In 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2120 (2014), rejecting the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” standard for determining compliance with the definiteness requirement under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Criticizing that standard as leaving “courts and the patent bar at sea without a reliable compass,” the Supreme Court held that a patent is indefinite and invalid if the “patent’s claims, read in light of the specification and the prosecution history fail to inform with reasonable certainty those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention.” Nautilus, Inc., 134 S. Ct. at 2124, 2129-30. On November 20, 2017, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision on indefiniteness, adding to its growing jurisprudence applying the Supreme Court’s decision in Nautilus. Continue reading
A recent Federal Circuit decision may give further hope to some accused infringers still looking to transfer venue in the wake of the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision. On November 15, 2017, a Federal Circuit panel vacated the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ denial of Micron’s motion to dismiss or transfer and declared that TC Heartland was a change in the law. In re: Micron Tech., Inc., No. 2017-138 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 15, 2017) (precedential). Continue reading
In Sanofi v. Watson Laboratories et al., the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Delaware’s ruling that the defendants’ sale of their proposed generic drugs would induce infringement by physicians, as well as the district court’s rejection of the defendants’ obviousness arguments and finding of direct infringement by both defendants. Nos. 2016-2722, 2016-2726, slip op. at 3 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 9, 2017). The patents-in-suit related to a heart rhythm medication, sold as Multaq® by Sanofi. Id. at 2. Continue reading
The Federal Circuit issued another precedential decision adding to its line of cases delineating between patent-eligible and patent-ineligible improvements in computer-related technology. On November 1, 2017, the Federal Circuit issued a decision concluding that four patents related to a system for streaming audio/visual data over a communications system like the internet are directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
In Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Delaware’s ruling granting defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) based on patents being ineligible under § 101. Nos. 2016-2531, 2016-2532, slip op. at 7, 9 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 1, 2017). The patents-in-suit were entitled “Multicasting Method and Apparatus” and described a system to provide a way to transmit one packet of information to multiple recipients. Id. at 3. More specifically, “[t]he patents describe the invention as an improved scalable architecture for delivering real-time information.” Id. Continue reading
Under 35 U.S.C. § 103, patentability of an invention is not to be negated by the manner in which the invention was made. This provision, according to past Federal Circuit decisions, “was enacted to ensure that routine experimentation does not necessarily preclude patentability.” Honeywell Int’l Inc. v. Mexichem Amanco Holdings S.A. DE C.V., 865 F.3d 1348, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2017). Nevertheless, in certain cases, the Federal Circuit has considered routine experimentation or testing as a reason to invalidate a patent. On October 26, 2017, in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Hospira, Inc., the Federal Circuit did so again. Continue reading
The Federal Circuit has issued two additional precedential decisions to its line of cases delineating between patent-eligible and patent-ineligible improvements in computer-related technology. On October 16, 2017, the Federal Circuit issued a decision concluding that seven patents related to a system used to identify and track letters and packages are directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Similarly, on October 18, 2017, the Federal Circuit issued another decision finding four patents directed to mass transit fare payment technology unpatentable under section 101. Continue reading
On October 4, 2017, in Aqua Products, Inc. v. Matal, No. 2015-1177 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 4, 2017) (en banc), a divided en banc court for the Federal Circuit issued a significant ruling that has the potential to make it far easier, and more common, for patent owners to amend their claims during inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings. Specifically, the Federal Circuit held that the PTAB may not place on the patentee the burden of persuasion of proving patentability of amended claims submitted in an IPR, absent a USPTO rule directed to the issue. Continue reading