Federal Circuit Addresses Claim Construction, Invalidity, And Trade Dress Issues In Money-Clip Wallet Patent Case
On December 20, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued a precedential opinion affirming in part, reversing in part, and vacating and remanding in part, the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in a patent infringement and trade dress litigation between money-clip wallet competitors Mosaic Brands, Inc. (“Mosaic”) and Ridge Wallet LLC (“Ridge”). Mosaic Brands, Inc. v. Ridge Wallet LLC, Appeal No. 22-1001 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 20, 2022).
Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Decision Striking Expert Report And Granting Summary Judgment Of Non-Infringement
On November 30, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington striking portions of a plaintiff’s expert report and granting summary judgment of non-infringement to defendant. Treehouse Avatar LLC v. Valve Corp., No. 21-1171 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 30, 2022). The CAFC found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its decision to strike portions of the report, nor did it err in its finding that plaintiff failed to rebut defendant’s evidence of non-infringement.
Federal Circuit Holds Use Of A Restrictive Term In An Earlier Application Does Not Apply In A Later Patent That Purposely Deletes The Restriction
On November 1, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued an opinion reversing-in-part, vacating-in-part, and remanding a summary judgment decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo, finding asserted claims from a family of related patents indefinite and thus invalid. Finjan LLC, Inc. v. ESET, LLC, No. 2021-2093 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 1, 2022). The CAFC held, inter alia, that the district court’s construction of the term “Downloadable,” appearing in all asserted claims, was improperly restricted to the narrowest of competing definitions provided in the patent family.
Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB’s Finding Of Unpatentability Of Patent Relating To Ultrasonic Flow Meters And Housings, Involving Product-By-Process Claim Element
On August 12, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), which found unpatentable the challenged claims of a patent relating to housings for ultrasonic flow meters. Kamstrup A/S v. Axioma Metering UAB, __ F.4th __ (Fed. Cir. Aug. 12, 2022).
Federal Circuit Grants Attorneys’ Fees For Frivolous Appeal
On July 14, 2022, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) sanctioned plaintiff-appellant Pop Top Corp. for the filing of a frivolous appeal, granting defendant-appellee Rakuten Kobo Inc. $107,748 in attorney’s fees and doubled costs. Pop Top Corp. v. Rakuten Kobo Inc., No. 21-2174 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2022).
District Court Revisits Claim Construction On Motion For Summary Judgment Of Indefiniteness
On June 30, 2022, Judge Noreika of the Federal District Court for the District of Delaware denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment that certain asserted claims were indefinite and modified her construction of the term that formed the basis of defendants’ indefiniteness argument. Chemours Company FC, LLC v. Daikin Industries, Ltd., Case No. 17-1612, (D. Del. June 30, 2022).
Federal Circuit On Rehearing Vacates Prior Decision Holding That Patent Claim With Negative Limitation Did Not Lack Written Description
On June 21, 2022, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) granted a request for rehearing, vacated its prior decision, and reversed the district court’s decision that the patent claim was not invalid for inadequate written description. Novartis Pharmaceuticals v. Accord Healthcare Inc., No. 2021-1070 (Fed. Cir. June 21, 2022).
Federal Circuit Finds That Reliance On An Obvious Minor Clerical Error Is Not A Defense To Willful Infringement
On June 3, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed the correction of an obvious minor clerical error in the asserted claim language and a judgment of willfulness by the United States District Court for the Central District of California (“CDCA”). Pavo Sols. LLC v. Kingston Tech. Co., Inc., No. 2021-1834 (Fed. Cir. June 3, 2022). The CAFC found that the CDCA properly corrected an obvious minor clerical error in the asserted claims and held that defendant’s reliance on such error was not a defense to willful infringement.
Federal Circuit Cites Limits Of Extrinsic Evidence In Prosecution Disclaimer
On April 1, 2022, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a district court’s claim construction and corresponding summary judgement of non-infringement decisions. The lower court had improperly relied on extrinsic evidence to determine what had been disclaimed by the applicant during prosecution. Genuine Enabling Tech. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd., No. 2020-2167 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 1, 2022).
Federal Circuit Affirms Finding That Patent Challenger Failed To Show Claims Relating To Accessing Web Content Outside Of A Browser Unpatentable
On December 8, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”), finding that petitioner Lenovo Holding Company, Inc. (“Lenovo”) had failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the claims it challenged in an inter partes review (“IPR”) were unpatentable. Lenovo Holding Company, Inc. v. DoDots Licensing Solutions LLC, __ F.4th __ (Fed. Cir. Dec. 8, 2021).
District Of Delaware Determines “Translator Device” Limitations Are Subject To Means-Plus-Function Strictures And Invalidates Claims As Indefinite
On September 10, 2021, Judge Richard G. Andrews of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware issued a Memorandum Opinion on claim construction. Peloton Interactive, Inc. v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., No. 20-662-RGA, slip. op. (D. Del. Sept. 10, 2021). Judge Andrews held that certain claims of the asserted patent containing “translator device…” limitations were invalid as indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6 because they failed to disclose corresponding structure for the claimed function.
Federal Circuit Holds “User Identification Module” Is A Means-Plus-Function Term And Invalid As Indefinite For Failing To Disclose Corresponding Structure
On March 2, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an opinion reversing the district court’s conclusion that a claim was not invalid as indefinite. Rain Computing, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs., Am., Inc., __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Mar. 2, 2021). The CAFC held that the claim term, “user identification module,” was a means-plus-function limitation under 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6, and invalid as indefinite for failure to disclose corresponding structure (here, an algorithm).
Northern District Of Illinois Uses Collateral Estoppel To Find Patents Invalid Based On PTAB’s Unpatentability Rulings On Similar Patents
On October 8, 2020, Judge Andrea R. Wood of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied plaintiff Think Product, Inc.’s motion to reconsider a finding of patent invalidity. Think Products, Inc. v. Acco Brands Corp. and Acco Brands, USA LLC, No. 18-cv-07506 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 8, 2020). The Court had previously granted defendants Acco Brands Corporation’s and Acco Brands, USA LLC’s motion for summary judgment invalidating two patents based on collateral estoppel arising from rulings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) invalidating for obviousness two similar patents.
Federal Circuit Reverses District Court’s Claim Construction Due To Improper Reading Of Intrinsic Evidence
On August 27, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued an opinion reversing the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware dismissing plaintiff Baxalta Inc.’s (“Baxalta”) infringement suit against Genetech, Inc. (“Genentech”). Baxalta Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Aug. 27, 2020).
Federal Circuit Vacates And Remands District Court’s Decision For Failing To Construe Claims Before Ruling On Patent Eligibility
On August 16, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an opinion vacating and remanding the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s decision granting a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings. MyMail, Ltd. V. ooVoo, LLC, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2019). The CAFC held that the district court erred by declining to resolve a claim construction dispute prior to its ruling that the patents asserted by plaintiff MyMail are directed to unpatentable subject matter.
Federal Circuit Vacates And Remands PTAB’s Obviousness Finding Predicated On Incorrect Claim Construction
On August 12, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued an opinion vacating and remanding the obviousness finding of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). MTD Products Inc. v. Iancu, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Aug. 12, 2019). The CAFC ruled that the PTAB’s claim construction on which its obviousness finding was premised was incorrect because the construction conflated corresponding structure in the patent’s specification with a structural definition for the term, instead of construing the term as a means-plus-function term under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6.