by Dennis Crouch
The Supreme Court will begin granting and denying petitions in early October. Meanwhile, several new petitions are now on file. Last week I wrote about the TC Heartland case as a mechanism for limiting venue. Without any good reason, the Federal Circuit overruled a 1957 Supreme Court case that had strictly limited patent venue as spelled out in the patent venue statute 1400(b). See VE Holdings (explaining its overruling of Fourco Glass). A result of VE Holdings is the expansive venue availability that facilitated the rise of E.D. Texas as the most popular patent venue. TC Heartland simply asks the Supreme Court reassert its Fourco holding – something that could almost be done with a one-line opinion: “REVERSED. See Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957).” The best arguments for the Federal Circuit’s approach are (1) the reasoning of Fourco itself is a bit dodgy; and (2) VE Holdings is well settled doctrine (decided 26 years ago) and Congress has revised the statutory provisions several times without amending. As a side note, several members of Congress have suggested they will act legislatively if SCOTUS fails to act.
Two new petitions (Grunenthal v. Teva and Purdue v. Epic) stem from the same Federal Circuit OxyContin case and focus on anticipation and obviousness respectively. Grunenthal v. Teva questions how ‘inherently’ operates for anticipation purposes. Purdue suggests that – despite the final sentence of Section 103, that the actual circumstances of the invention should be available to help prove non-obviousness (but still not be available to prove obviousness). Another new petition includes the BPCIA case Apotex v. Amgen that serves as a complement to the pending Sandoz case questioning the requirements and benefits of providing notice of commercial marketing.
Finally – Encyclopedia Britannica v. Dickstein Shapiro is a patent prosecution malpractice action. The lower court held the lawyers harmless since Alice would have invalidated the patents even if drafted to perfection. The petition asks whether Alice Corp can excuse patent prosecutors from alleged prosecution errors made well prior to that decision.
1. Petitions Granted:
- Briefing: SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, No. 15-927 (laches in patent cases)
- Briefing: Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., No 15-777 (design patent damages calculation)
- Briefing: Life Technologies Corporation, et al. v. Promega Corporation, No. 14-1538 (Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that supplying a single, commodity component of a multi-component invention from the United States is an infringing act under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1), exposing the manufacturer to liability for all worldwide sales.)
2. Petitions awaiting invited Views of SG:
- Exhaustion: Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., No. 15-1189 (unreasonable restraints on downstream uses)
- BPCIA – 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?) (cross-petition asks for recourse on failure to dance)
- Antitrust Reverse Payments: GlaxoSmithKline, et al. v. King Drug Company of Florence, Inc., et al., No. 15-1055 (antitrust reverse payment – appeal from the 3rd Cir.)
3. Petitions for Writ of Certiorari Pending:
- Venue in Patent Cases: TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Brands Group LLC, No 16-341 (Does the general and broad definition of “residence” found in 28 U.S.C. 1391(c) apply to the patent venue statute 1400(b))
- BPCIA – Notice of Commercial Marketing: Apotex Inc., et al. v. Amgen Inc., et al., No. 16-332 (effectively extending exclusivity to 12 1/2 years; complement to the Sandoz petition)
- Anticipation: Grunenthal GmbH v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-296 (OxyContin patent – when is an element ‘inherently’ disclosed by the prior art for anticipation purposes)
- Obviousness: Purdue Pharma L.P. v. Epic Pharma, LLC, 16-289 (whether the circumstances of invention can help prove non-obviousness) (The Purdue and Grunenthal cases stem from the same Federal Circuit decision but involve separate patents owned by the respective petitioners)
- Obviousness: MacDermid Printing Solutions, LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company, No. 15-1499 (is proof of a “reasonable expectation of success” necessary to combine references in an obviousness case against a claimed combination invention)
- Patent Attorney Malpractice: Encyclopaedia Britannica v. Dickstein Shapiro, No. 16-305 (Does the fact that the search-system is no longer patentable under Alice Corp excuse patent prosecutors from alleged prosecution errors made well prior to that decision – the patent).
- Laches: Medinol Ltd. v. Cordis Corporation, et al., No. 15-998 (follow-on to SCA); Endotach LLC v. Cook Medical LLC, No. 16-127 (SCA Redux); Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., et al, No. 16-202 (SCA Redux plus TM issue)
- Safe Harbor: Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al. v. Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 15-1402 (scope of 271(e) safe harbor)
- Post Grant Admin: MCM v. HP, No 15-1330 (separation of powers and right to jury trial).
- Post Grant Admin: Cooper v. Lee, No. 15-955 (whether IPRs violate Separation of Powers; two amici now filed in support); same question presented by Cooper in Cooper v. Square, No. 16-76.
- Post Grant Admin: Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. Lee, No. 15-1516 (mandamus challenging CBM initiation)
- 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: Merck & Cie, et al. v. Gnosis S.p.A., et al., No. 16-125 (standard of appellate review of PTAB fact-finding in IPR proceedings)
- Post Grant Admin: Automated Creel Systems, Inc. v. Shaw Industries Group, Inc., et al., No. 16-108 (Achates redux – review of statute-of-limitations for filing IPR requests)
- Post Grant Admin: Pactiv LLC v. Lee, No. 16-205 (Does the “substantial new question of patentability” identified in a reexamination order limit the scope of the ex parte reexamination)
- Design Patents: Systems, Inc. v. Nordock, Inc., No. 15-978 (design patent damage calculations – similar issues as Samsung v. Apple)
- Appellate Review: Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., No. 15-1446 (appellate disregard of factual evidence)
- Eligibility: Jericho Systems Corporation v. Axiomatics, Inc., et al., No. 15-1502 (Eligibility of Patent No. 8,560,836 under Section 101 – Abstract Idea)[Jericho]
- Eligibility: Genetic Technologies Limited v. Merial L.L.C., et al., No. 16-188 (Sequenom redux; also question whether ineligibility is a proper subject of a motion to dismiss on the pleadings)
- Eligibility: Essociate, Inc. v. Clickbooth.com, LLC, et al., No. 16-195 (please clarify the meaning of ‘abstract idea’ and ‘inventive process’)
- Post Grant Admin: James L. Driessen, et ux. v. Sony Music Entertainment, et al., No. 15-1518 (Claim construction in IPRs – pro se case)
- Interference: Edward Tobinick v. Kjell Olmarker, et al., No. 15-1544 (question of procedure in interference case involving allegations of fraud)
- Arbitration: Neev v. Alcon Lensx, Inc., No. 16-48 (limits on arbitrator autonomy in patent cases)
- ITC Jurisdiction: DBN Holding, Inc. v. International Trade Commission, No. 16-63 (Does the USITC have jurisdiction over articles imported in order to infringe, but that do not themselves practice the invention at import).
- Claim Construction: CSP Technologies, Inc. v. Sud-Chemie AG, No. 16-238 (unduly narrow claim construction)
- Claim Construction: Google, Inc. v. Alfonso Cioffi, No. 16-200 (holding prosecution history against the patentee)
- Jurisdiction: GeoTag, Inc. v. Google Inc., No. 16-268 (Whether a compulsory counterclaim can satisfy the case or controversy requirement under Article III of the Constitution if there was no case or controversy at the time the complaint was filed?)
4. Petitions for Writ of Certiorari Denied or Dismissed:
- None so far this term.
5. Prior versions of this report: