On June 18, 2015, a divided Fed. Cir. panel reaffirmed that the key claim of a Teva patent, U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,808, was invalid as indefinite, although the Fed. Cir. had previously been reversed twice by the Supreme Court – once because of lack of deference to the district court’s fact-finding (135 S. Ct. 831) in this suit, and once because the indefiniteness standard applied by the Fed. Cir. in Nautilus v. Biosig was incorrect (134 S. Ct. 2120). (A copy of the decision can be found at the end of this post.)
Commentators have rushed lots of notes on this decision onto the web (Teva Parma. USA v. Sandoz, Inc., Appeal no. 2012-1567 et al. (Fed. Cir., June 18, 2015) – possibly because the central issue was comprehensible without an advanced degree – so I will not spend more time on the history of the decision. The outcome is what matters after all, and I think it can be summed up in one sentence: Deference to a district court’s fact-finding still leaves the Fed. Cir. free to determine if the question of law “indefiniteness” was decided properly. In other words – and there always are – there is no presumption that the ultimate question of law was decided correctly, even if there was no clear error in the lower court’s fact finding.