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The Inholders own patented mining and homestead claims within the Santa Fe National Forest. The 2011 Las Conchas Fire caused widespread destruction of vegetation within the forest. Forest Roads 89 and 268, which the Inholders had used to access their properties, were severely damaged by subsequent flooding. The Forest Service notified them that the roads were “impassible” and that it would provide them with limited access: “a combination of driving and hiking over specific routes and under specific weather conditions.” Later, the Service sent a letter stating that “public safety would be highly threatened by use of” the roads; that it would close the roads to public access for the foreseeable future; that because of continuing terrain instability, any reconstruction would likely be destroyed by future flooding; and, even if reconstruction were possible, the Service could not justify expending public funds when there is no general public need. The Service suggested that the Inholders work “collectively” to reconstruct the roads. The Inholders claimed that they held statutorily-granted easements. The USDA disagreed, citing 90 Stat. 2743, but acknowledged that the Inholders had a right to access their properties, “subject to reasonable regulations.” The Inholders claimed a compensable taking. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Claims Court’s dismissal, finding that the Inholders had not adequately pled a physical taking and that any regulatory taking claim was not ripe because the Inholders had not applied for a permit to reconstruct the roads. View "Martin v. United States" on Justia Law

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Polara entered the accessible pedestrian signal systems (APS market) with an eight-wire system, the Navigator. Because many intersections only have two wires, installation of eight-wire systems could be difficult and labor-intensive. In 2000-2001, Polara engineers began designing a two-wire version of the Navigator, which led to the 476 patent, relating to a two-wire control system for push-button crosswalk stations for a traffic-light-controlled intersection with visual, audible, and tactile accessible signals. The patent discloses using “existing underground wire pairs to transmit power and data signals in order to generate the accessible signal functions for both sighted and visually impaired pedestrians.” Polara filed the application in August 2004. In September 2003, Polara began selling the Navigator-2, a two-wire APS system. In Polara’s infringement suit, the Federal Circuit rejected claims of invalidity and no willful infringement, based on prior public use and prior art, 35 U.S.C. 282. The court vacated an enhanced damages award and remanded for a more complete explanation, including a discussion of the public use defense, for the court’s exercise of its discretion, 35 U.S.C. 284. View "Polara Engineering Inc. v. Campbell Co." on Justia Law

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The parties manufacture power supply controller chips--integrated circuits used in power supplies, such as chargers that transform AC electricity from an outlet into DC electricity, to power electronic devices. A switching regulator directs the transistor in the circuit when to turn on and off, to provide the desired amount of power. Power’s patents cover switching regulators. Prior-art regulators were inefficient during low power periods, creating loud noise and delivering power in an intermittent fashion. Power’s 079 patent addressed this problem by reducing the frequency of on/off cycles rather than by skipping cycles altogether, using feedback signals. Power’s 908 patent covers a power supply controller--an integrated circuit that can perform a variety of power-regulation functions. A jury found Fairchild literally infringed claims of the 079 patent and infringed two claims of the 908 patent under the doctrine of equivalents. Another jury awarded damages of roughly $140 million, finding that the entire market value rule applied in calculating damages for infringement of the 079 patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed judgments of infringement but vacated the award, concluding that the entire market value rule cannot be used to calculate damages. Power did not show that the patented feature was the sole driver of consumer demand, i.e., that it alone motivated consumers to buy the accused products. View "Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc." on Justia Law

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Adidas sought inter partes review of Nike's 598 and 749 patents, arguing (ground 1) that each challenged claim would have been obvious based on the Reed and Nishida references and (ground 2) that each claim would have been obvious based on the Castello, Fujiwara, and Nishida references. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review and held that Adidas had not met its burden of demonstrating any of the claims would have been obvious based on ground 1 without addressing the merits of ground 2 or suggesting that its conclusions as to ground 1 would be dispositive as to ground 2. After the Supreme Court issued its 2018 "SAS" decision, Adidas sought remand, arguing that SAS requires that the Board institute on all grounds raised in the Petition. The Patent Office recently issued public guidance indicating that, in light of SAS, if a trial is instituted, the Board will institute review on all challenges raised in the petitions. The Federal Circuit ordered a remand, quoting the Court: “the petitioner’s contentions, not the Director’s discretion, define the scope of the litigation all the way from institution through to conclusion.” View "Adidas AG v. Nike, Inc." on Justia Law

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Triptans are selective serotonin receptor agonists, developed in the 1980s. When Zolmitriptan became available in the U.S. in oral tablet form in 1999 under the name Zomig® it was among several triptans on the market or under development. AstraZeneca owns the 237 and 767 patents, which relate to formulations of zolmitriptan for intranasal administration, and the New Drug Application for Zomig® (zolmitriptan) Nasal Spray, approved by the FDA for treatment of migraines. The patents are listed in connection with Zomig® Nasal Spray in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Orange Book). In 2012, AstraZeneca and Impax entered into an agreement, granting Impax an exclusive license to AstraZeneca’s patents covering the Zomig® products, for the payment of $130 million and additional payments at varying royalty rates. In 2014, Lannett notified AstraZeneca that it had filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application, seeking approval for a generic version of Zomig® Nasal Spray, with a Paragraph IV certification (21 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV)), alleging noninfringement or invalidity of the 237 and 767 patents. In the subsequent infringement suit, 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2)(A), the district court issued its claim construction opinion, the parties stipulated to infringement, and the court held that Lannett failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims were invalid or would have been obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the entry of an injunction. View "Impax Laboratories Inc. v. Lannett Holdings Inc." on Justia Law

