Patent – Patently-O https://patentlyo.com America's leading patent law blog Sun, 13 Jun 2021 17:40:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.18 McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP https://patentlyo.com/media/2014/01/mbhb-3b.gif https://www.mbhb.com/ 480 150 Intellectual Property Law 101: Extending Uncertainty to All Fields https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/extending-uncertainty-fields.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/extending-uncertainty-fields.html#comments Fri, 11 Jun 2021 14:37:53 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32924 101: Extending Uncertainty to All Fields

by Dennis Crouch

It appears that we have not yet seen the most invasive nature of contemporary patent eligibility doctrine.  Case in point: Yu v. Apple Inc. (Fed. Cir. June 11, 2021) [Yu vs Apple].

Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang are the inventors and owners of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289 (‘Digital cameras using multiple sensors with multiple lenses’).  The pair sued Apple and Samsung for patent infringement, but the district court dismissed the cases for failure-to-state-a-claim.  In particular, the court found the claims directed toward an abstract idea and thus invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit issued a 2-1 decision affirming with Judge Prost and Taranto in the majority and Judge Newman in dissent.

The asserted claims are directed to a digital camera having multiple analog image sensors with lenses mounted on the image sensors. The claims also include analog-to-digital circuitry to digitize images from each camera so that they can be stored in memory. The claims then require creation of a “resultant digital image” based upon images from the two different cameras.  Note, the patent application was filed back in 1999; issued in 2003; and has now expired.

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101: Extending Uncertainty to All Fields

by Dennis Crouch

It appears that we have not yet seen the most invasive nature of contemporary patent eligibility doctrine.  Case in point: Yu v. Apple Inc. (Fed. Cir. June 11, 2021) [Yu vs Apple].

Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang are the inventors and owners of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289 (‘Digital cameras using multiple sensors with multiple lenses’).  The pair sued Apple and Samsung for patent infringement, but the district court dismissed the cases for failure-to-state-a-claim.  In particular, the court found the claims directed toward an abstract idea and thus invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit issued a 2-1 decision affirming with Judge Prost and Taranto in the majority and Judge Newman in dissent.

The asserted claims are directed to a digital camera having multiple analog image sensors with lenses mounted on the image sensors. The claims also include analog-to-digital circuitry to digitize images from each camera so that they can be stored in memory. The claims then require creation of a “resultant digital image” based upon images from the two different cameras.  Note, the patent application was filed back in 1999; issued in 2003; and has now expired.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed that the claims at issue are merely directed to the following abstract idea:

“claim 1 is directed to the abstract idea of taking two pictures (which may be at different exposures) and using one picture to enhance the other in some way.”

The problem, according to the majority, is that claims “merely invoke generic processes and machinery.” (Quoting Smart Sys.) In some ways, the patent’s specification also suggests an abstraction — especially the following line: “there is a great need for a generic solution that makes digital cameras capable of producing high resolution images without enormously incurring the cost of photo-sensitive chips with multimillion photocells.”  ‘289 Patent.  But, I would suggest reading the specification for an understanding that this is a technological solution.

The appellate panel suggests that the specification probably does include a patent eligible invention in the form of “a four-lens, four-image-sensor [including] a black-and-white sensor.”  But, the claims at issue do not require four sensors or the B/W sensor.

In dissent, Judge Newman explains:

This camera is a mechanical and electronic device of defined structure and mechanism; it is not an ‘abstract idea.’ . . . [C]laim 1 is for a digital camera having a designated structure and mechanism that perform specified functions; claim 1 is not for the general idea of enhancing camera images. The camera of the ’289 patent may or may not ultimately satisfy all the substantive requirements of patentability, for this is an active field of technology. However, that does not convert a mechanical/electronic device into an abstract idea.

Slip Op.  Newman’s dissent also walks into the bigger picture of Section 101 jurisprudence:

In the current state of Section 101 jurisprudence, inconsistency and unpredictability of adjudication have destabilized technologic development in important fields of commerce. Although today’s Section 101 uncertainties have arisen primarily in the biological and computer-implemented technologies, all fields are affected. The case before us enlarges this instability in all fields, for the court holds that the question of whether the components of a new device are well-known and conventional affects Section 101 eligibility, without reaching the patentability criteria of novelty and nonobviousness.

