Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries

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In 2008, Fairchild charged Power Integrations with infringement of patents, including the 972 patent. The jury rejected an argument that the 972 patent claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. 103 in view of prior art and found that the claims had been infringed. The Federal Circuit upheld the obviousness determination but reversed as to infringement, and remanded for proceedings unrelated to the 972 patent claims. In 2012, Power Integrations requested inter partes reexamination of the 972 patent. The examiner rejected all of the claims in the reexamination, including claims raised in the litigation, under section 103(a). The Federal Circuit remanded to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board with instructions to vacate portions of its final decision in the inter partes reexamination. Under 35 U.S.C. 317(b), no inter partes reexamination proceeding can be “maintained” on “issues” that a party “raised or could have raised” in a civil action arising under 28 U.S.C. 1338 once “a final decision has been entered” in the civil action that “the party has not sustained its burden of proving the invalidity” of the patent claim. There is a final judgment against Power Integrations, holding that it failed to prove four claims were obvious. View "Fairchild (Taiwan) Corp. v. Power Integrations, Inc." on Justia Law

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Covertech manufactures and sells reflective insulation under its rFOIL brand—its U.S. trademark, registered since 2001. The umbrella rFOIL brand includes ULTRA. In 1998, TVM, a distributor, and Covertech entered into a verbal agreement, designating TVM as the exclusive U.S. marketer and distributor of Covertech’s rFOIL products. In 2007, Covertech terminated the agreement. TVM was consistently late with payment; Covertech discovered TVM had been purchasing comparable products from Reflectix, and passing off some of them as Covertech’s. The parties entered a new agreement, under which Covertech manufactured products for TVM to sell under the TVM brand name; Covertech also continued to sell TVM rFOIL products for resale using Covertech’s product names. TVM violated its agreement to refrain from buying competitors’ products. After Covertech learned of TVM’s illicit purchases, the parties terminated their relationship. Covertech began to sell its products directly in the U.S. Covertech unsuccessfully tried to persuade TVM to stop using rFOIL brand names. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office registered the ULTRA mark in 2010. In 2011, TVM registered ULTRA as its U.S. trademark. Covertech filed an adverse petition with the PTO and filed suit. The district court granted Covertech judgment and awarded damages, 15 U.S.C. 1117(a), (c), applying the “first use test,” and rejecting a defense of acquiescence. The Third Circuit affirmed as to ownership, citing the rebuttable presumption of manufacturer ownership that pertains where priority of ownership is not otherwise established, but vacated as to damages. The district court incorrectly relied on gross sales unadjusted to reflect sales of infringing products to calculate damages. View "Covertech Fabricating Inc v. TVM Building Products Inc" on Justia Law

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IntegraSpec’s 933 Patent originally issued in 1995 and underwent ex parte reexaminations before the Patent & Trademark Office in 2010 and 2014. The patent is directed to ICFs, which are expanded polystyrene foam blocks used as molds to cast concrete walls. The ICFs are stacked to form a hollow wall which is then filled with concrete. The ICFs remain in place after the concrete sets to serve as insulation for the building. The ICFs consist of two parallel foam panels that form sidewalls. The top and bottom edges of the sidewalls have interconnecting means used to connect one ICF to another when they are stacked. In an infringement action, the Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment of noninfringement, based on a finding that IntegraSpec’s claims were precluded by a 2014 Federal Circuit decision based on the same claims. View "Phil-Insul Corp. v. Airlite Plastics C0." on Justia Law

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Rembrandt sued for infringement of two patents that share a specification and claim priority to a provisional application filed in 1997, describing “a system and method of communication in which multiple modulation methods are used to facilitate communication among a plurality of modems in a network, which have heretofore been incompatible.” The patents explain that in the prior art “a transmitter and receiver modem pair can successfully communicate only when the modems are compatible at the physical layer,” so that “communication between modems is generally unsuccessful unless a common modulation method is used.” The patents propose using the first section of a transmitted message (header) to indicate the modulation method being used for the substance of the message (payload). A jury found that Samsung infringed the patents, which were not invalid over prior art, and awarded Rembrandt $15.7 million in damages. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s claim construction of “modulation method of a different type” as “different families of modulation techniques, such as the FSK family of modulation methods and the QAM family of modulation methods.” The court vacated and remanded an order denying Samsung’s motion to limit Rembrandt’s damages for alleged failure to mark patented articles. View "Rembrandt Wireless Technologies, LP v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

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Core’s 143 patent recites a mobile station, such as a mobile telephone, that is connected to a cellular system or network. It is directed to means for sending packet data from the mobile station to the network using a selected channel. In prior art, the mobile station would send the network information about the data packet so that the network could make the channel selection decision. Selection by the network wastes system resources, because it requires the mobile station to send a message to the network regarding the data packet the mobile station wants to transmit, and then requires the network to make the channel selection decision. The 143 patent describes the mobile station, not the network, making the uplink channel selection decision; the network provides the mobile station with parameters that the mobile station applies in determining whether to use a dedicated channel or a common channel, which reduces “the signaling load associated with the allocation of packet data transfer” and “the delay associated with the starting of data transfer.” The Federal Circuit affirmed a verdict that Apple did not infringe, based on a holding that the claim requires that the mobile station “must have the capability to perform ‘channel selection,’ even if that capability was not used during the actual alleged performance of the claimed method.” View "Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law

