Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries

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In these consolidated appeals, appellants challenge the royalty rates and terms established by the Board for the period of January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2022. Appellants challenged numerous aspects of the Board's final determination: the Streaming Services argue that the Board's decision impermissibly applies retroactively; the Streaming Services challenge the Board's rate structure and the specific rates applicable under that structure; the Streaming Services and the Copyright Owners each object to the Board's definition of certain terms; and songwriter George Johnson challenges the Board's acceptance of the Subpart A settlement, as well as its adoption of the final rate structure.The DC Circuit rejected the Streaming Services' retroactivity objection and the challenges brought by the Copyright Owners and George Johnson. However, the court agreed with the Streaming Services that the Board failed to provide adequate notice of the final rate structure, failed to reasonably explain its rejection of the Phonorecords II settlement as a benchmark, and failed to identify under what authority it substantively redefined a term after publishing its initial determination. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, and vacated and remanded to the Board in part because it failed to give adequate notice or to sufficiently explain critical aspects of its decisionmaking. View "Johnson v. Copyright Royalty Board" on Justia Law

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After ATOM filed for bankruptcy, plaintiff and ATOM initiated an adversarial proceeding against Petroleum Analyzer, alleging claims of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and civil theft. On the bankruptcy court's recommendation, the district court withdrew the reference to the bankruptcy court and asserted jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1334, and entered partial summary judgment for plaintiff and ATOM. Four years later, the district court held a bench trial and entered judgment in favor of Petroleum Analyzer and later awarded attorneys' fees to Petroleum Analyzer.The Fifth Circuit held that the district court did not clearly err by finding that Petroleum Analyzer did not use plaintiff's trade secrets in Petroleum Analyzer's sulfur-detecting excimer lamp called a MultiTek. Furthermore, the district court did not ignore the "law of the case" doctrine. The court also held that the district court did not err by awarding Petroleum Analyzer attorneys' fees under the Texas Theft Liability Act. The court remanded to allow the district court to make the initial determination and award of appellate attorneys' fees to Petroleum Analyzer. View "ATOM Instrument Corp. v. Petroleum Analyzer Co., LP" on Justia Law

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Godo sued TCL, alleging infringement, arguing that the patents-in-suit are essential to the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard and that TCL’s accused devices are LTE-compatible. A jury found that TCL was liable for infringement by its sale of LTE standard-compliant devices, including mobile phones and tablets. In post-trial motions, TCL unsuccessfully argued that Godo’s theory of infringement was flawed because the “narrow exception” to proving infringement in the standard way—i.e., by showing that each element in the asserted claim is present in the accused devices—only applies in circumstances where the patent owner asks the court to assess essentiality in the context of construing the claims of the asserted patents.The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting TCL’s contention that whether a patent is essential to any standard established by a standard-setting organization is a question of law to be resolved in the context of claim construction. Where, as here, there are material disputes of fact regarding whether asserted claims are in fact essential to all implementations of an industry standard, the question of essentiality must be resolved by the trier of fact in the context of an infringement trial. Substantial evidence supports the jury’s infringement verdict. View "Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims under the Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Plaintiff alleged claims of copyright infringement and copyright management information (CMI) removal based on an underlying controversy involving defendants' promotion of their own version of a honey harvesting product, which replaced one that plaintiff had invented and that defendants had sold for many years through a website defendants owned.The court held that plaintiff was not entitled to statutory damages or attorneys' fees, because the first allegedly infringing act occurred before the date of the copyright registration and no genuine issue of material fact exists concerning this issue. The court also held that plaintiff failed to establish a CMI removal claim under the DMCA, because "Fischer's" cannot be construed as a CMI with respect to the advertising text at issue because it is simply the name of the product being described. View "Fischer v. Forrest" on Justia Law

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The Navy began a program to design and build littoral combat ships (LCS) and issued a request for proposals. During the initial phase of the LCS procurement, FastShip met with and discussed a potential hull design with government contractors subject to non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements. FastShip was not awarded a contract. FastShip filed an unsuccessful administrative claim, alleging patent infringement. The Claims Court found that the FastShip patents were valid and directly infringed by the government. The Federal Circuit affirmed.The Claims Court awarded FastShip attorney’s fees and expenses ($6,178,288.29); 28 U.S.C. 1498(a), which provides for a fee award to smaller entities that have prevailed on infringement claims, unless the government can show that its position was “substantially justified.” The court concluded that the government’s pre-litigation conduct and litigation positions were not “as a whole” substantially justified. It unreasonable for a government contractor to gather information from FastShip but not to include it as part of the team that was awarded the contract and the Navy took an exceedingly long time to act on FastShip’s administrative claim and did not provide sufficient analysis in denying the claim. The court found the government’s litigation positions unreasonable, including its arguments with respect to one document and its reliance on the testimony of its expert to prove obviousness despite his “extraordinary skill.” The Federal Circuit vacated. Reliance on this pre-litigation conduct in the fee analysis was an error. View "FastShip, LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