The digital camera described and claimed in the ’289 patent is a mechanical/electronic device that easily fits the standard subject matter eligibility criteria. Neither the panel majority nor the district court decided patentability under Section 102 or Section 103, having eliminated the claims under Section 101. The ’289 claims warrant review under the substantive criteria of patentability—a review that they have never received.

The fresh uncertainties engendered by the majority’s revision of Section 101 are contrary to the statute and the weight of precedent, and contrary to the public’s interest in a stable and effective patent incentive.

= = = = =

1. An improved digital camera comprising:

a first and a second image sensor closely positioned with respect to a common plane, said second image sensor sensitive to a full region of visible color spectrum;

two lenses, each being mounted in front of one of said two image sensors;

said first image sensor producing a first image and said second image sensor producing a second image;

an analog-to-digital converting circuitry coupled to said first and said second image sensor and digitizing said first and said second intensity images to produce correspondingly a first digital image and a second digital image;

an image memory, coupled to said analog-to-digital converting circuitry, for storing said first digital image and said second digital image; and

a digital image processor, coupled to said image memory and receiving said first digital image and said second digital image, producing a resultant digital image from said first digital image enhanced with said second digital image.

2. The improved digital camera as recited in claim 1, wherein said first image sensor sensitive to said full region of visible color spectrum.

4. The improved digital camera as recited in claim 1, wherein said analog-to-digital converting circuitry comprises two individual analog-to-digital converters, each integrated with one of said first and second image sensors so that said first and second digital images are digitized independently and in parallel to increase signal throughput rate.

 

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Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/journal-trademark-society.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/journal-trademark-society.html#comments Fri, 11 Jun 2021 13:13:47 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32917 Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society

The Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society has been publishing intellectual property scholarship for 100+ years (since 1918).  Originally it was the Journal of the Patent Office Society, the journal changed its name in 1985 to expressly include trademarks.  The US Patent & Trademark Office (formerly the US Patent Office) had changed its name in 1975.

The first issue included an two articles and several notes:

  • Wm. I. Wyman, Thomas Jefferson and the Patent System, 1 J. Pat. Off. Soc’y 5 (1918).
  • F.W.H. Clay, The relation of the examiner to the inventor and his attorney, 1 J.
    Pat. Off. Soc’y 8 (1918).

Three of my favorite articles in the journal are all historical pieces by Edward Walterscheid.

  • Edward C. Walterscheid, The Early Evolution of the United States Patent Law: Antecedents (Part 1), 76 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 697 (1994).
  • Edward C. Walterscheid, The Early Evolution of the United States Patent Law: Antecedents (Part 2), 76 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 849 (1994).

Continue reading Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society at Patently-O.

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The Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society has been publishing intellectual property scholarship for 100+ years (since 1918).  Originally it was the Journal of the Patent Office Society, the journal changed its name in 1985 to expressly include trademarks.  The US Patent & Trademark Office (formerly the US Patent Office) had changed its name in 1975.

The first issue included an two articles and several notes:

  • Wm. I. Wyman, Thomas Jefferson and the Patent System, 1 J. Pat. Off. Soc’y 5 (1918).
  • F.W.H. Clay, The relation of the examiner to the inventor and his attorney, 1 J.
    Pat. Off. Soc’y 8 (1918).

Three of my favorite articles in the journal are all historical pieces by Edward Walterscheid.

  • Edward C. Walterscheid, The Early Evolution of the United States Patent Law: Antecedents (Part 1), 76 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 697 (1994).
  • Edward C. Walterscheid, The Early Evolution of the United States Patent Law: Antecedents (Part 2), 76 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 849 (1994).
  • Edward C. Walterscheid, Patents and Manufacturing in the Early Republic, 80 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 855 (1998).

Some of you may have known Edward, who died in 2011.

