Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries

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The 320 patent describes single-brew coffee machines, such as the Keurig® system, and purports to address the incompatibility between pod-based and cartridge-based systems. The invention “more particularly relates to an adaptor assembly configured to effect operative compatibility between a single serve beverage brewer and beverage pods.” None of the claims as issued included any reference to a “pod,” “pod adaptor assembly,” or “brewing chamber for a beverage pod.” Instead, the relevant claims call for “a container . . . adapted to hold brewing material.” In 2014, Rivera filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, alleging that Solofill was importing beverage capsules that infringed the patent, in violation of 19 U.S.C. 1337. Solofill’s K2 and K3 beverage capsules are made to fit into a Keurig® brewer, and include an integrated mesh filter surrounding a space designed to accept loose coffee grounds. An ALJ found no violation of section 337, The Commission affirmed, finding asserted claims invalid for lack of written description, and others invalid as anticipated. The Federal Circuit affirmed, agreeing that the claims were invalid for lack of written description. View "Rivera v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

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Apicore owns, and Mylan Is the exclusive licensee of, the 992, 616, and 050 patents, which relate to isosulfan blue (ISB), a triarylmethane dye used to map lymph nodes. The 992 and 616 patents (together, “the process patents”) are directed to a process for preparing ISB by reacting isoleuco acid with silver oxide in a polar solvent, followed by reaction with a sodium solution. In response to Aurobindo’s FDA application to market a generic version of Myland’s drug, Lymphazurin®, Apricore and Myland obtained a preliminary injunction precluding Aurobindo from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing the accused ISB product that allegedly infringes the patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed. While the district court’s “equivalents analysis” was deficient and there remains a substantial question concerning infringement, so that the court’s grant of a preliminary injunction based on the process patents constituted an abuse of discretion, the injunction stands under the 050 patent. View "Mylan Institutional LLC v. Aurobindo Pharma Ltd." on Justia Law

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Registration of a copyright has not been made in accordance with 17 U.S.C. 411(a), until the Register of Copyrights registers the claim. Filing an application does not amount to registration. Fourth Estate filed suit against defendants, alleging that Fourth Estate had filed an application to register its allegedly infringed copyrights, but that the Copyright Office had not registered its claims. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action where Fourth Estate has not alleged infringement of any registered work, and this appeal did not involve the ongoing creation of original works, or potential future infringement of works not yet created. View "Fourth Estate Public Benefit v. Wall-Street.com, LLC" on Justia Law

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A claim of genericness or "genericide," where the public appropriates a trademark and uses it as a generic name for particular types of goods or services irrespective of its source, must be made with regard to a particular type of good or service. Plaintiffs petitioned for cancellation of the GOOGLE trademark under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1064(3), based on the ground that it is generic. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Google, Inc., holding that plaintiffs failed to recognize that a claim of genericide must always relate to a particular type of good or service, and that plaintiffs erroneously assumed that verb use automatically constitutes generic use; the district court correctly framed its inquiry as whether the primary significance of the word "google" to the relevant public was as a generic name for internet search engines or as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular; the assumption that a majority of the public uses the verb "google" in a generic and indiscriminate sense, on its own, could not support a jury finding of genericide under the primary significance test; and plaintiffs have failed to present sufficient evidence in this case to support a jury finding that the relevant public primarily understands the word "google" as a generic name for internet search engines and not as a mark identifying the Google search engine in particular. View "Elliott v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2010, ArcelorMittal sued (050 case), alleging infringement of the 805 patent. A jury found that Defendants did not infringe and that the asserted claims were invalid as anticipated and obvious. The Federal Circuit reversed the court’s claim construction and concluded that, as a matter of law, the claims were not anticipated. In 2013, the Patent Office reissued the 805 patent as the RE153 patent. ArcelorMittal filed the 685 and 686 infringement suits based on events occurring after the reissuance and moved to amend its 050 complaint to substitute allegations of infringement of the RE153 patent. The court entered summary judgment, finding that claims 1–23 had been improperly broadened, and denied the motion to amend as moot. The Federal Circuit affirmed the invalidity of RE 153 claims 1–23, but reversed as to claims 24 and 25. On remand, the court granted defendants summary judgment of invalidity on RE 153 claims 24 and 25, denied ArcelorMittal’s motion to dismiss the 050 case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and granted ArcelorMittal’s motion to amend its 685 complaint. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The district court possessed subject matter jurisdiction to grant summary judgment, properly followed the mandate on remand, and properly exercised its discretion to deny ArcelorMittal’s request for new discovery. View "Arcelormittal v. AK Steel Corp." on Justia Law

