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Hyatt is the named inventor on more than 70 patents and approximately 400 pending applications, all filed before June 1995. With numerous amendments, those pending applications contained approximately 115,000 total claims by 2015. Each application incorporates and claims priority from applications dating back to the early 1970s. By 2015, the Patent Office (PTO) dedicated 14 full-time patent examiners to Hyatt’s applications. In the mid-2000s, the PTO started issuing final rejections, prompting appeals to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); the examiners never filed answers to Hyatt’s briefs, preventing PTAB from acquiring jurisdiction over his appeals. In 2013, the PTO issued formal “Requirements,” that Hyatt limit the number of claims from each patent family to 600 absent a showing that more were necessary, identify the earliest possible priority date and supporting disclosure for each selected claim, and present a copy of the selected claims to the PTO. The Federal Circuit upheld the "unique requirements." The PTO reopened prosecution of 80 previously-rejected applications. In 2014, Hyatt sued, alleging the PTO unreasonably delayed examination of his applications by reopening prosecution rather than letting PTAB hear his appeals. The PTO won summary judgment. Hyatt filed a petition (5 U.S.C. 553(e)) requesting that the PTO either repeal Manual of Patent Examining Procedure 1207.04 or declare it unenforceable. Section 1207.04 describes an examiner’s ability to, “with approval from the supervisory patent examiner, reopen prosecution to enter a new ground of rejection in response to appellant’s brief.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Hyatt’s 2016 suit challenging the denial of that petition. Hyatt’s claims are either time-barred or reliant on mistaken statutory interpretation. View "Hyatt v. United States Patent and Trademark Office" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs challenged the Copyright Royalty Board's most recent determination for rates noninteractive webcasters must pay to play recordings over the Internet under a statutory copyright license. The DC Circuit sustained the Board's determinations in all respects and held that the Board's acceptance of the Pandora and iHeart benchmark agreements was not arbitrary and capricious; the court applied Chevron deference to the Board's adjustment downward of SoundExchange's proposed benchmark; the Board adequately and reasonably explained its decision to set different rates for ad-based and subscription noninteractive webcasting services; and the court rejected SoundExchange's challenge concerning the Board's decision to amend a license term setting forth the requirements to qualify as an auditor that can verify royalty payments. Finally, the Board rejected a pro se appellant's challenge concerning the constitutionality of the Board's determination. View "SoundExchange, Inc. v. Copyright Royalty Board and Librarian of Congress" on Justia Law

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Synvina’s 921 patent is directed to a method of oxidizing 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), or an HMF derivative, under specified reaction conditions to form 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). DuPont and Synvina are competitors in the production of FDCA for industrial use. Because FDCA can be produced from sugars using biological or chemical conversion, the U.S. Department of Energy has identified FDCA as a potential “building block[]” for “high-value bio-based chemicals or materials.” The oxidation of HMF and its derivatives to yield FDCA was known at the time of the claimed invention; the issue is whether the patent's claimed reaction conditions—the choice of temperature, pressure, catalyst, and solvent—would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill at the time of the invention. On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that DuPont failed to prove obviousness. Concluding that Dupont had standing because it operates a plant capable of infringing the patent and that the Board applied the wrong legal standard, the Federal Circuit reversed. Where there is a range disclosed in the prior art, and the claimed invention falls within that range, the burden of production falls upon the patentee to come forward with evidence of teaching away, unexpected results or criticality, or other pertinent objective indicia indicating that the overlapping range would not have been obvious in light of that prior art. View "E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Synvina C.V." on Justia Law

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Nobel’s 977 patent, directed to dental implants, explains that a “feature of the invention” is that “the coronally tapered aspect [of the implant] is designed to allow elastic expansion of the bone while inserting the wider area of the coronally tapered aspect inside the bone and after insertion of the narrow area of the coronally tapered aspect the bone relapses to cover the coronally tapered aspect.” “In another preferred embodiment ... the coronally tapered region 85 is placed inside the bone so the bone can grow above this region. The tapered region 90 is below the bone level 91. The height of the coronally tapered region 85 is 0.5–4 mm. Preferably the height is 1–3 mm and for most cases 1.3–2.5 mm depending on the diameter of the implant.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, on inter partes review, that six claims were unpatentable based on anticipation. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that a catalog reference was a “printed publication” publicly accessible prior to the critical date. The Board correctly construed the language “having a frustoconical shape” as not serving as an adjective that modifies “coronal region.” View "Nobel Biocare Services AG v. Instradent USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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ParkerVision’s 940 patent, titled “Method and System for Frequency Up-Conversion” relates to telecommunications devices, such as cellular phones, in which low-frequency electromagnetic signals are “up-converted” to higher-frequency signals by various means. “Baseband” signals— electromagnetic signals that encode the relevant information of sound waves—have low frequencies, and therefore low energy, making them difficult to transmit wirelessly through the air. Up-converting these frequencies to higher-frequency signals, such as radio frequency signals, allows the signal—and the information contained therein—to be more efficiently transmitted to a receiver. The specification explains that prior art transmitter systems used up-conversion components that are costly, in terms of power consumption and purchase price. The invention disclosed in the 940 patent purports to provide a more efficient means for producing a modulated carrier for transmission that uses less power and requires fewer components” by modulating the amplitude of the baseband signal with the help of an “oscillating signal.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (in related inter partes review proceedings) that certain claims of the 940 patent are unpatentable as obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103(a). The court upheld the Board’s construction of “plurality of harmonics.” View "ParkerVision, Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc." on Justia Law