Here’s what I’m writing to announce: JPTOS was in a publishing hiatus over the past year, but is now back and ready to accept article submissions:

JPTOS is a publication written by and for the benefit of IP practitioners. We favor topical, practical articles that can be useful to our readers. There is no page length limit, however, articles greater than 40 double spaced pages may have to be split into separate articles.

We take article submissions pertaining to all areas of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, hybrids between all those forms, etc., as well as cutting-edge law & technology issues that may intersect intellectual property topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D-printing, privacy/surveillance law, social media, bioengineering, pharmaceuticals, COVID vaccine patents or patent policies, the pandemic’s impact on IP laws/practice and much more. If you are a practitioner/lawyer, judge, law professor, law student, writer or anyone having an interest in the above areas, please submit by clicking the “Submit Manuscript” button above today!

Submit your articles here: https://jptos.scholasticahq.com.

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Involving Patent Issues vs. Arising Under the Patent Laws https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/involving-patent-arising.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/involving-patent-arising.html#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:38:56 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32912 Federal Circuit sends Walker-Process* Antitrust Litigation to Fifth Circuit. The case arose under antitrust law, not patent law. Chandler v. Phoenix (2021).

* antitrust claim based upon enforcement of patent procured by fraud. 382 U.S. 172 (1965).https://t.co/X2C2cxkrWM pic.twitter.com/AJElMcZhjS

— Dennis Crouch (@patentlyo) June 10, 2021

Google v. Oracle was appealed to the Federal Circuit because the case included patent claims (that were not appealed). The patent claims went to trial and Oracle lost.

Q: Still a patent case if the patent claims had been dismissed on 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim?

— Dennis Crouch (@patentlyo) June 10, 2021

 

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Federal Circuit sends Walker-Process* Antitrust Litigation to Fifth Circuit. The case arose under antitrust law, not patent law. Chandler v. Phoenix (2021).

* antitrust claim based upon enforcement of patent procured by fraud. 382 U.S. 172 (1965).https://t.co/X2C2cxkrWM pic.twitter.com/AJElMcZhjS

— Dennis Crouch (@patentlyo) June 10, 2021

 

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Patent Law – Patently Obvious https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/patent-law.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/patent-law.html#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2021 13:01:15 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32909 Patent Law – Patently Obvious

We all might be working too hard. Patent law is supposed to be easy.  See Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019) (defining “patent ” to mean obvious or apparent).

Continue reading Patent Law – Patently Obvious at Patently-O.

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We all might be working too hard. Patent law is supposed to be easy.  See Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019) (defining “patent ” to mean obvious or apparent).

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Joint Ownership and Trademark Registration https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/ownership-trademark-registration.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/ownership-trademark-registration.html#comments Wed, 09 Jun 2021 15:20:07 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32902 Joint Ownership and Trademark Registration

Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri v. Yogi Bhajan Administrative Trust (Fed. Cir. 2021)

I practice a form kundalini yoga that is somewhat in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan.  Bhajan died in 2004 leaving his widow (Puri) as well as an Administrative Trust (YBAT). In recent years, Bhajan’s history of sexual abuse has come to light as well.

Puri and YBAT have a fairly long history of litigation over ownership and control of Bhajan’s estate.  The most valuable aspect today is probably YOGI TEA that is sold by a third party, the East West Tea Company, but with Puri and YBAT each having a 50% undivided ownership of intellectual property rights.

The dispute at issue here started when Puri, acting alone, filed a trademark registration application for the mark YOGI for bath and beauty products. YBAT opposed, and the PTAB sided with YBAT — holding that:

[Puri] did not have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce solely in her individual capacity at the time she filed her involved because, at such time, [Puri] was aware that both [YBAT] and [Puri] each had an undivided and equal interest in the applied-for mark for the identified goods.

Continue reading Joint Ownership and Trademark Registration at Patently-O.

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Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri v. Yogi Bhajan Administrative Trust (Fed. Cir. 2021)

I practice a form kundalini yoga that is somewhat in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan.  Bhajan died in 2004 leaving his widow (Puri) as well as an Administrative Trust (YBAT). In recent years, Bhajan’s history of sexual abuse has come to light as well.