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The consolidated appeals involve allegations that the companies holding the patents for Lipitor and Effexor XR delayed entry into the market by generic versions of those drugs by engaging in an overarching monopolistic scheme that involved fraudulently procuring and enforcing the underlying patents and then entering into a reverse-payment settlement agreement with a generic manufacturer. In 2013, the Supreme Court recognized that reverse payment schemes can violate antitrust laws and that it is normally not necessary to litigate patent validity to answer the antitrust question. The district judge dismissed most of plaintiffs’ claims. The Third Circuit remanded after rejecting an argument that plaintiffs’ allegations required transfer of the appeals to the Federal Circuit, which has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from civil actions “arising under” patent law, 28 U.S.C. 1295(a)(1). Not all cases presenting questions of patent law necessarily arise under patent law; here, patent law neither creates plaintiffs’ cause of action nor is a necessary element to any of plaintiffs’ well-pleaded claims. The court remanded one of the Lipitor appeals, brought by a group of California pharmacists and involving claims solely under California law, for jurisdictional discovery and determination of whether remand to state court was appropriate. View "In re: Lipitor Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law

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Navartis’s 283 patent relates to a solid pharmaceutical composition suitable for oral administration, comprising a sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) receptor agonist and a sugar alcohol, which the patent explains is useful for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. According to the specification, S1P receptor agonists generally exhibit properties that make formulations suitable for oral administration of a solid composition difficult to create. However, “solid compositions comprising a sugar alcohol provide formulations which are particularly well suited to the oral administration of S1P receptor agonists." They also “provide a convenient means of systemic administration of S1P receptor agonists, do not suffer from the disadvantages of liquid formulations for injection or oral use, and have good physiocochemical and storage properties.” On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found all original claims of the 283 patent and proposed substitute claims unpatentable as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board discussed independent grounds supporting the motivation to combine prior art, fingolimod and mannitol, in a solid oral composition. View "Novartis AG v. Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Limited" on Justia Law

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Mavrix filed suit against LiveJournal for posting 20 of its copyrighted photographs online. The district court granted summary judgment for LiveJournal, holding that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512(c), safe harbor protected LiveJournal from liability because Mavrix's photographs were posted at the direction of the user. In this case, when users submitted Mavrix's photographs to LiveJournal, LiveJournal posted the photographs after a team of volunteer moderators led by a LiveJournal employee reviewed and approved them. The court disagreed with the district court and concluded that the common law of agency does apply to this analysis and that there were genuine factual disputes regarding whether the moderators were LiveJournal's agents. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded for trial. The court addressed the remaining issues that the district court addressed because these issues may be contested on remand. On remand, the district court must determine whether LiveJournal met the section 512(c) safe harbor threshold requirement by showing that the photographs were posted at the direction of the user, then LiveJournal must show that it lacked actual or red flag knowledge of the infringements and that it did not financially benefit from infringements that it had the right and ability to control. View "Mavrix Photographs, LLC v. LiveJournal, Inc." on Justia Law

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Bivalirudin is a synthetic peptide used to prevent blood clotting in patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. Bivalirudin’s pharmacological properties were known before the filing of Medicines’ 727 and 343 patents and were covered by Medicines’ 404 patent, which expired in 2015. The claimed inventions of the 727 and 343 patents are directed to minimizing impurities in batches of bivalirudin, an active ingredient, typically distributed as a dry powder that must be compounded with a base before being administered to a patient as an intravenous injection. Medicines received FDA approval to market a base-compounded bivalirudin drug product in 2000, and has sold the approved product since 2001 under the tradename ANGIOMAX®, before the critical date of the 727-343 patents. Mylan submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application, seeking to market a generic version of ANGIOMAX. The district court held that the 343 patent was not infringed because Mylan did not satisfy the “efficient mixing” limitation of asserted claims and that the 727 patent was infringed because its asserted claims did not include an “efficient mixing” limitation. Without addressing the validity of the patents, the Federal Circuit reversed as to the 727 patent and affirmed as to the 343 patent. Both include a “batches” limitation that requires batch consistency, which, according to the patents, is achieved through efficient mixing. Efficient mixing is required by the asserted claims of both patents. View "The Medicines Co. v. Mylan, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former student athletes, filed suit against T3Media, asserting claims for statutory and common law publicity-rights, as well as an unfair competition claim under California law. Plaintiffs alleged that T3Media exploited their likenesses commercially by selling non-exclusive licenses permitting consumers to download photographs from the NCAA's Photo Library for non-commercial art use. The district court held that the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., preempted plaintiffs' claims and granted T3Media's special motion to strike pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 425.16. In this case, plaintiffs concede that their suit arises from acts in furtherance of T3Media's right to free speech. Therefore, plaintiffs must demonstrate a reasonable probability of prevailing on their challenged claims. The court concluded that plaintiffs failed to do so because the federal Copyright Act preempts plaintiffs' claims. The court explained that the subject matter of the state law claims falls within the subject matter of copyright, and the rights plaintiffs assert were equivalent to rights within the general scope of copyright. Because the district court did not err in granting T3Media's special motion to strike, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Maloney v. T3Media, Inc." on Justia Law