AndrewMelick : CAFC Alert

Limitations describing how an apparatus is made can structurally limit the apparatus

Andrew Melick | June 12, 2013

Regents of University of Minnesota v. AGA Medical Corp.

June 3, 2013

Panel:  Rader, Wallach, Dyk.  Opinion by Dyk.

Summary

Regents of University of Minnesota (“University”) sued AGA Medical for infringement of U.S. Patents 6,077,281 and 6,077,291 directed to medical devices called septal occluders.  A claim at issue recites two disks having central membranes, the two disks being “affixed” to each other at the central membranes “to define a conjoint disk.”  The accused product was a molded one-piece device.  In the district court, the claim was construed as to require that the disks, before being affixed, exist separately as individual disks that are then attached to each other.  Since the accused device was a single molded device and was not constructed from two separate disks, the district court entered summary judgment of non-infringement.  The CAFC affirmed this construction and the summary judgment of non-infringement.

Another claim at issue was found to be anticipated.  The University attempted to use prosecution disclaimer to narrow the claim and avoid anticipation.  However, the court rejected the prosecution disclaimer because the prosecution disclaimer was from a parent application and applied to “materially” different claim language.


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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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Presumption of validity attaches to all issued patents, even incorrectly issued patents

Andrew Melick | July 5, 2012

Sciele Pharma Inc. v. Lupin Ltd.

July 2, 2012

Panel: Lourie, Prost, Moore.  Opinion by Moore

Summary

Shionogi (new name for Sciele Pharma) obtained US Patent No. 6,866,866 (“the ‘866 patent”) which included broader claims that were intended to be cancelled in favor of narrower claims in response to a rejection.  Shionogi brought suit against Lupin for infringement of the ‘866 patent including claims that were to be cancelled.  Lupin began selling the alleged infringing product and Shionogi moved for a preliminary injunction.  The District Court granted Shionogi’s request for preliminary injunction and Lupin appealed.  On appeal, the CAFC stated that even though the ‘866 patent issued with the incorrect claims, the ‘866 patent nonetheless had a presumption of validity and that the clear and convincing evidentiary standard applied for invalidating the patent.  The CAFC also stated that there is not a heightened standard just because references were considered by the PTO.  With the proper clear and convincing evidentiary standard applied to the ‘866 patent, the CAFC stated that Lupin has raised a substantial question of invalidity, and thus, the preliminary injunction is vacated.


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CAFC provides guidance for patent eligibility of computer aided methods

Andrew Melick | February 1, 2012

Dealertrack v. Huber

January 20, 2012

Panel:  Linn, Plager Dyk. Opinion by Linn.  Dissent by Plager.

Summary

The CAFC affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity for patent ineligibility under § 101.  The CAFC stated that the claim at issue recited a “computer aided method” without reciting how the computer aids the method, the extent to which a computer aids the method, or the significance of a computer to the performance of the method.  The claims are invalid as being directed to an abstract idea preemptive of a fundamental concept or idea that would foreclose innovation in this area.  Other issues were addressed in the opinion; however, this discussion only addresses the issue of patent eligibility under § 101.


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