Puri and YBAT have a fairly long history of litigation over ownership and control of Bhajan’s estate.  The most valuable aspect today is probably YOGI TEA that is sold by a third party, the East West Tea Company, but with Puri and YBAT each having a 50% undivided ownership of intellectual property rights.

The dispute at issue here started when Puri, acting alone, filed a trademark registration application for the mark YOGI for bath and beauty products. YBAT opposed, and the PTAB sided with YBAT — holding that:

[Puri] did not have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce solely in her individual capacity at the time she filed her involved because, at such time, [Puri] was aware that both [YBAT] and [Puri] each had an undivided and equal interest in the applied-for mark for the identified goods. Accordingly, we find that the involved application is void ab initio.

[TTAB Decision – OPP_47].  On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed, finding the Board’s legal conclusions “without error” and its factual findings supported by substantial evidence.

The basic legal rule here is that all owners of a trademark must at least consent to the filing of a use-based trademark application.  Without consent, “the application
is void ab initio.”  For this point, the TTAB cites to Kristin Marie Conolty d/b/a Fairway Fox Golf v. Conolty O’Connor NYC LLC, 111 USPQ2d 1302, 1310 (TTAB 2014) (“the involved application is void ab initio because applicant is not the sole owner of the mark”).

This basic rule is derived from the statute 15 U.S.C. § 1051(a), which requires the trademark owner be the one who files for registration. The statute goes on to require a statement from the owner that “no other person has the right to use such mark..” 15 U.S.C. § 1051(a)(3)(D).   Here, although Puri as an owner of the mark, YBAT is also an owner with its own rights.  

Affirmed.

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Changes to the Rules of Ethics for Patent Law Practitioners https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/changes-ethics-practitioners.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/changes-ethics-practitioners.html#comments Tue, 08 Jun 2021 21:05:35 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32886 Changes to the Rules of Ethics for Patent Law Practitioners

by Dennis Crouch

The professional conduct of US patent attorneys and agents are governed by the rules regarding “Representation of Others before the United States Patent and Trademark Office” found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37, Part 11. 37 CFR 11.1 – 11.901.  Patent attorneys are also regulated by the rules of professional conduct of their home states.  Although there are some patent specific differences, the USPTO has been shifting its rules to be more in line with the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct that have been adopted, at least in part, by all fifty states.

In 2020, the USPTO proposed a number of changes to its rules to better align them with the ABA Model Rules.  Recently, the agency finalized those proposals (with minor changes) to be effective June 25, 2021.

Federal Register Notice [PDF]

Key changes:

  • Section 11.106(b)(7): New provision permits the disclosure of client information “to the extent the practitioner reasonably believes necessary . . . (7) To detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from the practitioner’s change of employment or from changes in the composition or ownership of a firm, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the practitioner-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client.”
  • Section 11.106(d): New provision that practitioners “shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
  • Section 11.118: The amendment here focuses on prospective clients, and changes the rule from someone who “discusses” becoming a client to someone who “consults” with the practitioner about the possibility of forming a client-practitioner relationship.

Continue reading Changes to the Rules of Ethics for Patent Law Practitioners at Patently-O.

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by Dennis Crouch

The professional conduct of US patent attorneys and agents are governed by the rules regarding “Representation of Others before the United States Patent and Trademark Office” found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37, Part 11. 37 CFR 11.1 – 11.901.  Patent attorneys are also regulated by the rules of professional conduct of their home states.  Although there are some patent specific differences, the USPTO has been shifting its rules to be more in line with the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct that have been adopted, at least in part, by all fifty states.

In 2020, the USPTO proposed a number of changes to its rules to better align them with the ABA Model Rules.  Recently, the agency finalized those proposals (with minor changes) to be effective June 25, 2021.

Federal Register Notice [PDF]

Key changes:

  • Section 11.106(b)(7): New provision permits the disclosure of client information “to the extent the practitioner reasonably believes necessary . . . (7) To detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from the practitioner’s change of employment or from changes in the composition or ownership of a firm, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the practitioner-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client.”
  • Section 11.106(d): New provision that practitioners “shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
  • Section 11.118: The amendment here focuses on prospective clients, and changes the rule from someone who “discusses” becoming a client to someone who “consults” with the practitioner about the possibility of forming a client-practitioner relationship. This is generally thought to narrow the definition.

