Damages : CAFC Alert

“Insufficiently Final” Court Judgments Subject to USPTO Reexamination Decision

Ken Salen | July 10, 2013

Fresenius USA v. Baxter Int’l.

July 2, 2013

Panel:  Newman, Dyk, Prost.  Opinion by Dyk.  Dissent by Newman.

Summary

The CAFC vacated an infringement judgment and an award of damages because of a later finding of invalidity by the Patent Office in a reexamination proceeding. The CAFC held that because (1) the USPTO canceled the asserted claims while (2) the infringement suit remains pending before the CAFC, Baxter no longer has a cause of action.


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Elimination of false marking actions does not violate the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution

Scott Daniels | January 3, 2013

Brooks v. Dunlop Manufacturing

December 3, 2012

Panel:  Newman, Prost, Moore.  Opinion by Prost.

Procedural Summary

Lawyer Brooks sued Dunlop under 35 U.S.C. § 292 for falsely marking a guitar string winder with the number of a patent that had both expired and been found invalid.  During the pendency of the law suit, Congress passed the America Invents Act (AIA) that, inter alia, eliminated false marking actions, except under very limited circumstances.

The trial judge therefore dismissed Brooks’ case, despite Brooks’ argument that the AIA’s elimination of false marking cases violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  On appeal, the CAFC agreed with the trial judge and therefore affirmed his dismissal of the case.


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Damage calculations based on entire market value rule is improper absent evidence that patented feature drives demand for entire multi-component product

Shuji Yoshizaki | September 19, 2012

LaserDynamics, Inc., v. Quanta Computer, Inc.,

August 30, 2012

Panel:  Dyk, Clevenger and Reyna.  Opinion by Reyna.

Summary

LaserDynamics, owner of a patent regarding optical disc drives, sued Quanta Computer Inc. and Quanta Storage Inc., etc. for patent infringement.  In calculating damages, the entire market value rule is a narrow exception to the general rule under 35 U.S.C. § 284 adequate to compensate for the infringement.  Only if showing that the patented feature drives the demand for an entire multi-component product, a patentee may be awarded damages as a percentage of revenues or profits of the entire product.  The date of the hypothetical negotiation for the purpose of determining the reasonable royalty is the date that the infringement began, which is sometimes or often earlier than the date of the first notice of the infringer’s infringement.  To prove or tend to prove a reasonable royalty, the evidence of the granted licenses and the royalties received by the patentee for the patent in suit are probative.

原告は光ディスクドライブに関する特許の所有者であり、光ディスクドライブメーカーと、そのドライブを組み込んだラップトップPC組立メーカーとを特許侵害で訴えた。争点の一つは、損害賠償の計算方法であるが、特許技術の部品を含む完成品の市場価格に基づく計算方法(entire market value rule)は、合理的なロイヤルティ(reasonable royalty)について定めた特許法284条の例外であるため、特許の特徴が複数部品からなる完成品全体に対する需要を引き起こしたということを証明しなければ、そのような計算方法を使用することはできない。換言すると、そのような立証ができた場合にのみ、特許権者はその完成品の売上もしくは利益に乗じた損害賠償を受けることができる。また、合理的なロイヤリティを決定するための判断基準となる日は、いわゆる仮想的交渉日(hypothetical negotiation date)に基づいて判断されるのであるが、それは、被告による侵害開始の日であって、被告が侵害を最初に知った日(たとえば警告日や訴状提出日)ではない。さらに、合理的なロイヤルティを証明するためには、問題特許に関して、特許権者が受け取ったロイヤルティなどが、証拠の一つとなる。


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The threshold to acquiring intervening rights by reexamination requires new or amended claim language

Bernadette McGann | March 21, 2012

Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc. v Hemcon, Inc. (en banc)

March 15, 2012

Panel: Rader, Newman, Lourie, Bryson, Gajarsa, Linn, Dyk, Prost, Reyna and Wallach (en banc)

Opinion for the court by Lourie. Rader, Newman, Bryson and Prost join in full and Linn joins in part II (Intervening Rights)

Opinion for the dissent by Dyk. Gajarsa, Reyna, and Wallach join in full and Linn joins in parts I-II (Claim construction, dismissing HemCon motion for JMOL and/or new trial)

Summary:

Based on statutory interpretation of 35 U.S.C. §307(b), the Majority held that the threshold requirement for acquiring intervening rights is that there must be amended or new claims that did not exist in the original patent but have been found to be patentable during reexamination.  The CAFC held that amended means to make formal changes to the actual language of a claim.  A claim is not amended merely because the scope of the claim has been altered by arguments presented during reexamination.


