Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries

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GAT’s 243 patent discloses a “method and system for providing an online game, in which ability information of a unit associated with a pilot is enabled to change as ability information of the pilot changes.” In July 2015, GAT filed a complaint accusing Wargaming and its affiliate, Wargaming.net, of infringing the patent. GAT's process server served Wargaming.net’s registered United Kingdom agent in December 2015; the summons was not signed by the clerk of court and did not bear the court’s seal. GAT’s attorney also mailed a copy of the complaint and summons to Wargaming's Cyprus office. In February 2016, Wargaming indicated that it did not believe that service was properly effected on either Wargaming entity but that Wargaming would waive service in exchange for an agreement to have until April to respond to the complaint. No formal waiver was filed. In March 2016, Wargaming appeared at a scheduling conference. In April 2016, Wargaming moved to dismiss. On March 13, 2017, Wargaming filed its petition for inter partes review (IPR), asserting that it was not barred by 35 U.S.C. 315(b)'s one-year limitation from requesting IPR because it had not been served. The Patent Board concluded that neither the UK service nor the Cyprus service triggered the time bar and that several claims would have been obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed. GAT did not preserve its specific arguments for why service was proper or that Wargaming’s counsel waived service. The court upheld the Board’s construction of the terms “unit,” “pilot,” and “ability” in making its findings of obviousness. View "Game & Technology Co., Ltd. v. Wargaming Group Ltd." on Justia Law

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KPN sued Gemalto for infringement of its 662 patent, which concerns “systemic error” in the physical transmission of information over the air, The district court found four claims patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. 101, as reciting no more than mere abstract data manipulation operations, such as “reordering data and generating additional data.” The Federal Circuit reversed. These claims are directed to an improved check data generating device that enables a data transmission error detection system to detect a specific type of error that prior art systems could not. The 662 patent solves prior art problems by varying the way check data is generated by varying the permutation applied to different data blocks. Varying the permutation for each data block reduces the chances that the same systematic error will produce the same defective check data across different data blocks. Claims 2–4 thus replace the prior art check data generator with an improved, dynamic check data generator that enables increased detection of systematic errors that recur across a series of transmitted data blocks. The appealed claims represent a nonabstract improvement in the functionality of an existing technological process and not simply an abstract idea of manipulating data. View "Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GMBH" on Justia Law

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Columbia’s 270 patent is a utility patent directed to materials that use a pattern of heat-directing elements coupled to a base fabric to manage heat through reflection or conductivity. Figures in the patent depict the material’s use in cold weather and camping gear. Its 093 patent is a design patent drawn to the “ornamental design of a heat reflective material.” In an infringement suit against Seirus, the jury found two claims in the 270 patent invalid as anticipated and obvious. The court entered summary judgment fining the 093 patent infringed. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the claims were invalid but reversed the summary judgment of infringement. In evaluating the prior art, the court erroneously compared Columbia’s design, Seirus’s product’s design, and a prior art patent design side-by-side before concluding that “[t]he overall visual effect of the Columbia and Seirus designs are nearly identical and if the logo was removed from the Seirus design, an ordinary observer would have great difficulty distinguishing between" the designs.” In evaluating prior art and wave thickness, the district court made a finding of fact—whether an element of Seirus’s design would give an ordinary observer a different visual impression than Columbia’s design—over a disputed factual record. Such questions should be resolved by a jury. View "Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus Innovative Accessories, Inc." on Justia Law

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LHO's Chicago hotel underwent a branding change in February 2014 when the establishment became “Hotel Chicago,” a signature Marriott venue. Around May 2016, Perillo and his associated entities opened their own “Hotel Chicago” three miles from LHO’s site. LHO sued for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), and for trademark infringement and deceptive trade practices under Illinois law. After more than a year, LHO moved to voluntarily dismiss its claims, with prejudice. Defendants made a post‐judgment request for attorney fees, 15 U.S.C. 1117(a), for the prevailing party in “exceptional cases.” The parties identified two distinct standards for exceptionality: the Seventh Circuit’s standard, that a case is exceptional under section 1117(a) if the decision to bring the claim constitutes an “abuse of process” and the more relaxed totality‐of‐the‐circumstances approach under the Patent Act that the Supreme Court announced in Octane Fitness (2014). Other circuits have extended Octane to the Lanham Act. The district judge acknowledged Octane but adhered to the “abuse‐of‐process” standard and declined to award fees. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that Octane’s “exceptional case” standard controls. The court noted the legislative history, the Patent Act’s identical language, and the Supreme Court’s use of trademark law in Oc‐ tane View "LHO Chicago River, L.L.C. v. Perillo" on Justia Law

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On inter partes reexamination after the Federal Circuit vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s prior decision, the Board reversed the patent examiner’s rejection of new claims presented by Firepass (the patent owner). The patent discloses a fire prevention and suppression system that prevents and extinguishes fires using breathable air instead of water, foam, or toxic chemicals— each of which can present risks to personnel or electronic equipment. The invention is based on the inventor’s alleged discovery that a low-oxygen (hypoxic” but normal pressure (normbaric) atmosphere inhibits fire ignition and combustion, yet remains breathable for humans. The Federal Circuit vacated the Board’s reversal of the examiner’s rejection of the claims. The Board erred in its analogous art analysis by declining to consider record evidence relied on by Airbus to demonstrate the knowledge and perspective of a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention. The court remanded for consideration whether a particular prior art reference is analogous art in view of the four prior art references relied on by Airbus to demonstrate the knowledge and perspective of a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention. View "Airbus S.A.S. v. Firepass Corp." on Justia Law

