Infringement : CAFC Alert

CAFC pointers on proving lack of “substantial non-infringing uses” in pleading contributory infringement

Le-Nhung McLeland | June 20, 2012

Toshiba Corporation v. Imation Corp.

Jun 11, 2012

Panel:  Dyk, Schall, and Moore.  Opinion by Moore.  Dissent by Dyk.

Summary:

(1)   Grant of summary judgment of non-infringement as to contributory infringement of ‘751 patent affirmed because plaintiff did not meet burden of proof that there was a lack of substantial non-infringing uses.

(2)   Grant of summary judgment of non-infringement as to induced infringement of ‘751 patent vacated because district court erred as a matter of law in holding that the existence of a substantial non-infringing use precludes a finding of induced infringement.

(3)   Grant of summary judgment of non-infringement of ‘966 patent vacated because it was based on erroneous claim construction.

(4)   No clear “take away” on claim construction from discourse between majority and dissent.


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CAFC defines “common sense” and warns against impermissible hindsight

Ryan Chirnomas | June 6, 2012

Mintz and Jif-Pak Manufacturing v. Dietz & Watson and Package Concepts and Materials

May 30, 2012

Rader, Newman, Dyk.  Opinion by Rader.

Summary

This case highlights the important point that obviousness cannot be established by vague and unsubstantiated reliance on “common sense.”  Rather, Judge Rader defines the term “common sense” as “knowledge so basic that it certainly lies within the skill set of an ordinary artisan.”  The CAFC also warns against hindsight due to defining the problem to be solved based on the solution found by the inventors.   Furthermore, the CAFC reminds us that when references from a secondary technical field are used in a rejection, the person of ordinary skill in the art is not a person familiar merely with this secondary technical field, but rather a person familiar with at least the primary technical field.


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A showing of causal nexus is required between infringement and alleged harm to patentee

Kumiko Ide | May 23, 2012

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al.

May 14, 2012

Panel:  Bryson, Prost, and O’Malley.  Opinion by Bryson.  Concurrence-in-part and dissent-in-part by O’Malley.

Summary

Apple filed suit against Samsung alleging infringement of Apple’s U.S. Design Patent Nos. D593,087 (“the D’087 patent”), D618,677 (“the D’677 patent”), D504,889 (“the D’889 patent”), and U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 (“the ’381 patent”).  Apple’s iPhone embodies the design in the D’087 patent and D’677 patent, and Apple’s iPad embodies the design in the D’889 patent.  Both iPhone and iPad embody a software feature known as the “bounce-back” feature of the ‘381 patent.  The district court denied Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction with respect to each of the accused devices and all four asserted patents.  Apple appealed.  The CAFC affirms the denial of a preliminary injunction with respect to the D’087, D’677, and ’381 patents, but vacates and reminds with respect to the D’889 patent.

アップル社は、サムスン社がアップル社の米国意匠特許第D593,087号(D’087特許)、D618,677号(D’677特許)、D504,889号(D’889特許)と米国特許第7,469,381号(’381特許)を侵害しているとして訴えた。D’087特許及びD’677特許は、アップル社のiPhoneに係わる意匠で、D’889特許は、iPadに係わる意匠である。また、’381特許は、iPhone及びiPadに係わるソフトウェアである。アップル社は、サムスン社のイ号製品について仮差し止めの申し立てをしたが、地裁はこれを却下した。控訴審でCAFCは、D’087特許、D’677特許及び’381特許に関しては地裁の判決を支持したものの、D’889特許についての判決は破棄・差し戻しした。


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Revisiting Therasense, CAFC finds that an inventor’s subjective belief that submission of documents was unnecessary may not be sufficient to avoid a showing of intent to deceive

Shuji Yoshizaki | April 18, 2012

Therasense判決に基づくCAFC判決;書類のIDS提出は必要ではないとする発明者の主観だけでは欺瞞の意図の立証を避けるのには十分ではないかもしれない。

Aventis Pharma S.A. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC v. Hospira Inc. and Apotex Inc.

April 9, 2012

Panel:  Linn, Dyk, and Prost; Opinion by Prost

Summary:

The court found that the patents were invalid over withheld references, and unenforceable for inequitable conduct.

If the patentee did not narrow the ordinary meaning of  a claim term by either acting as its own lexicographer or disclaiming claim scope either in the specification or during prosecution, that  claim term cannot be interpreted more narrowly than its ordinary meaning.

If the claims at issue are found invalid over a withheld reference under the clear and convincing evidence standard, then the withheld reference is found but-for material under the preponderance of evidence in Therasense; in this case, the materiality requirement was met since the patents were invalid based on the withheld references.

The witness’ explanation that that he believed he did not need to disclose the references to the PTO may not be sufficient to show that there was no specific intent to deceive the PTO because that finding was not the single most reasonable inference that could be drawn, unless the testimony is credible and the evidence presented is supported.  The reference disclosing the information that shaped the inventive thinking should be cited, and there is no justification for telling the PTO about the prior art disclosing the problem an inventor examined while concealing key prior art disclosing the solution he chose.


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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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Lack of demonstrated criticality of narrowly claimed range fails to overcome anticipation rejection based on broadly disclosed prior art range

Ken Salen | February 22, 2012

ClearValue, Inc. v. Pearl River Polymers, Inc.

February 17, 2012

Panel:  Prost, Schall and Moore.  Opinion by Moore.

Summary

ClearValue accused Pearl River of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,120,690 (’690 patent).  The jury found that the ’690 patent was valid and indirectly infringed.  The 5th Circuit District court denied Pearl River’s subsequent motions for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) of invalidity and noninfringement of the ‘690 patent. Pearl River appealed the district court’s denial of its motions for JMOL.  Holding that the jury’s verdict was not supported by substantial evidence, the CAFC reversed the denial of the motion for JMOL of invalidity (i.e., the CAFC held the patent-in-suit invalid), concluding that a prior art limitation of “less than 150 ppm” anticipates a claimed range of “less than or equal to 50” unless criticality of the narrowly claimed range is demonstrated.


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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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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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MCKESSON TECHNOLOGIES INC. v. EPIC SYSTEMS CORPORATION, CAFC decided on April 12, 2011

Shuji Yoshizaki | April 20, 2011

Summary                 

方法クレームの直接侵害立証のためには、単一の侵害者が方法クレームの全てのステップを実施しているか、全てのステップの実行を管理/指示していることを立証しなければならない。換言すると、複数が方法クレームのステップを実行している場合には、単一の者が全てのステップの実行を管理していること、すなわち、他の者は前記単一の者のエージェントであるか、その者の命令に従う契約上の義務が必要である。

直接侵害がなければ、間接侵害もない。

この問題を解決するためには、単一の者の行為によってクレーム方法が完結するように各ステップを記述すべきであろう。後にリストしている本件訴訟のクレーム1において、最初の“initiating a communication”ステップを削除し、代わりに、2つ目のステップを“enabling communication by transporting a communication initiated by one of the plurality of users to the provider for information, wherein the provider has established a preexisting medical record for each user…”  のように記載していれば、そのようなクレーム方法は単一の者によって完結するため、権利行使上の問題を防ぐことができるであろう。

To prove direct infringement of a method claim, the patentee must show that a single party performs every step, or controls or directs the performance of every step, of the claimed method.  In other words, where more than one party performs the claimed steps, a single party must control the performance of every step, i.e., the other parties must be the agent of the single party or obligated by contract to follow the commands of the single party. 


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