Posts Tagged ‘Federal Circuit’

Kimble v. Marvel – Supreme Court Sticks With Brulotte Rule

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

iStock_000030048654_SmallIn a rather breezy opinion filled with Spiderman puns and references, Justice Kagan, writing for a 6/3 Court, affirmed that Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29 (1964) controlled the outcome of this dispute over Marvel’s decision to halt royalty payments on a web-slinger toy that it had apparently agreed to make “for as long as kids want to imitate Spider-Man (doing whatever a spider can).” Slip op. at 2. (A copy of the opinion is found at the end of this post.)

The toy was patented by Kimble, and the patent expired in 2010. The ninth circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of S.J. confirming that, in accord with Brulotte, a patentee cannot receive royalties for sales made after his/her patent’s expiration. Cert. was granted and the Court affirmed that stare decisis was operable to keep Brulotte as controlling law, particularly since the dispute involved statutory interpretation – [as opposed to, e.g., first amendment rights?] – and that Congress had rejected attempts to amend the law.

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Teva v. Sandoz – “Strange Brew” Boils Over

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

iStock_000008592211_SmallOn 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.

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Ariosa v. Sequenom – Novel Genetic Analysis Fails The Mayo Test

Friday, June 12th, 2015

3d render of dna structure, abstract  backgroundToday, the Fed. Cir. affirmed the district court’s holding that the method for detecting paternally inherited nucleic acid of fetal origin in a sample of the mother’s blood was a patent-ineligible natural phenomenon. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v Sequenom, Inc., Appeal No. 2014-1139, 2014-1144. (Fed. Cir. June 12, 2015). (A copy is available at the end of this post.)  Although commentators have already begun to lament that this decision puts a stake in the heart of claims to diagnostic methods (what I call “If A, then B” claims), I am going to do my best to resist this conclusion.

Of the claims asserted in the case, only one (claim 21) recites “providing a diagnosis based on the presence and/or quantity and/or sequence of the foetal nucleic acid,” and no dependent claim identified what specific diagnosis (e.g., increased likelihood of Down’s syndrome) was provided (or to whom it was provided). Claim 1 was broadly directed to a method for detecting a paternally inherited nucleic acid of fetal original performed on a maternal serum or plasma sample from a pregnant female by amplifying a paternally inherited nucleic acid and detecting its presence in the sample.

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Allvoice Decision Provides Roadmap For Software-based Inventions

Friday, May 29th, 2015

iStock_000034528996_SmallGuest post from Greg Stark, attorney at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

In a refreshing break from Alice/Mayo abstract idea based 35 U.S.C. § 101 rejections, the Federal Circuit released a decision invalidating certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,799,273 as not being directed to one of the four statutory categories of inventions (see Allvoice Developments US, LLC, v. Microsoft Corp., CAFC 2014-1258, decided May 22, 2015 – a copy is available at the end of this post). The matter was on appeal, by Allvoice, from a district court decision invalidating claims 60-68 as non-statutory subject matter. The decision also affirms a non-infringement decision by the district court, while interesting that that portion of the decision is not the focus of this post.

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