  • Section 11.702:  This provision focuses on attorney advertising. The changes conform more closely with the new ABA rules.  I’ve compared the old and new below.  The main changes here:
    • Advertising can include “contact information” rather than “office address.”  The notes indicate that this might be a website or email address, although I don’t see a website as necessarily being “contact information.”
    • Nominal gifts will now be expressly permitted to someone who refers clients to you, so long as they are “neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation.”
    • Certified as a Specialist: The rules limit a practitioner’s ability to state or imply that he or she is “certified as a specialist in a particular field of law.” It is not clear to me that “patent law” would count here, but I’m going to speak with OED to make sure.

  • Section 11.703 makes some changes to the meaning of “solicitation” and when it is appropriate. Importantly, prohibited solicitation is now expanded beyond “prospective clients.”

Other changes are included as well.

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Cert Denied; and What is left? https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/cert-denied-what.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/cert-denied-what.html#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2021 13:55:56 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32878 Supreme Court today denied certiorari in two patent cases:

  • Fast 101 Pty. Ltd. v. Citigroup Inc., No. 20-1517 (patent eligibility)
  • Comcast Cable Communications, LLC v. Promptu Systems Corporation, No. 20-1220 (Arthrex related, but the SCT petitioner is the patent challenger party who initiated the IPR in the first place).

The court has not yet granted certiorari for any patent cases for next term. There are a few interesting ones pending that should get an up/down vote (or CVSG) in the next couple of weeks:

  • Patent Eligibility: NetSoc, LLC v. Match Group, LLC, No. 20-1412;
  • Obviousness: Amarin Pharma, Inc., et al. v. Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., No. 20-1119;
  • Attorney Fees: Roadie, Inc. v. Baggage Airline Guest Services, Inc., No. 20-1420;
  • Civil Procedure: Rick C. Sasso v. Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc., No. 20-1452; Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc., et al. v. Rick C. Sasso, No. 20-1284.

There is also a pair of cases pending certiorari involving Obamacare reimbursement that could be big $$$$.  United States v.

Continue reading Cert Denied; and What is left? at Patently-O.

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Supreme Court today denied certiorari in two patent cases:

  • Fast 101 Pty. Ltd. v. Citigroup Inc., No. 20-1517 (patent eligibility)
  • Comcast Cable Communications, LLC v. Promptu Systems Corporation, No. 20-1220 (Arthrex related, but the SCT petitioner is the patent challenger party who initiated the IPR in the first place).

The court has not yet granted certiorari for any patent cases for next term. There are a few interesting ones pending that should get an up/down vote (or CVSG) in the next couple of weeks:

  • Patent Eligibility: NetSoc, LLC v. Match Group, LLC, No. 20-1412;
  • Obviousness: Amarin Pharma, Inc., et al. v. Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., No. 20-1119;
  • Attorney Fees: Roadie, Inc. v. Baggage Airline Guest Services, Inc., No. 20-1420;
  • Civil Procedure: Rick C. Sasso v. Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc., No. 20-1452; Warsaw Orthopedic, Inc., et al. v. Rick C. Sasso, No. 20-1284.

There is also a pair of cases pending certiorari involving Obamacare reimbursement that could be big $$$$.  United States v. Maine Community Health Options, No. 20-1432; Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative v. United States, No. 20-1200; United States v. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, No. 20-1536.

= = = = =

I should mention that we are still awaiting two merits decisions that should be released by the end of June 2021.

