Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

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Blackbird’s 747 patent is directed to energy-efficient lighting apparatuses. One embodiment discloses retrofitting an existing light fixture with a more energy efficient lighting apparatus. The district court entered a judgment of noninfringement of the patent based on its construction of “attachment surface.” The Federal Circuit vacated, holding that the district court erred in construing “attachment surface” to be secured to the ballast cover. By its plain language, claim 12 does not require the attachment surface to be secured to the ballast cover. Claim 12 expressly recites a fastening mechanism for securing the attachment surface to the illumination surface. It does not refer to any other fastening mechanism. It does not require the attachment surface be secured to anything other than the illumination surface. View "Blackbird Tech LLC v. ELB Electronics, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Jazz patents relate to a drug distribution system for tracking prescriptions of a “sensitive drug.” “A sensitive drug is one which can be abused, or has addiction properties or other properties that render the drug sensitive.” One such sensitive drug is Xyrem®. Jazz exclusively markets Xyrem®, which the FDA has approved to treat symptoms associated with narcolepsy. The active ingredient in Xyrem®, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), may also be illicitly used as a “date-rape drug.” Under the Controlled Substances Act any approved drug product containing GHB is classified as a Schedule III depressant, so the FDA approved Xyrem® under “restricted distribution regulations contained in [21 C.F.R. 314.500] (Subpart H) to assure safe use of the product.” On inter partes review, the Patent Board found certain claims invalid as obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding a conclusion that implementing prior art, consisting of background materials and the meeting minutes, transcript, and slides on the FDA website, on multiple computers “would have been a predictable use of a known distributed data system according to its established function.” View "Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC" on Justia Law

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Endo holds the approved New Drug Application for Aveed®, a testosterone undecanoate intramuscular injection. Bayer owns the 640 and 395 patents listed in the Orange Book for Aveed®. Custopharm’s predecessor submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to the FDA for approval to produce and market a generic version of Aveed® and made a Paragraph IV certification and gave notice of the certification to Endo and Bayer in October 2014. Endo and Bayer brought an action alleging infringement of the 640 and 395 patents. Custopharm stipulated to infringement; Endo and Bayer limited their asserted claims to claim 2 of the 640 patent and claim 18 of the 395 patent. After a bench trial on invalidity, the district court concluded that Custopharm had not proven that the claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Custopharm failed to meet its burden of showing that a skilled artisan would combine a lowered dose with the injection schedule in the manner claimed. View "Endo Pharmaceuticals Solutions, Inc. v. Custopharm Inc." on Justia Law

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Tre Milano challenged the validity of claims 1–5 and 11, and did not challenge the validity of claims 6–10 and 12–15 of the 118 Patent, which covers a device that automates the curling of hair. A strand of hair is fed into a chamber of the device, the hair is wound around a rotating curling member in the chamber, the wound hair is heated to preserve the curl, and the curled hair slides off the curling member and exits the chamber so that the curvature of the curls created by the device can be substantially maintained. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted Inter partes review of all of the claims that were challenged. The Federal Circuit concluded that the Board erred in its finding of anticipation by erroneously construing two claim terms: “the length of hair can pass through the secondary opening” and “free end,” broadening the claims beyond the description in the 118 Patent specification. On the correct claim construction, the claims are not anticipated by prior art, 35 U.S.C. 102(b). View "TF3 Ltd. v. Tre Milano, LLC" on Justia Law

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Raytheon produces infrared imaging equipment, including infrared cameras, which enable people to see in the dark and through obstructions such as smoke. Indigo’s founders included three former Raytheon employees. By 2000, Indigo was manufacturing and selling infrared cameras. In 2007, Raytheon sued, alleging patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation under California and Texas law. The district court granted Indigo summary judgment, finding Raytheon’s trade secrets claims time-barred. The parties settled Raytheon’s patent claims. The Federal Circuit reversed, reasoning that there were factual questions regarding when Raytheon should have become aware of its misappropriation cause of action and vacated the denial of Indigo’s motion for attorney fees under the under the Texas Theft Liability Act (TTLA). On remand, a jury ruled in Indigo’s favor on all 31 alleged trade secrets. Raytheon unsuccessfully moved for judgment as a matter of law, contending that it had conclusively established misappropriation of two trade secrets. Indigo moved for attorney fees under the TTLA arguing Raytheon had withdrawn its TTLA claim to avoid an adverse ruling that California law, rather than Texas law, governed Raytheon’s misappropriation claims. Denying Indigo’s motion, the district court observed that Raytheon’s continued pursuit of its misappropriation claims under California law established that Raytheon’s withdrawal of its TTLA claim was not motivated by a desire to avoid an unfavorable ruling. The Federal Circuit affirmed both the judgment of no liability in favor of Indigo and the denial of attorney fees. View "Raytheon Co. v. Indigo Systems Corp." on Justia Law