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Ericsson’s 052 patent describes and claims a “direct conversion receiver” for wireless communication systems that may receive signals from systems that operate at different frequency bands. On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that all of the challenged claims are unpatentable on the ground of obviousness, 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding that substantial evidence established that a specific foreign publication is an available reference against the patent. The article at issue was published in a German periodical whose cover states the date “Mai/Juni” 1996, more than one year earlier than Ericsson’s filing date of July 1, 1997. While journal issue did not reach the UCLA library until October 1996, substantial evidence supports the ruling that it was accessible to the public in the May/June 1996 period. Substantial evidence also supports the finding that the article renders obvious the claim 18 “steps of generating a first oscillator signal and frequency dividing the first oscillator signal to generate the in-phase and quadrature oscillator signals prior to the step of mixing.” View "Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson v. TCL Corp." on Justia Law

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The 2012 patent application relates to the construction of travel trailers with two compartments, living quarters and a garage portion, separated by a wall assembly. Claim 1 covers a travel trailer with first and second compartments separated by a wall assembly which is movable so as to alter the relative dimensions of the compartments without altering the exterior appearance of the travel trailer. Claim 2 covers a travel trailer having compartments separated by a wall assembly having a side member located adjacent to and movable in parallel with respect to a sidewall of the trailer, and the wall assembly moved along the longitudinal length of the trailer by drive means positioned between the side member and the sidewall. The examiner rejected both claims under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as anticipated by patents that describe a conventional truck trailer and that describe a bulkhead for shipping compartments. The inventors argued that a “travel trailer” is “a type of recreational vehicle” and that the examiner erred by rejecting the claims without addressing the level of ordinary skill in the art. The Board affirmed, concluding the preamble term “travel trailer” is a mere statement of intended use that does not limit the claim. The Federal Circuit reversed. The Board erred in concluding “travel trailer” does not limit the scope of the claims; "no one would confuse a travel trailer with a truck trailer." View "In re: Fought" on Justia Law

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In “Arthrex,” the Federal Circuit concluded that the appointments of Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) violated the Appointments Clause and vacated a decision made by a panel of APJs. Customedia sought to assert the same challenge. The Federal Circuit denied a motion to vacate, finding that Customedia forfeited its Appointments Clause challenge. Arguments not raised in the opening brief are waived. Appointments Clause challenges are not jurisdictional and must be properly raised on appeal. Customedia did not raise any semblance of an Appointments Clause challenge in its opening brief or raise this challenge in a motion filed prior to its opening brief. View "Customedia Technologies,, LLC v. Dish Network Corp." on Justia Law

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Arthrex’s patent is directed to a knotless suture securing assembly. On inter partes review, heard by a three-judge panel consisting of three Patent Trial and Appeal Board Administrative Patent Judges (APJs), several claims were found to be unpatentable as anticipated. Arthrex appealed and argued that the appointment of the APJs by the Secretary of Commerce, as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 6(a), violates the Appointments Clause, U.S. Const., art. II, section 2, cl. 2. The Federal Circuit agreed and vacated the decision. The statute as currently constructed makes the APJs principal officers, requiring appointment by the President as opposed to the Secretary of Commerce. The court considered review within the agency over APJ panel decisions, the Director’s supervisory powers, and that APJs can only be removed from service for “misconduct [that] is likely to have an adverse impact on the agency’s performance of its functions,” 5 U.S.C. 7513. Under existing law, APJs issue decisions that are final on behalf of the Executive Branch and are not removable without cause. To remedy the violation, the court concluded that severing the portion of the Patent Act restricting removal of the APJs is sufficient to render the APJs inferior officers and remedy the constitutional appointment problem. View "Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc." on Justia Law

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Index and Gilead were developing drugs for treating the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Idenix alleged that the imminent FDA approval, and launch, of Gilead’s HCV treatment drug sofosbuvir would infringe Idenix’s 597 patent. After a jury trial, Gilead stipulated to infringement under the district court’s claim construction but argued that the patent was invalid for failure to meet the written description and enablement requirements. The jury found for Idenix, upheld the patent and awarded damages. The district court denied Gilead’s motion with respect to written description but granted judgment as a matter of law on enablement, holding the 597 patent invalid. The Federal Circuit affirmed as to non-enablement and held that the patent is also invalid for lack of written description. Although the level of skill in the art is high, the patent does not provide enough meaningful guidance or working examples, across the full scope of the claim, to allow a person of ordinary skill in the art to determine which nucleosides would be effective against HCV without extensive screening. The immense breadth of screening required amounts to "undue experimentation." Given the conspicuous absence of that compound, a person of ordinary skill in the art would not “visualize or recognize the members of the genus” as including 2'-fluoro-down, and the specification could not demonstrate that the inventor had possession of that embodiment at the time of filing. View "Idenix Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Gilead Sciences Inc." on Justia Law