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Bio-Rad’s patents are directed to systems and methods for forming microscopic droplets (plugs) of fluids to perform biochemical reactions. Microfluidic systems—often called “labs-on-a-chip”—allow scientists to conduct microscale chemical and biological reactions. For example, the technology allows scientists to analyze and compare DNA, RNA, and proteins within large numbers of individual cells. This technology has applications in medical diagnostics and high-throughput screening. In an infringement suit, the jury found all three patents valid and willfully infringed and awarded damages of $23,930,716. The court granted Bio-Rad’s motion for a permanent injunction. The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of infringement of one patent (which covers all six accused products) and the entire damages award. Prosecution history estoppel does not apply and 10X’s challenges concerning the infringement under the doctrine of equivalents fail. The court reversed the district court’s construction of the asserted claims of two patents, vacated the judgment of infringement of those patents, and remanded for a new trial on the issue of whether 10X’s accused products infringe those patents under the proper claim construction. The court also vacated the injunction with respect to 10X’s Linked-Reads and CNV product lines. View "Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. 10X Genomics Inc." on Justia Law

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Takeda sued Mylan for patent infringement based on Mylan’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for a generic version of Takeda’s Colcrys® version of the drug colchicine. The parties settled, entering into a License Agreement that allows Mylan to sell a generic colchicine product on a specified date or under circumstances defined in Section 1.2, which refers the date of a final court decision holding that all unexpired claims of the licensed patents that were asserted and adjudicated against a third party are not infringed, invalid, or unenforceable. The parties stipulated that Mylar's breach of Section 1.2 “would cause Takeda irreparable harm.”Takeda also sued Hikma based on Hikma’s FDA-approved colchicine product Mitigare®. The district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement. After Mylan launched its product, Takeda sued, alleging breach of contract and patent infringement.The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction. Takeda failed to show it is likely to succeed on the merits or that it will suffer irreparable harm. Section 1.2(d) was triggered by the third-party litigation; all unexpired claims of the three patents that were “asserted and adjudicated” were held to be not infringed. An objective, reasonable third party would not read Section 1.2(d) to be limited to generic equivalents of Colcrys® excluding section 505(b)(2) products like Mitigare®. Because Takeda had not established that Mylan breached the Agreement, the irreparable harm stipulation did not apply. Money damages would remedy any harm Takeda would suffer as a result of Mylan launching its generic product. View "Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

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The patent relates to computer networking and is specifically directed to offloading certain network-related processing tasks from a host computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to an “intelligent network interface card” (INIC) to improve performance by accelerating network communications while freeing the CPU to focus on other tasks. According to the patent, one of the tasks that can be offloaded from the CPU to the INIC is the reassembly of data from packets received by the host computer from the network.The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found certain claims unpatentable as obvious. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The Board did not adequately support its finding that the asserted prior art combination teaches or suggests a limitation recited in claims 41–43. The court remanded for the Board to reconsider whether the asserted prior art teaches or suggests the entirety of the reassembly limitations, including the requirement that reassembly takes place in the network interface. The court otherwise affirmed. View "Alarcritech, Inc. v. Intel Corp." on Justia Law

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XY sued Trans Ova for infringement of seven patents relating to technology for sex selection of non-human mammals. Its 559 patent is titled “Enhancing Flow Cytometry Discrimination with Geometric Transformation.” Flow cytometers can be used as “high-speed jet-in-air sorters to discriminate particles and cells that are only subtly different.” The patent relates to “apparatus and methods for real-time discrimination of particles while being sorted by flow cytometry . . . resulting in enhanced discrimination between populations of particles” and “can be used to separate X from Y bearing sperm,” an application useful in animal husbandry to “guarantee[] the sex of offspring.”The district court found asserted claims 1–23 of the 559 patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101 and that XY’s patent-infringement allegations with respect to certain claims of other patents were claim-precluded based on a prior lawsuit filed by XY against Trans Ova. The Federal Circuit reversed. The asserted claims of the patent are directed to a patent-eligible improvement to a method of sorting particles using flow cytometry technology, not to an abstract idea. The district court did not apply the proper legal standard to its claim-preclusion analysis. The court vacated the claim-preclusion judgment. View "XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC" on Justia Law

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IBSA's patent, entitled “Pharmaceutical Formulations for Thyroid Hormones,” provides “pharmaceutical formulations based on thyroid hormones enabling a safe and stable oral administration in the framework of the strict therapeutic index prescribed in case of thyroid disorders.” It is listed in the FDA’s “Orange Book” for IBSA’s Tirosint® product, a soft gel capsule formulation containing the active ingredient levothyroxine sodium. Teva sought to market a generic version of Tirosint® and filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) that included a “Paragraph IV certification” that the 390 patent is invalid, unenforceable, or will not be infringed by Teva’s generic product. IBSA filed suit, alleging infringement.The Federal Circuit affirmed a holding that certain claims are invalid as indefinite under 35 U.S.C. 112. The intrinsic evidence fails to establish the boundaries of the claim term “half-liquid” and there was no clear error in the court’s determination that the extrinsic evidence does not supply “half-liquid” with a definite meaning under section 112. View "IBSA Institut Biochimique v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA" on Justia Law