Today the Supreme Court declined to hear Limelight’s petition for cert. on the question of whether an accused infringer may be held liable for direct infringement of a claim to a method where multiple parties perform the steps of the method.
On August 13, 2016, the S. Ct. remanded the en banc decision of the Fed. Cir. that set forth the law of divided infringement under s. 271(a), and found that Limelight directly infringed U.S. Pat. No. 6,108,703. The court held that an entity will be found responsible for others’ performance of method steps “(1) where that entity directs or controls others’ performance, [or] (2) where the actors form a joint enterprise.” Read the rest of this entry »
On April 1st, Lilly filed an amicus brief in favor of Sequenom’s petition for cert. seeking to reverse Ariosa, that caused a lot of buzz in the IP community. (A copy is available at the end of this post.) To summarize, it argued that the courts’ attempts to interpret and define the judicial exceptions to s. 101 patent-eligibility was leading them to an unwarranted expansion of these policy-driven exceptions that threaten concrete technological advances that would otherwise be eligible for patent protection under the patent statute. In other words, the brief argued that the proper application the strictures of ss. 102 (requirement for physicality), 103 (inventiveness), 112(a)(WDR) and (f)(means plus function claiming) are sufficiently developed so that the court should abrogate the judicial exceptions that presently exclude what I will refer to as PAIN (phenomena of nature, abstract ideas and natural laws). (I checked that definition of “abrogate” and it does mean “do away with or to abolish by formal of official means.”)
I have written numerous posts in the last six years about the rise in importance of the written description requirement, as well as the evolution of s. 103 and I am willing to accept Lilly’s arguments. For example, the s. 102 requirement for novelty is sufficient to guard against issuance of patents on natural phenomena like fire, since fire is in the prior art. Pure concepts like blocking the NF-kB signaling pathway to treat a condition ameliorated by blocking the NF-kB pathway would fail the written description requirement. Mental steps are permissible in a claim, but the claim cannot be entirely mental steps or disembodied functional language (See 112(f)). (This brief is worth reading just for its discussion of the mental steps doctrine at pages 18-21.)
A new website came across my inbox this week. It is called Examiner Ninja and provides analytics on patent examiners. The creator of the website, Justin Roettger, says the website is free and told me “I’m just looking to contribute something to the community that I am now a part of.” Looking at the website you can learn more about Justin:
“Hi! My name is Justin Roettger and I live in Los Angeles, CA. When I’m not fooling around with patent examiner websites, I like woodworking, tinkering with electronics, and ping pong. I built this site as a side project while waiting for the USPTO to complete my registration after passing the patent bar last October. I currently work in web development / IT but I’m hoping to transition into working as an EE/CS patent attorney soon. Feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com for site feedback, questions, suggestions, etc.”
Take a look and see what you think.