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CAFC Allows Willful Infringer to Continue Infringements for an “Ongoing Royalty” Due to “the Public’s Interest to Allow Competition in the Medical Device Arena”

Stephen Parker | February 16, 2012

Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., et al. v. W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

February 10, 2012

Panel: Gajarsa, Linn and NewmanOpinion by Gajarsa.  Dissent by Newman.

Summary

This decision concludes a forty-year-long story that began in 1973 between two cooperating individuals that independently filed patent applications for vascular grafts in 1974.  Those applications went to interference in 1983 and have been the subject of ongoing litigation since, concluding now in the current CAFC decision.  The Arizona district court from which the present case was appealed expressed that this was “the most complicated case the district court has [ever] presided over.”  In this case, the Gore inventor was the first to both 1) conceive of the invention and 2) file a patent application in 1974 (i.e., filing 6 months prior to the Bard inventor), but Gore lost in an interference before the Patent Office.  Now, Gore is found to be willfully infringing the patent that was awarded to Bard, and is subjected to doubled damages (i.e., totaling $371 million) and attorney’s fees (i.e., totaling $19 million).  However, despite these findings, the CAFC allows Gore to continue infringing, declining a permanent injunction and awarding reasonable royalties in the amount of between 12.5% to 20% for future infringements due to the weight of “the public interest to allow competition in the medical device arena.”


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Will the Marine Polymer Expansion of Intervening Rights be Reversed?

Scott Daniels | January 30, 2012

A few days ago the CAFC issued a notice that it would review, en banc, last September’s 2-1 panel decision in Marine Polymer v. HemCon, specifically the holding that absolute intervening rights arise where a patentee narrowly construes its claims in reexamination, thereby “effectively amending” those claims, even without an actual amendment of the claims.  See 35 U.S.C. §§ 252 and 307(b).  Such intervening rights, of course, eliminate all damages for the period before the issuance of the reexamination certificate concluding the reexamination.  Until Marine Polymer, only a single trial had found intervening rights derived from argument alone.

There was, however, a dissent by Judge Alan Lourie who did not accept the “amendment in effect” argument.  For him, there is “threshold requirement in §§ 307(b) and 316(b) that intervening rights apply only to amended or new claims.”  Since that threshold requirement was not satisfied, there could be no intervening rights, Judge Lourie argued.


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Joint Inventorship of a novel compound may exist even if co-inventor only developed method of making

Bernadette McGann | January 25, 2012

Falana v. Kent State University and Alexander J. Seed

January 23, 2012

Panel:  Linn, Prost and Reyna.  Opinion by Linn.

Summary

The CAFC held that a putative inventor who envisioned the structure of a novel chemical compound and contributed to the method of making that compound is a joint inventor of a claim covering that compound.  One may be a joint inventor even if co-inventor’s contribution to conception is merely a method of making the claimed product and said co-inventor does not synthesize the claimed compound.


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Infringement Argument Contradicting Prosecution History and Based On Unreliable Expert Testimony Can Make The Case “Exceptional” Incurring Opponent’s Attorneys Fees

Sadao Kinashi | January 11, 2012

MarcTec, LLC v. Johnson & Johnson and Cordis Corp.

January 3, 2012

Panel:  Newman, Prost and O’Malley.  Opinion by O’Malley.

Summary

The CAFC affirmed the district court’s award of attorney fees and expert fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285.  During prosecution of the application, Applicant amended the claims to make clear that his invention required the application of heat to a heat-bondable material.  Applicant also distinguished the surgical device from stents in order to obtain allowance.   Patentee alleged infringement by accused stents having a coating sprayed at room temperature.  Patentee further argued that accused product’s coating is, in fact, bonded by heat. In support of this position, Patentee offered expert testimony that spraying the coating at nearly the speed of sound would cause an increase in temperature such that heat is involved in bonding the coating to the stent. The expert testimony also alleged that heat is used in some of the manufacturing steps before the coating is sprayed onto the accused product.   The court held that Patentee’s argument was baseless and frivolous and that Patentee acted in bad faith in bringing and pressing this suit.

CAFCは、米国特許法285条の例外的なケースとして相手方の弁護士費用と専門化証人の費用の支払いを命じた地裁の決定を維持した。問題の特許の審査過程において、出願人は、クレームを補正して、発明が熱を適用して結合する点で先行技術と異なることを主張し、また、本発明は、先行技術の血管を拡張するステントとは異なると主張した。この事件で特許権者は、常温でスプレーコーティングした被疑侵害者のステントを特許侵害で提訴した。そして、被疑侵害者のステントのコーティングにおいて熱が適用されていると主張した。特許権者の専門家証人は、音速に近いスプレーは温度上昇を伴うと主張し、また、スプレーコーティングの前に熱を使う工程があることもその根拠とした。裁判所は、特許権者の主張は根拠のない軽薄なものであり、不誠実なものであると判示した。


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