Double Patenting : CAFC Alert

BEWARE OF A SURPRISE CO-OWNER OF A PATENT WHO DOES NOT WANT TO ENFORCE ITS PATENT

Sung-Hoon Kim | June 12, 2014

STC.UNM v. Intel Corp.

June 6, 2014

Panel: Rader, Dyk, and Newman. Opinion by Rader. Dissent by Newman

Summary:

The ‘998 patent was a CIP of the ‘312 patent, which was jointly owned by STC.UNM and Sandia.  Because a terminal disclaimer (which required a common ownership of both patents) was filed during prosecution of the ‘998 patent, STC.UNM and Sandia are co-owners of the ‘998 patent even if Sandia did not make any contribution to the ‘998 patent.  STC.UNM filed an infringement suit concerning the ‘998 patent against Intel, and Sandia refused to join the lawsuit.  The district court dismissed the case for a lack of standing, and the CAFC affirmed by holding that all co-owners must ordinarily consent to join as plaintiffs in an infringement suit.  Furthermore, both the district court and the CAFC refused to involuntarily join Sandia to the case as a necessary party (FRCP Rule 19).

본사건은연방지방법원뉴멕시코지원의판결에불복하여 STC/UNM이연방순회항소법원 (CAFC)에항소한사건이다.  CAFC는연방지방법원과같이‘312 특허를바탕으로일부계속출원된특허 (continuation-in-part)인‘998 특허심사도중원고STC/UNM가존속기간포기서 (terminal disclaimer)를제출함으로써특허심사거절을극복하였으므로, STC/UNM과 Sandia는‘998 특허의공동소유자(co-owners)라고판단하였다 (Sandia는‘998 특허발명에공헌을하지않았다).  또한CAFC는 Sandia의소송참여의사에상관없이 STC/UNM이인텔을상대로‘998 특허침해소송을제기한것에대해STC/UNM은원고적격(standing)이없다고판단하여소송을기각하였다.  왜냐하면특허침해소송에서는특허의모든공동소유자가원고로참여해야하지만Sandia는소송참여를하지않기로결정하였기때문이다.  마지막으로CAFC는연방지방법원과마찬가지로본사건은연방민사소송규칙 19조의involuntary joinder rule이적용되지않아Sandia를원고로강제참여시킬수없다고판단하였다.


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Election of species in case where there is no generic claim amounts to a “restriction” for applying safe harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. §121

Le-Nhung McLeland | September 18, 2013

St. Jude Medical, Inc. v. Access Closure, Inc.

September 11, 2013

Panel: Lourie, Plager and Wallach.  Opinion by Plager. Concurring opinion by Lourie.

Summary:

St Jude Medical, Inc. asserts two sets of patents against Access Closure, Inc. (ACI).  The patents claim methods and devices for sealing a “vascular puncture” into a vein or artery made during a medical procedure.

Claims 7, 8 and 9 of the Janzen patent are invalid for double patenting over the claims of a copending “sibling” application because claims 7, 8 and 9 are directed to an invention identified as Group II in a restriction requirement, further limited to species C, and the claims in the sibling patent are directed to a Group II invention but without any limitation to species.  The safe harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. §121 does not apply because the claims of the Janzen patent are not patentably distinct from the claims of the sibling patent, and the patents do not maintain the “consonance” created by the original restriction requirement and requirement for election of species.

The claims of the two Fowler patents asserted by St Jude Medical are not obvious over a combination of two cited references because the references teach alternative methods (inserting a balloon or inserting a gelfoam stick) for achieving hemostasis, whereas the claims in the Fowler patents use a balloon for another purpose, i.e., to help position a plug and prevent it from entering a blood vessel.


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Problems That May Arise When Inventor Changes Employment: Obviousness-type Double Patenting

Stephen G. Adrian | March 13, 2013

In Re Jeffery Hubbell

March 7, 2013

Panel:  Newman, O’Malley and Wallach.  Opinion by O’Malley.  Dissent by Newman.

Summary

Most patent practitioners would not be worried about an issued patent having a much later filing date than the application they are prosecuting. However, this case illustrates that such a patent can ultimately bar their application from issuing due to the doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting.


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