringement complaint, Bungie filed inter partes reviews petitions, challenging Worlds’s patents. Worlds sought discovery regarding whether Activision should have been named as a real party in interest, making the petitions time-barred under 35 U.S.C. 315(b). Worlds submitted evidence of an agreement between Bungie and Activision: Destiny would be developed by Bungie and published by Activision; Bungie is responsible for “legal reviews,” “subject to prior review and approval of Activision.” The Agreement contemplates financial support from Activision to Bungie for development of Destiny. The Patent Board denied the motion and invalidated the patents. The Federal Circuit vacated. A mere assertion that a third party is an unnamed real party in interest, without any support, is insufficient to put the issue into dispute, but Worlds presented evidence sufficient so the Board was required to make factual determinations necessary to evaluate whether Bungie had established that its petition was not time-barred based on the complaints served upon Activision. View "Worlds, Inc. v. Bungie, Inc." on Justia Law

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IV’s 248 patent describes “an application-aware resource allocator” that allocates bandwidth resources to transmit information from software applications over a packet-switched network. The patent explains that quality of service (QoS) requirements may vary among applications, with some types of applications demanding, for instance, error minimization, and others prioritizing speed. To meet these varying requirements, the application-aware resource allocator “allocates bandwidth resource to an application based on an application type.” The district court rejected an infringement suit on summary judgment. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The plain meanings of “application-aware resource allocator” in claim 1 and “application-aware media access control (MAC) layer” in claim 20 permits the resource allocator to allocate resources based on application type, which can be discerned using information from any of network layer 3, transport layer 4, and application layer 7. The district court’s grant of summary judgment of non-infringement resulted from a contrary construction. The court affirmed a determination that the “allocating means” in claim 20 are indefinite. The patent described QoS as “subjective” and varying based on individual preferences; the patent does not “provide adequate guidance.” View "Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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The patent, which expired in 2015, is entitled “Optimizing packet size to eliminate effects of reception nulls,” and is directed to increasing the reliability of a wireless communications system when a wireless receiver is moving by minimizing the effects of burst errors (nulls) that occur at the receiver. Although nulls occur randomly, they can be predicted based on signal drop characteristics, such as the speed the receiver is moving. In describing prior art, the patent notes another technique for reducing the effects of burst errors "involves interleaving multiple message packets together.” On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found various claims not unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding that the Board improperly failed to consider a portion of the petitioner’s (Ericsson) reply brief, having characterized that portion of the reply as raising a new theory of obviousness, not addressed in the Petition or responding to arguments raised in the Patent Owner Response. “The Board’s error was parsing Ericsson’s arguments on reply with too fine of a filter.” Given the acknowledgment in the patent that interleaving was known in the art, Ericsson was entitled to argue on reply that the distinction in the specific type of interleaving between prior art and the patent would have been insubstantial to a person of skill in the art. The error was exacerbated by the fact that the significance of interleaving arose after the Petition was filed. View "Ericsson Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures I LLC" on Justia Law