The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied a petition for panel rehearing regarding the constitutionality of decisions issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), holding that its decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. (IP Update, Vol. 22, No. 11) also applies to final decisions issued by administrative patent judges (APJs) in inter partes re-examinations. Virnetx v. Cisco Systems, Inc., Case No. 19-1671 (Fed. Cir. May 13, 2020) (O’Malley, J.). The Court also denied (per curiam) a concurrently filed petition for rehearing en banc.

Continue Reading Arthrex Extended to Inter Partes Re-examination

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit applied KSR and its obviousness progeny, finding that patent claims directed to location plotting were obvious under 35 USC § 103. Uber Techs., Inc. v. X One, Inc., Case No. 19-1164 (Fed. Cir. May 5, 2020) (Prost, CJ).

X One sued Uber Technologies asserting a patent directed to exchanging location information between mobile devices, such that a user could add other mobile device users to a “Buddy List,” share her location with listed buddies or temporary “instant buddies,” and see the locations of her buddies on a map. The patent’s purported novelty lay in “two way position information sharing,” creation of location sharing “groups,” and “temporary location sharing” that “automatically expires.”


Continue Reading The “Plotting” Thickens: Claims that Solve Known Problem with Known Methods Are Obvious

Addressing whether a party can waive a challenge to the constitutionality of Administrative Patent Judges’ (APJs’) appointment, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the issue is non-jurisdictional and therefore waivable. Ciena Corp. v. Oyster Optics, LLC, Case No. 19-2117 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 28, 2020) (O’Malley, J.) (reissued as precedential May 5, 2020).

Continue Reading “Waive” Goodbye to Belated Argument that Administrative Patent Judges’ Appointment is Unconstitutional

Addressing the scope of review of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) application of the one-year time bar of 35 USC § 315(b) in deciding whether to institute an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, the Supreme Court of the United States held that application of the time bar by the PTAB is nonappealable. Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Techs., LP, Case No. 18-916 (Supr. Ct. Apr. 20, 2019) (Ginsburg, Justice) (Gorsuch, Justice, joined in part by Sotomayor, Justice, dissenting). The Court explained that an appeal based on the PTAB’s application of the time bar for filing an IPR petition is prohibited under 35 USC § 314(d), which states that the PTAB’s decision on institution “shall be final and nonappealable.”

Continue Reading PTAB Time Bar Application in Instituting IPR Proceedings Nonappealable

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reiterated that while assignor estoppel prevents a party that assigned a patent to another party from later challenging the validity of the assigned patent in district court, it does not preclude the party from challenging the validity of the assigned patent in an America Invents Act inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. Hologic, Inc. v. Minerva Surgical, Inc., Case Nos. 19-2054; -2081 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 22, 2020) (Stoll, J.) (Stoll, J., additional views).

Continue Reading Assignor Estoppel Does Not Apply to AIA Challenges

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a US Court of Federal Claims dismissal, rejecting arguments that patent infringement is a taking under the Fifth Amendment. Golden v. United States, Case No. 19-2134 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 10, 2020) (O’Malley, J.).

Continue Reading Neither AIA Proceeding nor Government Infringement Constitute Fifth Amendment Taking

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board), in a decision designated as precedential, found that a Patent Owner’s substitute claims were patentable in view of evidence of secondary considerations even though the prior art weighed in favor of obviousness. Lectronics, Inc. v. Zaxcom, Inc., Case No. IPR2018-01129 (PTAB Jan. 24, 2020) (Deshpande, APJ.) (designated precedential on Apr. 14, 2020).

Continue Reading Emmy Award to the Rescue – Secondary Considerations Overcome Prior Art

In an opinion concerning the notice provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) may identify a new patentability issue regarding proposed substitute claims based on prior art of record—but must first notify the parties and provide an opportunity to respond. Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG, Case No. 20-1262 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 9, 2020) (Stoll, J.).

The decision is part of a long-running battle between Nike and Adidas that began in 2012, when Adidas filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) of a patent owned by Nike. Nike subsequently filed a motion to cancel the existing claims and substitute new claims. Particularly relevant is a new claim that recites a knit textile upper element of a shoe containing “apertures” that can be used to receive laces and that are “formed by omitting stitches” in the knit textile.


Continue Reading With Notice and Opportunity to Respond, PTAB May Raise New Patentability Issues Based on Art of Record

Addressing the scope of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) to deny institution, the Board designated three opinions as precedential or informative.

Continue Reading PTAB Designates Two Opinions Precedential and One Opinion Informative, Further Clarifying the Scope of the Board’s Discretion under § 325(d) to Decline Institution

In an appeal from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found claim construction error and reversed the PTAB’s finding that all instituted claims were unpatentable. Personalized Media Commc’ns, LLC v. Apple Inc., Case No. 18-1936 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 13, 2020) (Stoll, J.).

Continue Reading No Disclaimer, No Problem – Terms Limited by Consistent Statements