by Dennis Crouch
President Obama has announced his nomination of Merrick Garland to become the next Supreme Court Justice. Garland is Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and would bring tremendous intellectual firepower to the Court and is clearly more moderate many potential nominees. All indications indicate that President Obama is correct in his appraisal of Garland as “widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.” That said, there is little chance that Garland will be confirmed except perhaps after the election (assuming that a Democratic contender wins).
Samsung’s design patent case is looking like a strong contender for grant of certiorari. The court will again consider the case this week. We continue to await the views of the solicitor general in Life Tech v. Promega (whether an entity can “induce itself” under 271(f)(1)) (CVSG requested in October 2015).
The key new petition this fortnight is Versata v. SAP. Versata raises four questions stemming from the USPTO’s covered business method (CBM) review of its “hierarchical pricing engine” patents.
- Whether the phrase “covered business method patent”—and “financial product or service”—encompasses any patent claim that is “incidental to” or “complementary to a financial activity and relates to monetary matters.”
- Whether the Federal Circuit’s standard for identifying patents falling within the “technological inventions” exception departs from statutory text by looking to whether the patent is valid, as opposed to whether it is “technological.”
- Whether a software-related invention that improves the performance of computer operations is patent eligible subject matter.
- Whether, as this Court will decide in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, No. 15-446, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board should give claim terms their broadest reasonable construction in post-grant adjudicatory proceedings, or should instead give them their best construction.
Jeff Lamkin and his MoloLamkin team filed the brief. [Versata Cert Petition]. SAP is on the hook for a $300+ million verdict if Versata is able to win this appeal.
The second new case is Tas v. Beach (written description requirement for new drug treatments). Tas is a Turkish researcher representing himself pro se in the interference case against Johns Hopkins. Interesting issues, but the case has no chance. No cases have been dismissed or denied.
I pulled up MPHJ’s response to Vermont’s petition (filed by Bryan Farney). The opening paragraph spells out the case:
This “groundbreaking” case, as Petitioner describes it, has been going on, unjustifiably and unconstitutionally, for nearly three years now – all because Petitioner has refused to admit or accept that its state law claims against MPHJ are preempted by federal law, barred by the First Amendment “right to petition” clause, and that Congress has decided that federal preemption questions involving the patent laws must be decided by the federal court system.
1. Petitions Granted:
- Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., No. 14-1513 (enhanced damages) (February 23 Oral Arguments linked with Stryker)
- Stryker Corporation, et al. v. Zimmer, Inc., 14-1520 (enhanced damages) (linked to Halo)
- Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Michelle K. Lee, No. 15-446 (BRI construction in IPRs; institution decisions unreviewable)
2. Petitions Granted with immediate Vacatur and Remand (GVR)
- Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA, Inc., et al. v. NuVasive, Inc., No. 15-85 (Commil re-hash – mens rea requirement for inducement)
3. Petitions for Writ of Certiorari Pending:
- Infringement by Joint Enterprise: Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 15-993 (can a defendant be held liable for the collective performance of method steps by multiple independent parties?)
- Post Grant Admin: Versata v. SAP, No. 15-1145 (scope of CBM review)
- Post Grant Admin: Cooper v. Lee, No. 15-955 (whether IPRs violate Separation of Powers; two amici now filed in support).
- Post Grant Admin: Click-to-Call Tech, LP v. Oracale Corp., No. 15-1014 (Same questions as Cuozzo and now-dismissed Achates v. Apple)
- Post Grant Admin: GEA Process Engineering, Inc. v. Steuben Foods, Inc., No. 15-1075 (Flip-side of Cuozzo: Can there be no appeal when the PTAB exceeds its authority by terminating an instituted IPR proceeding?)
- Post Grant Admin: Interval Licensing LLC v. Michelle K. Lee, No. 15-716 (Can the Patent and Trademark Office appropriately apply the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard in construing patent claims in post-grant validity challenges?)
- Laches: Medinol Ltd. v. Cordis Corporation, et al., No. 15-998
- Laches: SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag, et al. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et al., No. 15-927 (three amici filed in support)
- Biologics Notice of Commercial Marketing: Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc., et al., No. 15-1039 (Does the notice requirement of the BPCIA create an effective six-month exclusivity post-FDA approval?)
- Design Patents: Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., No 15-777 (design patent scope and damages calculation)
- Design Patents: Systems, Inc. v. Nordock, Inc., No. 15-978 (design patent damage calculations – similar issues as Samsung v. Apple). 
- Inducement: Life Technologies Corporation, et al. v. Promega Corporation, No. 14-1538 (whether an entity can “induce itself” under 271(f)(1))(CVSG, awaiting government brief)
- Preclusion or Jurisdiction: BriarTek IP, Inc. v. DeLorme Publishing Company, Inc., et al., No. 15-1025 (Preclusive impact of ITC consent judgment).
