Appealing a Victory in an Inter Partes Reexamination?

Stephen G. Adrian | July 21, 2016

SKYHAWKE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC V. DECA INTERNATIONAL CORP.

July 15, 2016

Before Taranto, Chen, and Hughes.  Opinion by Hughes.

Summary

The results of inter partes reexaminations under pre-AIA are important both to the patent owner and the requester because of ongoing litigation between the parties. The results in one proceeding could certainly have an impact on the other proceeding. In this case, the patent owner SkyHawke received a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirming the patentability of its claims. However, SkyHawke was concerned with the reasoning of the PTAB with respect to claim construction which could allow Deca to escape infringement in the litigation proceeding. Asserting 35 U.S.C. § 141 (a patent owner “who is in any reexamination proceeding dissatisfied with the final decision in an appeal to the Board … may appeal the decision only to” the CAFC), SkyHawke appealed to the CAFC. Deca filed a motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The CAFC granted the motion to dismiss.


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The “on-sale” bar is triggered by a commercial sale that bears the general hallmarks of a sale pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code

John M. Wang | July 18, 2016

The Medicines Company v. Hospira, Inc.

July 11, 2016

En Banc Decision by O’Malley.

Summary

Hospira submitted two Abbreviated New Drug Applications (“ANDA”) to seek approval of Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for selling generic bivalirudin drug products before the expiration of patents-in-suit: the ‘727 patent and the ‘343 patent. The two patents-in-suit cover Angiomax, the trade name of a form of bivalirudin that MedCo markets in the United States. On August 19, 2010, MedCo sued Hospira in the district court of Delaware alleging that Hospira’s two ANDA filings infringed the two patents-in-suit. The district court found the patents-in-suit not invalid and not infringed. MedCo appealed and Hospira cross-appealed. The original three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit agreed with Hospira and held that the patents-in-suit are invalid. MedCo petitioned for panel rehearing or rehearing en banc. The en banc panel affirmed the district court’s holding and remanded the appeal to the original three-judge panel for further proceedings.


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Patent eligible Laboratory methods

Yoshiya Nakamura | July 13, 2016

Rapid Litigation Management Ltd. v. CellzDirect, Inc.

July 5, 2016

Before Prost, Moore and Stoll.  Opinion by Prost.

Summary

Patented claims at issue were directed to a method of producing a desired preparation of hepatocytes (liver cells) useful for laboratory tests such as drug safety tests.  The claimed process was invented based on the discovery that liver cells are capable of surviving multiple freeze-thaw cycles, which provides desired pool samples of hepatocytes from multiple donners.  The district court held that the claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. §101.  CAFC vacated the decision, holding that the claimed process is not directed to a patent-ineligible concept.

ドラッグテスト等に有用な肝細胞プールを調製する方法を記載した特許クレームが、101条の特許対象要件を満たすか否かを争われたケースである。従来は、肝細胞の冷凍保存は1回が限度であると認識されていた(一度解凍したら使い捨てとなる)。しかし、本件発明者は肝細胞を複数回冷凍保存しても使用できることを発見し、少なくとも2回の冷凍-解凍の工程を記した方法に特許を受けた。複数回の冷凍-解凍を繰り返せること利用して、異なるドナーからの肝細胞プールを無駄なく適宜に調製できるという利点がある。

近年最高裁判決の下、自然法則または自然現象を優位に超える特徴をクレームに記載しなければ特許対象にはならない。地裁は肝細胞が冷凍保存可能であることはその細胞の自然能力の発揮にすぎず、本特許の方法は自然法則の利用を優位に超える特徴を記載していないとして同特許を無効にした。高裁はその地裁判決を破棄し、従来の知見反して肝細胞の冷凍を2回以上繰り返す工程を記載した本特許の方法は従来の方法にはない利点があるから特許可能対象であると判示した。複数回の冷凍保存を行うことができるという科学的発見に基づくシンプルな発明コンセプトであるが、新規で有用な結果をもたらす方法は特許対象になりえることが示された。このケースは発見を利用する発明を新規な「方法」として記載することで特許対象になり得ることを示しているが、その肝細胞を「プロダクト」としてクレームした場合は自然物の寄せ集めであり特許対象になりえないことも示唆された(Funk Bros判決参照)。一方で、101条の特許対象要件の判断において従来技術との対比が重要な意味を持ち得ることを示した判決でもある。


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Federal Circuit reverses district court’s decision that a continuing application filed on the same day as the parent’s issuance loses benefit under 35 U.S.C. §120

Cindy Chen | July 6, 2016

Immersion Corp. v. HTC Corp.

June 21, 2016

Before Prost, Linn, and Taranto. Opinion by Taranto

Summary

The Federal Circuit confirmed the longstanding practice that for the purpose of claiming benefit under 35 U.S.C. §120, a continuing application can be filed either before, or on the same date as, the patent issue date of the parent application.


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