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Sports photographers filed suit seeking to recover damages on copyright, contract, and tort theories of liability after the NFL exploited thousands of their photographs without a license and without compensation. The photographers also brought an antitrust challenge alleging that the NFL and AP conspired to restrain trade in the market for commercial licenses of NFL event photographs. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The Second Circuit held that the photographers' allegations plausibly supported an inference that before the 2012 AP-NFL agreement was signed, AP had not granted the NFL a complimentary license to use the photographers' works, and the NFL knew it. The court vacated the photographers' claims for copyright infringement against AP and the NFL relating to the NFL's use of photographs from 2009 to present; claims for copyright infringement against AP, the NFL, and Replay relating to uses of the photographs in connection with the Replay Photo Store; claims for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against AP; and claims for fraud against AP. The court affirmed in all other respects and remanded for further proceedings. View "Spinelli v. National Football League" on Justia Law

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Acorda’s patents claim the administration of a medication containing the active ingredient 4- aminopyridine (4-AP) to improve walking in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Acorda holds an FDA-approved New Drug Application and markets, under the name “Ampyra®,” 10 milligram 4-AP sustained-release tablets for twice-daily oral administration and holds an exclusive license to the earlier, broader “Elan patent,” which is listed in the FDA Orange Book for Ampyra with the Acorda patents, and claims methods of treating patients having certain conditions, including multiple sclerosis, by administering a drug containing a sustained-release formulation of any of certain agents, including 4-AP. Defendants sought FDA approval to market generic versions of Ampyra. In Acorda's infringement suit, the district court held that the asserted claims in the Acorda patents are invalid for obviousness but upheld the Elan patent and enjoined infringement of that patent until it expired in July 2018. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the asserted Acorda patent claims are invalid, discounting the weight of Acorda’s evidence of commercial success, failure of others, and long-felt but unmet need. The court noted the Elan patent issued in 1996 and was licensed exclusively to Acorda in 1997 for spinal cord injury and in 1998 for multiple sclerosis treatment, which blocked others from domestic marketing without risk of infringement and deterred other entities from investing in research whose reward depended on marketing a drug like Ampyra. View "Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Roxane Laboratories, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board determined there was no interference-in-fact between UC’s Application No. 13/842,859, and the claims of 12 patents and one application owned by Broad. The involved claims relate to the use of a CRISPR-Cas91 system for the targeted cutting of DNA molecules. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Under the relevant test (35 U.S.C. 102(g)) a patent may only be awarded to the first inventor. Whether an interference occurs is determined by comparing the involved claims. The question is whether “the subject matter of a claim of one party would, if prior art, have anticipated or rendered obvious the subject matter of a claim of the opposing party and vice versa.” The Board performed a thorough analysis of the factual evidence and considered a variety of statements by experts for both parties and the inventors, past failures and successes in the field, evidence of simultaneous invention, and the extent to which the art provided instructions for applying the CRISPRCas9 technology in a new environment. Substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that there was not a reasonable expectation of success, and the Board did not err in its determination that there is no interference-in-fact. View "University of California v. Broad Institute, Inc." on Justia Law

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Orexo’s 330 Patent, entitled “Abuse-Resistant Pharmaceutical Composition for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence,” claims a product having the brand name Zubsolv®, approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid dependence. Actavis filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application for a generic counterpart of Zubsolv, accompanied by a Paragraph IV certification, leading to Hatch-Waxman litigation under 21 U.S.C. 355(j) and 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2)(A). The Federal Circuit reversed a finding of obviousness. The question is not whether the references separately taught components of the 330 Patent formulation, but whether the prior art suggested the selection and combination achieved by the 330 inventors. The district court erred in discounting the enhanced bioavailability in the 330 patent’s formulation as “a ‘difference in degree,’ not a difference in ‘kind.’” The clinical studies reported in the 330 Patent show 66% improved bioavailability. In the context of this invention, this is more than a trivial “degree.” View "Orexo AB v. Actavis Elizabeth, LLC" on Justia Law

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DACo, a sports specialty shop, sells souvenirs and apparel associated with Detroit professional sports teams. Since at least 2004, DACo has used the DETROIT ATHLETIC CO. mark in connection with its retail services. In 2015, DACo sought to register the standard character mark DETROIT ATHLETIC CO. on the Principal Register for “[o]n-line retail consignment stores featuring sports team related clothing and apparel; [r]etail apparel stores; [r]etail shops featuring sports team related clothing and apparel; [r]etail sports team related clothing and apparel stores.” In response to a non-final refusal, DACo disclaimed ATHLETIC CO. and amended to seek registration on the Supplemental Register. The examining attorney refused registration under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(d), finding that DETROIT ATHLETIC CO. is likely to be confused with DETROIT ATHLETIC CLUB, which is on the Principal Register for “[c]lothing, namely athletic uniforms, coats, golf shirts, gym suits, hats, jackets, sweatpants, sweatshirts, polo shirts, and T-shirts,” and is owned by the Detroit Athletic Club, a private social club organized in 1887. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board balanced the DuPont factors; substantial evidence supports its finding that, “because the marks are similar, the goods and services are related, and the channels of trade and consumers overlap, . . . confusion is likely between Applicant’s mark DETROIT ATHLETIC CO. and the mark DETROIT ATHLETIC CLUB.” View "In re: Detroit Athletic Co." on Justia Law