  • Arthrex (proper appointment of PTAB judges)
  • Minerva (assignor estoppel)

– DC

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A Swarm of Gnats and Injury-In-Fact https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/swarm-gnats-injury.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/swarm-gnats-injury.html#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2021 13:36:01 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32875 A Swarm of Gnats and Injury-In-Fact

by Dennis Crouch

A swarm of gnats (midges) can be annoying.  Although each bug is almost too small to be seen or felt, 20,000+ of the critters buzzing around can cause some to panic or at least release a curse.  I’d advise you to just act gnaturally. But imagine for a second that you are able to capture two of the creatures that were part of the swarm.  Are you then able to pass judgment on those two captured individuals for the harm of the swarm?  Will killing those two gnats provide any relief from the swarm? (I know you are thinking revenge, but that is gnot the kind of concrete and particularized relief I’m talking about.)

In Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., 992 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2021), the Federal Circuit refused to pass judgment on the two without some evidence that they were the particular cause of any harm.  OK, we’re really talking about patents, and Apple is seeking to cancel two patents out of the 20,000+ that it has licensed from QualcommId.

MedImmune Licensee Standing Does not Apply to Portfolio License

The Case: After some litigation, Apple eventually licensed 20,000+ Qualcomm patents in a six-year-deal.* Meanwhile, Apple also pursued inter partes review (IPR) of two of the licensed patents.

Continue reading A Swarm of Gnats and Injury-In-Fact at Patently-O.

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by Dennis Crouch

A swarm of gnats (midges) can be annoying.  Although each bug is almost too small to be seen or felt, 20,000+ of the critters buzzing around can cause some to panic or at least release a curse.  I’d advise you to just act gnaturally. But imagine for a second that you are able to capture two of the creatures that were part of the swarm.  Are you then able to pass judgment on those two captured individuals for the harm of the swarm?  Will killing those two gnats provide any relief from the swarm? (I know you are thinking revenge, but that is gnot the kind of concrete and particularized relief I’m talking about.)

In Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., 992 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2021), the Federal Circuit refused to pass judgment on the two without some evidence that they were the particular cause of any harm.  OK, we’re really talking about patents, and Apple is seeking to cancel two patents out of the 20,000+ that it has licensed from QualcommId.

MedImmune Licensee Standing Does not Apply to Portfolio License

The Case: After some litigation, Apple eventually licensed 20,000+ Qualcomm patents in a six-year-deal.* Meanwhile, Apple also pursued inter partes review (IPR) of two of the licensed patents. US7844037 and US8683362.  The PTAB granted the IPR petitions but eventually sided with Qualcomm–holding that the challenged claims had not been proven obvious.  Apple then appealed, but the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of standing.  The court held that Apple had not shown any “injury-in-fact” associated with the continued existence of the two challenged patents.

The en banc petition focuses on the Supreme Court’s patent-licensee standing decision in MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., 549 U.S. 118 (2007). In MedImmune, the Supreme Court rejected Federal Circuit precedent that a “licensee in good standing cannot establish an Article III case or controversy.”  Although the facts of MedImmune are some what different, Apple argues that the case should be read broadly based upon the Supreme Court’s repeated promotion of patent challenges.

  • Lear, Inc. v. Adkins, 395 U.S. 653 (1969) (abolishing doctrine of licensee estoppel)
  • Blonder-Tongue Laboratories, Inc. v. U. of Illinois Found., 402 U.S. 313 (1971) (expanding issue preclusion against a patent previously determined invalid).
  • Cardinal Chem. Co. v. Morton Intern., Inc., 508 U.S. 83 (1993) (holding that courts may retain jurisdiction over invalidity counterclaims even after a determination of noninfringement).

Apple correctly argues that the IPR situation has unique circumstances that push toward standing: (1) estoppel tied to unsuccessful IPR; and (2) statutory right to appeal.  In the case, Unified Patents has filed a brief in support of en banc rehearing. And, the Federal Circuit has shown some interest by inviting a response from Qualcomm. That response is due June 9.

En Banc on Standing for IPR Challenge Appeals

= = = =

The panel noted in its opinion (and especially in oral arguments) that case involved a lack of evidence regarding the injury-in-fact.  That situation exists, in part, because the issue of standing was not addressed by the USPTO.  Rather, Article III standing only applies once a case moves into Federal Court, and so here addressed for the first time by the appellate court.  Usually the court has a nice tight record to work from, but no record exists for this issue.  Perhaps the court should have held an evidentiary hearing in order to elucidate this injury-in-fact. 