- Preclusion or Jurisdiction: Vermont v. MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC, No. 15-838 (Federal court jurisdiction in anti-troll consumer protection case)
- Preclusion or Jurisdiction: Biogen MA, Inc. v. Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, et al., No. 15-607 (Whether AIA eliminated federal district courts’ jurisdiction over patent interference actions under 35 U.S.C. § 146.)
- Eligibility Challenges: Retirement Capital Access Management Company, LLC v. U.S. Bancorp, et al., No. 15-591 (Whether subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 is a ground specified as a condition for patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 282(b)(2))
- Eligibility Challenges: Hemopet v. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., No. 15-1062 (natural phenom case of tailoring a diet to a pet’s genomic characteristics)
- Eligibility Challenges: Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., No. 15-974 (defining an abstract idea)
- Patent Term Adjustment Dispute: Daiichi Sankyo Company, Ltd. v. Michelle K. Lee, No. 15-652 (Patent Term Adjustment – whether the 180 day deadline applies; could bleed into admin law issues)
- Damages: Innovention Toys, LLC v. MGA Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 15-635 (Stryker/Halo follow-on – potential wait-and-see)
- Damages: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corporation, No. 15-1085 (consequential lost-profit damages for infringement under Section 271(f))
- Jury Role: Parkervision, Inc. v. Qualcomm Incorporated, No. 15-1092 (“Whether and under what circumstances an inconsistency in expert testimony permits a court to set aside a jury verdict and grant the losing party judgment as a matter of law.”)
- Written Description: Tas v. Beach, No. 15-1089 (written description requirement for new drug treatments).
- Low Quality Brief: Morales v. Square, No. 15-896 (eligibility under Alice)
4. Petitions for Writ of Certiorari Denied or Dismissed:
- ePlus, Inc. v. Lawson Software, Inc., No. 15-639 (what happens with a finally-determined permanent injunction after PTO cancels the patent claim?)
- Media Rights Technologies, Inc. v. Capital One Financial Corporation, et al., No. 15-725 (Claim Construction: whether there a strong presumption against construing terms as subject to 35 U.S.C. § 112p6 that do not recite the term “means.”)
- Alexsam, Inc. v. The Gap, Inc., No. 15-736 (appellate jurisdiction over patents that were dropped from case pre-trial)
- Universal Lighting Technologies, Inc., v. Lighting Ballast Control LLC, No. 15-893 (intrinsic vs extrinsic evidence for claim construction).
- STC, Inc. v. Global Traffic Technologies, No. 15-592 (Whether marking the packaging of a patented article with patent notification satisfies the marking provision of 35 U.S.C. § 287(a) where the patented article itself is undisputedly capable of being marked.)
- Achates Reference Publishing, Inc. v. Apple Inc., et al., No. 15-842 (IPR institution decisions unreviewable, even when addressed in a final written decision by PTAB) [Note – This case was dismissed after being settled by the parties]
- Alps South, LLC v. The Ohio Willow Wood Company, No. 15-567
- Allvoice Developments US, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., No. 15-538
- OIP Technologies, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 15-642
- Fivetech Technology Inc. v. Southco, Inc., No. 15-381
- Tyco Healthcare Group LP, et al. v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., No. 15-115
- Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., No. 15-561
- Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd., et al. v. Eidos Display, LLC, et al., No. 15-288
- Kenneth Butler, Sr. v. Balkamp Inc., et al., No. 15-273
- Arthrex, Inc. v. KFx Medical Corporation, No. 15-291
- Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., et al., No. 15-559 (Commil re-hash – if actions were “not objectively unreasonable” can they constitute inducement?)
- Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., et al. v. Apotex Inc., No. 15-281
- Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Apotex Inc., No. 15-307
- Luv N’ Care, Ltd. v. Munchkin, Inc., No. 15-242
- Automated Merchandising Systems, Inc. v. Michelle K. Lee, Director, United States Patent and Trademark Office, No. 15-326
- I/P Engine, Inc. v. AOL Inc., et al., No. 14-1358
- Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL Inc., et al., No. 14-1362
- Content Extraction and Transmission LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, et al., No. 14-1473
- L. Gore & Associates, Inc. v. Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., et al., No. 15-41
- NetAirus Technologies, LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 14-1353
- Muffin Faye Anderson v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, No. 14-10337
- MobileMedia Ideas LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 15-206
- SpeedTrack, Inc. v. Office Depot, Inc. et al., No. 15-461 (Kessler doctrine)
- Rodney K. Morgan, et al. v. Global Traffic Technologies LLC, No. 15-602
- Lakshmi Arunachalam v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., No. 15-691
5. Prior versions of this report: