Chinese : CAFC Alert

Improper NDA Defeats Trade Secrets and Overly Broad Patent Claims are Invalid

Tang O. Tang | July 29, 2013

Convolve v. Compaq Computer

July 1, 2013

Panel:  Rader, Dyk and O’Malley.  Opinion by O’Malley

Summary

Convolve, Inc. (“Convolve”) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) appeal the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (“District Court”) granting summary judgment in favor of Compaq Computer Corp. (“Compaq”), Seagate Technology LLC. and Seagate Technology, Inc. (“Seagate”).

Convolve and MIT sued Compaq and Seagate in July 2000 for breach of contract; misappropriation of trade secrets listed in Amended Trade Secret Identification (ATSI); direct patent infringement; and inducement of patent infringement along with other complaints such as fraud; violation of California Business and Professions Code §17200 (“CA Unfair Competition”), etc.

In May 2006, the District Court disposed of all other charges from the suit except the breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement charges. The District Court later granted summary judgment in favor of Compaq and Seagate and dismissed the remaining charges. With regard to the trade secret charges, the District Court found that:

(1)    some of Convolve’s trade secrets (ATSI 1B, 2A, 2C, 2E, and 3B-D) were covered under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which Convolve failed to properly preserve according to the NDA procedures;

(2)    some of Convolve’s trade secrets (ATSI 2A, 6B, and 7A) were public known or common knowledge in the industry, which were not entitled to protection;

(3)    some of Convolve’s trade secrets were never used by the defendants (ATSI 2F and 7E); and

(4)    because New York law does not extend trade secret protection to marketing concepts, some of the trade secrets alleged by Convolve are not recognized by the District Court.

With regard to the patent infringement charges, the District Court found that:

(1)   out of the four models of products alleged by Convolve as infringing Patent’473, none read on the claims of the patent;

(2)   Patent’635 was found invalid for being non-enabling based on the inventor’s testimony; and

(3)   since no direct infringement was found, the claim for inducement of patent infringement must fail.

Taking all inference in favor of Convolve, the CAFC affirmed all counts of summary judgment with regard to the trade secret allegations, as well as the invalidity of Patent’635, but reversed the non-infringement decision about Patent’473.

 

Convolve (原告)与Compaq, Seagate(康柏电脑和希捷数码,被告)就原告开发的一些硬盘技术进行技术合作谈判,双方就谈判涉及内容签订了保密协议。但原告在向被告透露相关技术时没有严格按保密协定约定的程序处理涉密内容。后来改谈判未能达成一致,原告诉被告在谈判涉及的保密内容上侵犯商业机密及在另一些技术问题上专利侵权。一审结果,联邦区域法院裁定原告败诉。

上述法院均认定,尽管侵犯商业机密属于一个侵权法的范畴,然而在已签订合同中原被告双方均已同意以合同条款规定商业机密的范畴,故侵权法默认的商业机密标准不适用。因原告在履行保密协议过程中未遵循商定的处理程序,原告在此案中已丧失对该商业机密的索赔权。

另外, 关于专利侵权案,原告的专利在当年提出申请时对该发明的描述超过了发明人的当时可以实施实际该发明的范畴,故该专利被认定未能适当描述其实施方法因而无效。上述法院部分维持一审法院的判决。


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Claim Construction and Expert Testimony in Pharmaceutical Patent Litigation

Tang O. Tang | January 31, 2013

Allergan, Inc. v. Barr Laboratories, Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical USA, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Sandoz Inc.

January 28, 2013

Panel: Rader, Bryson and Wallach.  Opinion by Bryson.

Summary

Barr Lab. and Sandoz Inc. etc. (collectively Defendants) filed a Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA), listing the patented product in Allergan’s ‘819 patent. Allergan filed an infringement suit against the Defendants. The district court ruled for Allergan, and the Defendants brought it to appeal.

One major point of dispute was about one moiety in the claimed compounds described in claim 5 of patent ‘819 as representable by –N(R4)2. The Defendants asserted that the two R4 moieties must be construed as identical. The district court and the CAFC both found for Allergan in holding that the R4 units did not need to be identical.

Another point of dispute was about the requirement for courts’ independent inquiry into “obviousness” type of patent invalidity case. The CAFC affirmed the district court’s decision that the expert testimony may be a required part of patent invalidity cases based on obviousness, and that independent review of a case involving complex technology, in absence of expert witness, is not required.

Barr Labs和Sandoz公司(以下统称被告)向联邦食品药品管理局提出简化新药申请(ANDA)中将Allergan公司的819专利所保护的专利药品列为仿制药。 Allergan公司对被告提起侵权诉讼。联邦地区法院裁定Allergan胜诉,被告遂到联邦巡回法庭提出上诉。

争议要点之一是,在专利819的权利要求5,对要求受保护药物的描述包括该化合物含有基团 “–N(R 42”。被告声称,这两个R4基团应该理解为相同基团。区法院和联邦巡回上诉法院都认同Allergan的理解,认定对R4基团定义应基于该专利文件中的具体描述,所以两个R4基团不一定相同。

另一个争议点是专利无效请求的案件中法院是否有义务进行独立调查。联邦巡回上诉法院肯定了地区法院的判决,即专家证词可能是专利无效案件的证据的必要组成部分,而当专利无效案件涉及复杂的技术时,在专利无效请求人未提供专家证人的情况下,法庭不需要独立调查案件即可直接判定专利无效请求人应证据不足败诉。


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Using Trademark in Categories Other than the One as Filed May Result in Abandonment

Tang O. Tang | August 15, 2012

LENS.COM, INC. v. 1-800 CONTACTS, INC.

August 3, 2012

Panel:  Newman, Linn and Moore.  Opinion by Linn.

Summary

Lens.com, Inc. (“Lens.com”) appeals a decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) granting a motion for summary judgment by 1-800 Contacts, Inc. (“1-800 Contacts”) and ordering the cancellation of Lens.com’s registration for the mark LENS due to nonuse.  The mark was filed to be used in connection with computer software, but the business of Lens.com is in the field of retail sales of contact lenses.  The issue at dispute is whether software incidentally distributed in connection with retail business in the context of an internet service constitutes a “good in commerce.” The court applies a three-prong test established in non-internet-related case law to the current case in finding nonuse of the mark, and distinguishes the current case from an Eleventh Circuit decision.

Lens.com公司就商标裁决上诉委员会批准关于注销 LENS 商标登记的动议提出上诉。 该动议由1-800 Contacts公司提出,称lens.com已停止使用该商标。该商标注册为“计算机软件相关业务”的商标,而Lens.com仅在隐形眼镜零售领域开展业务。该案中的争议问题是互联网零售业务中偶尔附带发送的软件是否构成“商品”。法院利用了建立在非互联网相关案件的判例法上的“三因素测试”认定该商标已停止使用, 并且将本案与第十一巡回法庭判决的一个互联网相关案件加以对比区分。


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