= = = = =

* Note – most of the deal has been kept confidential.

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Law School Canons: You can’t always “have it your way!” https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/school-canons-always.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/school-canons-always.html#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2021 06:00:50 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32868 Law School Canons: You can’t always “have it your way!”

Editor’s Note: Avery Welker is a rising 2L at Mizzou and likely a future patent attorney. He authors a series linking law school canonical cases with intellectual property counterparts. You can email ideas for future posts to avery@patentlyo.com.  – Dennis Crouch

By Avery Welker

If PerDiemCo LLC (PerDiemCo | Defendant) could have it their way, sending demand letters to a company in another state would not constitute minimum contacts for purposes of personal jurisdiction. Trimble, Inc. v. PerDiemCo LLC, No. 19-2164, 2021 WL 1898127, at *1, *7 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2021). PerDiemCo is the assignee of eleven patents[1] at issue, all related to geofencing and electronic logging technology (commonly used in the trucking industry). Trimble, Inc., and ISE (Trimble’s wholly-owned subsidiary) (Trimble | Plaintiff) offer geofencing and logging technologies along with manufacturing and selling positioning devices. Id. at *1. Below is a figure depicting this technology, which shows the geofenced areas (boxed in), the entry and exit points (see figure reference 2204), and location information logs while a contact is within a geofenced area (see figure reference 2202). U.S. Patent No. 10,171,950 fig.22 (filed May 22, 2018) (issued Jan.

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Law School Canons: You can’t always “have it your way!”

Editor’s Note: Avery Welker is a rising 2L at Mizzou and likely a future patent attorney. He authors a series linking law school canonical cases with intellectual property counterparts. You can email ideas for future posts to avery@patentlyo.com.  – Dennis Crouch

By Avery Welker

If PerDiemCo LLC (PerDiemCo | Defendant) could have it their way, sending demand letters to a company in another state would not constitute minimum contacts for purposes of personal jurisdiction. Trimble, Inc. v. PerDiemCo LLC, No. 19-2164, 2021 WL 1898127, at *1, *7 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2021). PerDiemCo is the assignee of eleven patents[1] at issue, all related to geofencing and electronic logging technology (commonly used in the trucking industry). Trimble, Inc., and ISE (Trimble’s wholly-owned subsidiary) (Trimble | Plaintiff) offer geofencing and logging technologies along with manufacturing and selling positioning devices. Id. at *1. Below is a figure depicting this technology, which shows the geofenced areas (boxed in), the entry and exit points (see figure reference 2204), and location information logs while a contact is within a geofenced area (see figure reference 2202). U.S. Patent No. 10,171,950 fig.22 (filed May 22, 2018) (issued Jan. 1, 2019).

The entire web of incorporations, headquarters, locations, and personal jurisdiction issue reads like a Civil Procedure personal jurisdiction final exam hypo. Trimble, Inc. is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California (in the Northern District of California). Trimble Inc., WL at *1. ISE is an Iowa LLC with its principal place of business in Coralville, Iowa (in the Northern District of Iowa). Id. PerDiemCo is a Texas LLC with office space in Marshall, Texas (Eastern District of Texas). Id. The sole owner, employee, and officer lives and works in Washington D.C. and has never visited the office space in Texas. Id.

PerDiemCo sent a letter to ISE in 2018 alleging ISE’s devices used technology in PerDiemCo’s patents (see footnote 1). Id. PerDiemCo attached an unfiled complaint against ISE for the Northern District of Iowa, asserting nine patents against ISE, included a claim chart, offered a non-exclusive license to PerDiemCo’s patents, and a draft nondisclosure agreement for negotiations. Id. ISE subsequently forwarded the letter to Trimble’s IP counsel in Westminster, Colorado. Id. at *2. The counsel responded to PerDiemCo to inform that the issues would be communicated through Trimble. Id. PerDiemCo responded to Trimble and alleged that Trimble’s products also infringed in PerDiemCo’s patents, attaching a claim chart. Id. The parties agreed to negotiate for a few months. Id. PerDiemCo leveled new allegations of patent infringement against Trimble’s geofencing products and allegations based on two previously unasserted patents. Id. PerDiemCo repeatedly threatened to sue Trimble in the Eastern District of Texas on the infringement accounts. Id.

