Justia Intellectual Property Opinion Summaries
Malvern Panalytical Inc. v. TA Instruments-Waters LLC
The 549 and 175 patents disclose microcalorimeters, machines that measure the amount of energy absorbed or released during a chemical reaction between two compounds, specifically an isothermal titration calorimeter (ITC). Malvern’s 782 patent is unrelated to those patents. An examiner rejected various claims of the 782 patent (with an automated ITC) as anticipated by the 968 application, disclosing a prior art “manual ITC system.” The examiner understood the 968 application to disclose an automated ITC system but noted that because the 968 application and the 782 patent had a common assignee, the 968 application might not qualify as prior art under pre-America Invents Act, 35 U.S.C. 103(c)(1). The examiner then withdrew the rejection, finding that the 968 application did not count as prior art. After Malvern acquired the 549 and 175 patents, Malvern sought supplemental examination of the 175 patent under 35 U.S.C. 257.Malvern sued Waters for infringing the 549 and 175 patents. The district court construed the term “pipette guiding mechanism” as a “mechanism that manually guides the pipette assembly.” The Federal Circuit vacated. The claim language and the specification indicate that the term is used broadly in the 549 and 175 patents and refers to a mechanism that guides the pipette assembly either manually or automatically. Merely listing the 782 patent office actions in the IDS of the 175 patent supplemental examination was insufficient to inform the meaning of “pipette guiding mechanism” in unrelated patents. View "Malvern Panalytical Inc. v. TA Instruments-Waters LLC" on Justia Law
Netflix, Inc. v. DivX, LLC
Divx’s 720 and 515 patents relate to a method for adaptive bitrate streaming of content on a playback device, such as a mobile phone or personal computer. “Adaptive bit rate streaming involves detecting the present streaming conditions (e.g., the playback device’s network bandwidth and video decoding capacity) in real-time and adjusting the quality of the streamed media accordingly.” On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board held that Netflix did not meet its burden of proving challenged claims in the patents unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. 103.Netflix’s appeal argued that the Board failed to address several arguments purportedly raised in Netflix’s petitions. The Federal Circuit found no error in how the Board understood Netflix’s petition arguments and affirmed. It is the petitioner’s burden to make clear when alternative arguments are being presented and to sufficiently expound on each one. The Board should not have to work as hard as Netflix wants to identify all arguments fairly presented in a petition. View "Netflix, Inc. v. DivX, LLC" on Justia Law
ABS Global, Inc. v. Cytonome/ST, LLC
Cytonome/ST’s 439 patent, titled “Hydrodynamic Focusing Apparatus and Methods,” describes and claims a microfluidic device for use in processing particles of interest contained in a sample fluid. ABS petitioned the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for an inter partes review, 35 U.S.C. 311–19, of the patentability of five claims of the patent. The PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board determined that ABS had not shown any of the challenged claims to be unpatentable.The Federal Circuit reversed in part and vacated in part. The Board erred in its claim construction of a limitation common to all challenged claims: “a fluid focusing region configured to focus the sample stream.” The “sample stream” is not limited to a singular-only sample stream. Under the correct claim construction, at least two claims are invalid as anticipated. View "ABS Global, Inc. v. Cytonome/ST, LLC" on Justia Law
Great Concepts, LLC v. Chutter, Inc.
Great Concepts applied to register “DANTANNA’S” as a mark for a “steak and seafood restaurant.” Its 764 Registration issued in 2005. Chutter’s predecessor-in-interest, Dan Tana, subsequently petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel the Registration, based on an alleged likelihood of confusion with Tana’s common law “DAN TANA” mark for restaurant services. The cancellation proceeding was suspended during a trademark infringement civil suit. In 2009, the district court granted Great Concepts summary judgment; the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. In December 2010, the Board dismissed Tana’s cancellation proceeding. Meanwhile, in March 2010, Great Concepts’ then-attorney, Taylor, filed with the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) a combined declaration of use and declaration of incontestability, under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1058, 1065, declaring “there is no proceeding involving said rights pending and not disposed of either in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or in the courts.” At the time, both the PTO cancellation proceeding and the Eleventh Circuit appeal were pending.In 2015, Chutter successfully petitioned the PTO for cancellation of Great Concepts’ “DANTANNA’S” mark based on Taylor’s 2010 false affidavit. The Federal Circuit reversed. The statute limits the Board’s authority to cancel registration of a mark to circumstances in which the “registration was obtained fraudulently,” but does not authorize cancellation of a registration when the incontestability status of that mark is “obtained fraudulently.” View "Great Concepts, LLC v. Chutter, Inc." on Justia Law
Cyntec Company, Ltd. v. Chilisin Electronics Corp.
Cyntecsued Chilisin, alleging infringement of certain claims of patents directed to molded chokes and a method of manufacturing molded chokes. A choke is a type of inductor used to eliminate undesirable signals in a circuit. Chokes are found in most modern electronics that use batteries or a power supply. Before closing arguments, the district court granted judgment as a matter of law that the asserted claims were not invalid as obvious. The jury then found that Chilisin infringed the asserted claims and awarded the full amount of damages requested by Cyntec.The Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of infringement as supported by substantial evidence, given the court’s construction of the “by means of” limitation and its jury instruction regarding that limitation. The court reversed the judgment of nonobviousness; given the evidence, a reasonable jury could have found the asserted claims obvious in view of prior art. The court vacated the award of lost profits; the expert’s importation calculations, were unreliable and speculative and his lost profits calculation stemmed from those calculations. View "Cyntec Company, Ltd. v. Chilisin Electronics Corp." on Justia Law
Corephotonics, Ltd. v. Apple, Inc.
