Tell Me Why: A conclusion of obviousness based on routine optimization must be supported by articulated reasoning

Cindy Chen and John M. Wang | October 16, 2017

In re Stepan Company

August 25, 2017

Before Lourie, Moore, and O’Malley. Opinion by Moore. Dissent by Lourie.


The Federal Circuit vacated a Patent Trial and Appeal Board panel’s finding of obviousness based on routine optimization, for failing to articulate some rational underpinning as to “why” routine optimization would have made the claimed invention obvious.

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CAFC finds broadly claimed computer memory system eligible under first step of Alice.

Thomas Brown | September 21, 2017

Visual Memory LLC v Nvidia Corporation

August 15, 2017

Before O’Malley, Hughes and Stoll. Precedential Opinion by Stoll, joined by O’Malley; Dissent by Hughes.


Visual Memory sued Nvidia for infringement of USP 5,953,740 (the ‘740 patent).  The district court granted Nvidia’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (rule 12(b)(6)) based on patent ineligible subject matter. The CAFC reversed and remanded finding that the computer memory systems claims of the ‘740 satisfied the first step of Alice.

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CAFC agrees with the Board that restriction in the identification of goods is meaningless

Kumiko Ide | September 19, 2017


August 8, 2017

Before: Prost, Lourie, and Schall. Opinion by Lourie.


The Board held, and the CAFC agreed that the restriction in the identification of goods, which stated “all associated with William Adams, professionally known as “” did not impact on the meaning or the overall commercial impression of the mark.  Further, the restriction provided no limitation on the nature of the goods, trade channels, or potential purchasers.  Where the marks are identical, and substantial evidence supports the goods are identical or closely related, the trade channels are identical, and classes of purchasers overlap, the CAFC upheld the Board’s decision affirming the examining attorney’s refusal to register the marks of the Appellant.

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Drug patent survives invalidity challenge based on lack of teaching or suggestion in the art, teaching away, unexpected results and long-felt need

Ryan Chirnomas | August 15, 2017

Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., et al.

July 17, 2017

Before:  Newman, Mayer and O’Malley.  Opinion: Newman


The inventors discovered that freeze-drying mannitol with an existing, but unstable, drug resulted in an ester which solved stability and solubility problems of the drug alone.   The patent survived an invalidity challenge since there was no teaching or suggestion of freeze-drying this drug in the presence of mannitol.  Non-obviousness was further bolstered by a teaching away, unexpected results and evidence of a long-felt need.

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