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The Claims Court entered judgment in favor of Starry on its bid protest claim, concluding that the Department of Health and Human Services acted arbitrarily and capriciously in canceling its solicitation seeking to procure certain business operations services. The Claims Court thereafter awarded Starry attorney fees at the rates actually billed to Starry by its counsel, finding that the “extreme measures that [Starry] was forced to pursue to vindicate its right to a rational and lawful federal procurement process, combined with the shocking disregard of the truth by” HHS, constituted a “special factor” justifying an award of fees above the EAJA’s “default rate” of $125 per hour. EAJA, the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412(d)(2)(A), provides that when a trial court finds that a “special factor” exists, it is authorized to increase the statutory attorney fee rate in certain cases brought by or against the government. The Federal Circuit vacated the award, holding that the Claims Court erred as a matter of law in holding that an agency’s improper or dilatory conduct during the administrative process that gave rise to the litigation between the parties can constitute a “special factor.” EAJA does not contain any reference to prelitigation activities. View "Starry Associates, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Royal Crown (RC) and The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) compete in the beverage market. Both companies and others distribute beverages that use ZERO as an element of their marks. When RC sought trademark protection for DIET RITE PURE ZERO and PURE ZERO, it disclaimed the term ZERO apart from the marks as a whole. TCCC has used ZERO as an element in its marks for at least 12 different beverage products sold in the U.S. The Patent and Trademark Office requested that TCCC disclaim the term “zero” because the term merely “describes a feature of the applicant’s goods, namely, calorie or carbohydrate content of the goods.” TCCC responded that the term had acquired distinctiveness under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(f). The PTO accepted TCCC’s Section 2(f) submissions and approved the marks for publication without requiring disclaimers. The Board concluded that RC failed to demonstrate that ZERO is generic for the genus of goods identified in TCC's applications; that survey evidence indicated that TCCC’s ZERO marks had acquired distinctiveness; and that TCCC’s use of ZERO in connection with soft drinks was substantially exclusive, given the “magnitude of TCCC’s use.” The Board dismissed RC’s oppositions. The Federal Circuit vacated. The Board erred in its legal framing of the question of the claimed genericness of TCCC’s marks, and failed to determine whether, if not generic, the marks were at least highly descriptive. View "Royal Crown Co., Inc.. v. The Coca-Cola Co." on Justia Law

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Sirona’s 006 patent “relates to a method for producing a drill assistance device,” a drill template, “to precisely place a pilot hole for a tooth implant, wherein the pilot hole for the tooth implant is aligned relative to the teeth that still remain in the jaw.” The specification discloses taking X-ray images of the jaw and taking a three-dimensional optical image of the visible surfaces of the jaw and teeth. These images are compiled into “measured data records” and correlated. From this correlation, the position for the implant is determined and a drill template is prepared. On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found claims 1–8 of unpatentable as obvious, 35 U.S.C. 103, over the combination of a German Patent (Bannuscher) and a U.S. Patent (Truppe), and denied Sirona’s contingent motion to amend the claims. The Board found patentable claims 9–10. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. Substantial evidence supports that claims 1–8 would have been obvious over the combination of Bannuscher and Truppe; the Board’s unpatentability determination did not deviate from the grounds alleged in the petition. Petitioners failed to demonstrate claims 9–10 were unpatentable. The court vacated the denial of the contingent motion to amend and remanded. View "Sirona Dental Systems GMBH v. Institut Straumann AG" on Justia Law

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FastShip’s patents, entitled “Monohull Fast Sealift or Semi-Planing Monohull Ship,” relate to a “fast ship whose hull design in combination with a waterjet propulsion system permits, for ships of about 25,000 to 30,000 tons displacement with a cargo carrying capacity of 5,000 tons, transoceanic transit speeds of up to 40 to 50 knots in high or adverse sea states.” FastShip sued the government, alleging patent infringement under 28 U.S.C. 1498. FastShip alleged that the Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships, LCS-1 and LCS-3, infringed various claims. Following the Court of Federal Claims’ opinion construing various terms, the government successfully moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that the LCS3 was not “manufactured” by or for the government within the meaning of section 1498 before the patents expired. The court held that LCS-1 infringed the claims and awarded FastShip $6,449,585.82 in damages plus interest. The Federal Circuit affirmed, modifying the damages award. The court interpreted “manufactured” in section 1498 in accordance with its plain meaning, such that a product is “manufactured” when it is made to include each limitation of the thing invented and is therefore suitable for use; although other portions of LCS-3 had been completed, the “waterjet” and “hull” limitations had not been completed before the patent’s expiration. View "FastShip, LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

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If the International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that an article is being imported into the U.S. in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury or the threat thereof, to the competitive domestic industry, the President “shall take all appropriate and feasible action ... which the President determines will facilitate efforts by the domestic industry to make a positive adjustment to import competition and provide greater economic and social benefits than costs, 19 U.S.C. 2251(a). A U.S. manufacturer requested that the President protect U.S. solar manufacturers against foreign imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. The ITC made an affirmative serious injury determination; the Commissioners were divided with respect to relief. The ITC reported on imports from Canada under the NAFTA Implementation Act, finding that Canada contributed roughly 2% of the relevant imports during the applicable period. Imports from Canada declined in 2015-2016. ITC found that Canadian imports did not “contribute importantly” to the serious injury. In 2018, the President announced a four-year safeguard, including a 30- percent tariff on solar products, whether assembled as cells or modules; finding that imports from Canada accounted for a substantial share and contributed importantly to the serious injury or threat, he did not exempt Canadian imports. Canadian manufacturers and a U.S. importer filed suit. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction, holding that the President’s actions here were lawful, so there was no probability of success on the merits as required for a preliminary injunction. View "Silfab Solar, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law