Corephonics’s Challenged Patents relate to dual-aperture camera systems and disclose techniques for using the images from both lenses when zooming while capturing video. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found claims of the Challenged Patents unpatentable as obvious (35 U.S.C. 103) in inter partes reviews initiated by Apple.The Federal Circuit vacated, finding no procedural error in the Board’s handling of whether two prior references are analogous art. The Board’s handling of the analogous art issue neither markedly departed from the evidence and theories presented by the petition or institution decision nor unfairly surprised” Corephotonics. The Board’s determination that one of the references is analogous art is supported by substantial evidence; the reference is in the same field of endeavor as the Challenged Patents . The court remanded for the Board to explain why the other reference is (or is not) analogous art and how this finding affects its overall conclusion as to obviousness. The Board must decide whether it should consider Apple’s contention that, regardless of whether the reference is pertinent to the problem faced by the inventors, it is in the same field of endeavor as the Challenged Patents. View "Corephotonics, Ltd. v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law
Finjan LLC v. SonicWall, Inc.
Finjan asserted the “Downloadable Patents” and the “ARB Patent,” among others in a patent infringement complaint as to SonicWall’s Gateways, Email Security products, and Capture Advanced Threat Protection, among other products. The Downloadable Patents relate to ways to protect network-connectable devices from undesirable downloadable operations.The district court agreed with SonicWall’s interpretation of the claims, concluding that the recited claim limitations “must be performed by the same computer.” Capture ATP and Gateways and Capture ATP and ES products involve separate, remote computers. The court granted summary judgment of noninfringement. Finjan unsuccessfully argued that there remained a factual dispute as to whether Capture ATP and its Gateway and Capture ATP and its ES products each work together to act as a unified computer system to form the steps as Finjan alleged. The district court excluded the apportionment opinions of Finjan’s technical expert and of Finjan’s damages expert based on that apportionment analysis.The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The district court based its judgment of invalidity on a collateral estoppel decision that has since been vacated. The court affirmed the summary judgment of noninfringement and the exclusion of Finjan’s expert analysis. View "Finjan LLC v. SonicWall, Inc." on Justia Law
Calsep v. Dabral
Seven years ago, A.D. was hired to create a PVT (“pressure volume temperature”) simulation software program. Sah was hired by A.D. to develop a PVT software program in exchange for a stake in one of A.D.’s companies, IPSS. Eight months later, a product called InPVT hit the market. Plaintiff Calsep started looking into InPVT. In Calsep’s assessment, A.D. didn’t have the technical skills or resources to develop a PVT product. Calsep filed another motion to compel, alleging that A.D. still hadn’t adequately disclosed his source code control system. Although A.D. had “produced [a] purported source code system” in April and July, Calsep claimed that these productions were “undoubtedly incomplete” and “had been manipulated.” Believing the deletions to be intentional, Calsep filed a motion for sanctions. Afterward, A.D. filed a motion for reconsideration based on newly discovered forensic images that “vindicated” him. The magistrate judge recommended denying the motion, and the district court agreed, denying the motion for reconsideration of the sanctions order. A.D. appealed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision on A.D.'s motion for reconsideration. The court explained that A.D. cannot offer any reason—other than mere forgetfulness—why he couldn’t acquire the images sooner. Further, A.D. hasn’t shown that he acted with diligence during the case to locate these images. Moreover, the court explained that although A.D. argues that the images change the game, Calsep’s expert insists that too much data is still missing from the source code control system, rendering a proper review impossible. The court noted that there was no reason to question the district court’s judgment crediting Calsep’s expert testimony. View "Calsep v. Dabral" on Justia Law
Schwendimann v. Neenah, Inc.
Schwendimann owns the challenged patents, which relate to transfer sheets and methods for transferring images onto dark-colored fabrics. Multi-layer image transfer sheets for transferring images onto fabrics were well known in the prior art but Schwendimann’s patents claimed a single-step solution whereby the white background was incorporated into the image transfer sheet, allowing the white background and dark image to be applied simultaneously onto the dark fabric.On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found all claims of three patents and multiple claims of the fourth patent unpatentable as obvious in view of prior art. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Substantial evidence supported the Board’s finding that a skilled artisan would be motivated to combine prior art. View "Schwendimann v. Neenah, Inc." on Justia Law
Sisvel International, S.A. v. Sierra Wireless, ULC
Sisvel’s 561 patent relates to methods of channel coding when transmitting data in radio systems. Channel coding is a technique that adds redundant information to a data block, thereby creating a coded data block. To account for problems from noise and interference during data transmission, the redundant data allows a receiver to more accurately detect and correct errors in the transmitted data, but at the cost of requiring more bandwidth and network resource usage. The 561 patent uses techniques called “link adaptation” and “incremental redundancy,” which it asserts improves prior channel coding techniques.On inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found four claims unpatentable but upheld five other claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed the findings of unpatentability. Prior art (Chen) does disclose a second puncturing pattern for transmission of selected code symbols and the Board provided a sufficiently detailed explanation to support its finding that Chen discloses the “combining” limitation. The Board acknowledged Sisvel’s argument that Chen includes a statement that “retransmitted packets are interleaved (not combined).” The court vacated in part, with respect to the claims that were upheld. View "Sisvel International, S.A. v. Sierra Wireless, ULC" on Justia Law