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Polara entered the accessible pedestrian signal systems (APS market) with an eight-wire system, the Navigator. Because many intersections only have two wires, installation of eight-wire systems could be difficult and labor-intensive. In 2000-2001, Polara engineers began designing a two-wire version of the Navigator, which led to the 476 patent, relating to a two-wire control system for push-button crosswalk stations for a traffic-light-controlled intersection with visual, audible, and tactile accessible signals. The patent discloses using “existing underground wire pairs to transmit power and data signals in order to generate the accessible signal functions for both sighted and visually impaired pedestrians.” Polara filed the application in August 2004. In September 2003, Polara began selling the Navigator-2, a two-wire APS system. In Polara’s infringement suit, the Federal Circuit rejected claims of invalidity and no willful infringement, based on prior public use and prior art, 35 U.S.C. 282. The court vacated an enhanced damages award and remanded for a more complete explanation, including a discussion of the public use defense, for the court’s exercise of its discretion, 35 U.S.C. 284. View "Polara Engineering Inc. v. Campbell Co." on Justia Law

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The parties manufacture power supply controller chips--integrated circuits used in power supplies, such as chargers that transform AC electricity from an outlet into DC electricity, to power electronic devices. A switching regulator directs the transistor in the circuit when to turn on and off, to provide the desired amount of power. Power’s patents cover switching regulators. Prior-art regulators were inefficient during low power periods, creating loud noise and delivering power in an intermittent fashion. Power’s 079 patent addressed this problem by reducing the frequency of on/off cycles rather than by skipping cycles altogether, using feedback signals. Power’s 908 patent covers a power supply controller--an integrated circuit that can perform a variety of power-regulation functions. A jury found Fairchild literally infringed claims of the 079 patent and infringed two claims of the 908 patent under the doctrine of equivalents. Another jury awarded damages of roughly $140 million, finding that the entire market value rule applied in calculating damages for infringement of the 079 patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed judgments of infringement but vacated the award, concluding that the entire market value rule cannot be used to calculate damages. Power did not show that the patented feature was the sole driver of consumer demand, i.e., that it alone motivated consumers to buy the accused products. View "Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc." on Justia Law

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Adidas sought inter partes review of Nike's 598 and 749 patents, arguing (ground 1) that each challenged claim would have been obvious based on the Reed and Nishida references and (ground 2) that each claim would have been obvious based on the Castello, Fujiwara, and Nishida references. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted inter partes review and held that Adidas had not met its burden of demonstrating any of the claims would have been obvious based on ground 1 without addressing the merits of ground 2 or suggesting that its conclusions as to ground 1 would be dispositive as to ground 2. After the Supreme Court issued its 2018 "SAS" decision, Adidas sought remand, arguing that SAS requires that the Board institute on all grounds raised in the Petition. The Patent Office recently issued public guidance indicating that, in light of SAS, if a trial is instituted, the Board will institute review on all challenges raised in the petitions. The Federal Circuit ordered a remand, quoting the Court: “the petitioner’s contentions, not the Director’s discretion, define the scope of the litigation all the way from institution through to conclusion.” View "Adidas AG v. Nike, Inc." on Justia Law

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Triptans are selective serotonin receptor agonists, developed in the 1980s. When Zolmitriptan became available in the U.S. in oral tablet form in 1999 under the name Zomig® it was among several triptans on the market or under development. AstraZeneca owns the 237 and 767 patents, which relate to formulations of zolmitriptan for intranasal administration, and the New Drug Application for Zomig® (zolmitriptan) Nasal Spray, approved by the FDA for treatment of migraines. The patents are listed in connection with Zomig® Nasal Spray in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (Orange Book). In 2012, AstraZeneca and Impax entered into an agreement, granting Impax an exclusive license to AstraZeneca’s patents covering the Zomig® products, for the payment of $130 million and additional payments at varying royalty rates. In 2014, Lannett notified AstraZeneca that it had filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application, seeking approval for a generic version of Zomig® Nasal Spray, with a Paragraph IV certification (21 U.S.C. 355(j)(2)(A)(vii)(IV)), alleging noninfringement or invalidity of the 237 and 767 patents. In the subsequent infringement suit, 35 U.S.C. 271(e)(2)(A), the district court issued its claim construction opinion, the parties stipulated to infringement, and the court held that Lannett failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims were invalid or would have been obvious over prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the entry of an injunction. View "Impax Laboratories Inc. v. Lannett Holdings Inc." on Justia Law

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Royal Crown (RC) and The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) compete in the beverage market. Both companies and others distribute beverages that use ZERO as an element of their marks. When RC sought trademark protection for DIET RITE PURE ZERO and PURE ZERO, it disclaimed the term ZERO apart from the marks as a whole. TCCC has used ZERO as an element in its marks for at least 12 different beverage products sold in the U.S. The Patent and Trademark Office requested that TCCC disclaim the term “zero” because the term merely “describes a feature of the applicant’s goods, namely, calorie or carbohydrate content of the goods.” TCCC responded that the term had acquired distinctiveness under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(f). The PTO accepted TCCC’s Section 2(f) submissions and approved the marks for publication without requiring disclaimers. The Board concluded that RC failed to demonstrate that ZERO is generic for the genus of goods identified in TCC's applications; that survey evidence indicated that TCCC’s ZERO marks had acquired distinctiveness; and that TCCC’s use of ZERO in connection with soft drinks was substantially exclusive, given the “magnitude of TCCC’s use.” The Board dismissed RC’s oppositions. The Federal Circuit vacated. The Board erred in its legal framing of the question of the claimed genericness of TCCC’s marks, and failed to determine whether, if not generic, the marks were at least highly descriptive. View "Royal Crown Co., Inc.. v. The Coca-Cola Co." on Justia Law