Licensing : CAFC Alert

License agreement to a patent may extend to a corresponding reissue patent

Andrew Melick | December 19, 2012

Intel Corp. v. Negotiated Data Solutions, Inc.

December 17, 2012

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

Summary

Intel and National Semiconductor Corp. (“National”) entered into a cross-licensing agreement.  The agreement gave Intel rights to National’s patents and patent applications having an effective filing date during the period in the agreement which lasted from 1976 to 2003.   This case deals with four patents that were covered under the agreement. National assigned these patents to Vertical Networks, Inc. (“Vertical”) in 1998.  Vertical then filed broadening reissue applications for three of the patents.  In 2003, Vertical assigned the original patents and the reissue applications to Negotiated Data Solutions, Inc. (“N-Data”).  In 2005 and 2006, well after the agreement expired, the PTO issued reissue patents to N-Data.  The issue in this case is whether the agreement, which licenses National patents to Intel, automatically extends to any reissue patents that are derived from those licensed National patents.  The CAFC held that the license agreement extends to the full scope of any coverage available by way of reissue for the invention disclosed.


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Burden of persuasion in the post-MedImmune world

Stephen G. Adrian | September 27, 2012

Medtronic v. Boston Scientific Corporation, Guidant Corporation and Mirowski Family Ventures

September 18, 2012

Panel:  Lourie, Linn, Prost.  Opinion by Linn.

Summary

This decision discusses who carries the burden of persuasion in the post-MedImmune world. This question arises as a consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision in MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., 549 U.S. 118 (2007). In MedImmune, the Supreme Court found declaratory judgment jurisdiction even though the declaratory judgment plaintiff-licensee continued to make royalty payments pursuant to a license. The Court reasoned that a licensee should not be forced to cease royalty payments and risk infringement liability before the licensee can challenge the extent of coverage of the license.

The district court entered judgment of non-infringement in favor of Medtronic and judgment of validity and enforceability in favor of Mirowski Family Ventures (MFV). MFV appeals the judgment of non-infringement and Medtronic cross appeals the district court’s claim construction.  The CAFC vacates the district court ruling and remands.


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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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In a dispute over a patent licensing agreement, CAFC refuses to deny enforcement of an arbitration clause based on a technicality

Ryan Chirnomas | March 29, 2012

Promega Corporation et al. v. Life Technologies Corporation et al.

March 28, 2012

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

Summary

Despite an oversight relating to transfer of a patent licensing agreement during a licensee’s merger proceedings, the Federal Circuit held that the licensee retained its right to demand arbitration in a dispute with a sub-licensee. Although the licensee ultimately did not suffer any negative legal consequences due to this oversight, this case provides a good reminder to corporate IP counsel to carefully review all tech transfer agreements during mergers or reorganizations.  Here, a single letter to the sub-licensee could have saved the licensee from significant distraction.


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