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Patent Board did not adequately explain why it accepted patent holder’s claim construction, but nonetheless found the claims unpatentable. Rovalma’s patent describes and claims methods for making steels with certain desired thermal conductivities. Böhler petitioned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for an inter partes review of claims 1–4 of the patent. The Board instituted a review, rejected Böhler’s construction of the claims, and adopted Rovalma’s construction. Böhler had not submitted arguments or evidence for unpatentability based on Rovalma’s construction. Nevertheless, the Board determined that Rovalma’s own submissions demonstrated that the claims, construed as Rovalma urged, would have been obvious to a relevant skilled artisan over the same prior art that Böhler invoked. The Federal Circuit vacated, stating that the Board did not set forth its reasoning in sufficient detail for determination what inferences it drew from Rovalma’s submissions, making it impossible to determine whether the Board’s decision was substantively supported and procedurally proper. View "Rovalma, S.A. v. Bohler-Edelstahl GMBH & Co. KG" on Justia Law

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Statements made by the patent owner during an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, whether before or after an institution decision, can be relied upon to support a finding of prosecution disclaimer. Aylus’s patent “provides systems and methods for implementing digital home networks having a control point located on a wide area network.” It teaches various network architectures for streaming and displaying media content using combinations of networked components. The Patent Office initiated IPR on two claims while Aylus’s infringement suit was pending. In its response to Apple’s request for IPR, Aylus made statements that the court subsequently characterized as constituting “clear and unmistakable surrender” of certain methods. The district court entered summary judgment, finding that Apple’s AirPlay feature did not infringe the patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding construction of the limitation “wherein the CPP logic is invoked to negotiate media content delivery between the MS and the MR” to “require that only the CPP logic is invoked to negotiate media content delivery between the MS and the MR, in contrast to claims 1 and 20 which require both the CP and CPP to negotiate media content delivery.” Aylus’s statements during IPR were a clear and unmistakable disavowal of claim scope. View "Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc." on Justia Law

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District court properly awarded “exceptional case” legal fees. In 2005, Dow filed an infringement action against NOVA, which argued that its product did not infringe and that Dow lacked standing because it had transferred ownership of the patents. In 2010, the district court entered judgment against NOVA for $61 million. The Federal Circuit affirmed. In a separate appeal from an award of supplemental damages, the Federal Circuit found the asserted claims invalid as indefinite under the Supreme Court’s intervening “Nautilus” standard, but did not disturb the 2010 judgment relating to preverdict infringement. NOVA became aware of evidence allegedly showing that Dow had committed fraud in obtaining the 2010 judgment but was time-barred from moving to set aside that judgment. In 2013, NOVA filed a separate action in equity for relief from the 2010 judgment, asserting misrepresentation of Dow’s ownership of the asserted patents, based on the testimony of a former Dow employee in an unrelated tax case and on the testimony of Dow’s expert, about testing on the accused product during separate Canadian litigation. The Federal Circuit affirmed dismissal. The district court awarded Dow $2.5 million under 35 U.S.C. 285, which allows courts to award “reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party” in “exceptional cases.” The court noted the weakness of NOVA’s litigating position and the manner in which NOVA pursued the case. The Federal Circuit affirmed. View "Nova Chemicals Corp. v. Dow Chemical Co." on Justia Law

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Claims in patent relating to fiber optic communication signals were unpatentable for lack of written description support. Cirrex’s 082 patent is directed to the field of fiber optic communication signals that use light energy made up of multiple different wavelengths within one fiber optic cable. Cisco requested inter partes reexamination of the patent. The Patent and Trademark Office found certain claims patentable and rejected other claims for lack of written description support. The Board affirmed. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, finding that, under the correct claim construction for the equalization and discrete attenuation claims, all the claims on appeal unpatentable for lack of written description support. View "Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Cirrex Systems, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Agadir in Grayson O's trademark and unfair competition action. Grayson O sells products designed to protect hair from heat during styling, and owns a federal trademark registration for the mark "F 450." The Fourth Circuit found that Grayson O's mark was both conceptually and commercially weak; even if "450" was a separable, dominant part of Grayson O's mark, given the many other differences between Grayson O's and Agadir's marks, the district court correctly concluded that the marks were not similar; Grayson O failed to demonstrate that Agadir had an intent to infringe; and Grayson O failed to present evidence of actual confusion. View "Grayson O Company v. Agadir International" on Justia Law