In response, Trimble and ISE sought a declaratory judgment action of non-infringement in the Northern District of California for all patents asserted by PerDiemCo in January 2019. Id. Trimble and ISE asserted that PerDiemCo was subject to specific personal jurisdiction in the Northern District of California. Id. While the district court (and later the Federal Circuit) held that the minimum contacts standard was satisfied, the district court dismissed the action, and Trimble and ISE appealed. Id. at *3, *7.

PerDiemCo argued that specific personal jurisdiction would be unreasonable, citing the five “fairness” factors outlined in Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985).[2] In Burger King, the Court had to decide whether exercising personal jurisdiction over two out-of-state Burger King franchisees would be fair. Id. at 466, 476. The Court ultimately concluded, after weighing the fairness factors (see footnote 2), that the exercise of personal jurisdiction, in that case, did not offend due process, as the franchisees had fair notice of the danger of suit in Florida. Id. at 487. The franchisees did not show the Court that it would be fundamentally unfair to exercise jurisdiction. Id.

Factor 1 – the burden on the defendant: PerDiemCo argued that litigating anywhere other than the Eastern District of Texas would impose an undue burden. Trimble Inc., WL at *7. However, the district court found that PerDiemCo’s office in Texas was essentially for show since PerDiemCo’s sole employee lived and worked in Washington D.C. Id. Since PerDiemCo filed lawsuits very far away from Washington D.C. and litigating patents away from D.C. is the main operation of PerDiemCo’s business, the Federal Circuit found no burden. Id.

Factor 2 – the forum State’s interest in adjudicating the dispute: The Federal Circuit found that California had an interest in litigating the suit as Tremble resided in California, and the State desires to protect its residents from any frivolous claims of patent infringement. Id. at *8.

Factor 3 – the plaintiff’s interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief: Here, the Federal Circuit found that Trimble had an obvious interest in getting relief from a court in its home forum, where principal employees and documents are. Id.

Factor 4 – the interstate judicial system’s interest in obtaining the most effective resolution of controversies: The Federal Circuit found that even if, as PerDiemCo asserted, a settlement would be the most efficient conflict resolution, both parties could reach a settlement pending litigation in the Northern District of California. Id.

Factor 5 – the shared interest of the several states in furthering fundamental substantive social policies: Given that the same patent laws govern all states, there is no conflict in litigating in the Northern District of California. Id.

Upon the Federal Circuit’s factor weighing, they ultimately decided that PerDiemCo did not show that jurisdiction was unreasonable and reversed the district court’s dismissal, remanding for further proceedings. Id.

Here, PerDiemCo couldn’t “have it their way.” Nothing short of jurisdictional rules so unfair that make litigation so tricky that the party would be severely disadvantaged will defeat asserting personal jurisdiction. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477. Burger King makes it abundantly clear – if it’s fair, personal jurisdiction is lawful!

[1] U.S. Patent Nos. 8,149,113, 9,319,471, 9,485,314, 9,621,661, 9,680,941, 9,871,874, 9,954,961, 10,021,198, 10,104,189, 10,148,774, 10,171,950.

[2] The factors are: (1) “the burden on the defendant,” (2) “the forum State’s interest in adjudicating the dispute,” (3) “the plaintiff’s interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief,” (4) “the interstate judicial system’s interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies,” and (5) the “shared interest of the several States in furthering fundamental substantive social policies.” Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477 (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292 (1980).

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Patently-O Bits and Bytes by Juvan Bonni https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/patently-o-bits-and-bytes-by-juvan-bonni-64.html https://patentlyo.com/patent/2021/06/patently-o-bits-and-bytes-by-juvan-bonni-64.html#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2021 01:00:55 +0000 https://patentlyo.com/?p=32865 Recent Headlines in the IP World:

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