Sunday, January 14, 2018

The CAFC in Exmark v. Briggs & Stratton: "While this argument seems facially logical, it fails nonetheless."

The opinion of Chief Judge Joseph F. Bataillon of D. Nebraska did not fare well at the CAFC, which began its opinion:



Exmark Manufacturing Company filed suit against
Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group, LLC in the
United States District Court for the District of Nebraska,
alleging infringement of, inter alia, claim 1 of U.S. Patent
No. 5,987,863. The district court entered summary judgment
that claim 1 was not invalid because the claim
survived multiple reexaminations involving the same
prior art. The district court also denied summary judgment
of indefiniteness with respect to claim 1.1 The case
proceeded to a jury trial, where the jury found that Briggs
willfully infringed Exmark’s patent. The jury awarded
$24,280,330 in compensatory damages, which the district
court doubled as enhanced damages for Briggs’ willful
infringement.

Briggs appeals several of the district court’s orders,
including the district court’s: (1) summary judgment that
claim 1 is not anticipated or obvious, (2) denial of summary
judgment that claim 1 is indefinite, (3) denial of a
new trial on damages, (4) evidentiary rulings related to
damages, (5) denial of a new trial on willfulness, and
(6) denial of Briggs’ laches defense.

We conclude the district court erred by basing its
summary judgment of no invalidity solely on the fact that
claim 1 survived multiple reexaminations. Accordingly,
we vacate the district court’s summary judgment of no
invalidity. We remand to the district court for it to make
an independent determination of whether genuine issues
of material fact preclude summary judgment that claim 1
is not anticipated or obvious in view of the prior art. We
also hold that the district court erred in denying a new
trial on damages because Exmark’s damages expert failed
to provide an adequate explanation as to how she arrived
at a 5% royalty rate for the patented feature relative to
other conventional features of the accused products. We
also conclude that the district court abused its discretion
by limiting the evidence relevant to damages to prior art
that had been commercialized. Likewise, we conclude
that the district court abused its discretion by excluding
from the willfulness trial evidence relating to patent
validity based on its determination that Briggs’ invalidity
defenses were objectively unreasonable. The district
court’s evidentiary ruling does not comport with the
Supreme Court’s recent decision in Halo Electronics, Inc.
v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016), mandating
that willfulness is to be determined by the jury regardless
of whether Briggs’ defenses were objectively
reasonable. Accordingly, we vacate the jury’s finding of
willfulness, vacate the jury’s damages award, vacate the
district court’s enhanced damages award, and remand for
proceedings consistent with this precedent. We also
affirm the district court’s denial of summary judgment
that claim 1 is indefinite, and affirm its denial of Briggs’
laches defense.



The lack of an independent analysis by the district court
was found to be problematic:


Briggs argues that the district court erred by granting
summary judgment that claim 1 is not invalid as anticipated
or obvious based solely on the fact that claim 1
survived multiple reexaminations involving the same
prior art. We agree.
The district court’s summary judgment decision was
limited to a single paragraph containing a single basis.

(...)

Though the district court stated that
it gave the reexaminations “some, though not determinative,
weight,” id. (emphasis added), it appears from its
cursory decision that, in fact, the court granted summary
judgment based on the claim surviving multiple reexaminations.
No other explanation for granting summary
judgment was provided. The question thus presented is
whether a reexamination confirming patentability of a
claim can form the sole basis for granting summary
judgment that a claim is not invalid based on the same
prior art.
We hold that a reexamination confirming patentability
of a patent claim alone is not determinative of whether
a genuine issue of fact precludes summary judgment of no
invalidity. Surviving a reexamination does not warrant
ipso facto summary judgment that a patent is not invalid.
Holding otherwise would improperly give complete deference
and preclusive effect to the PTO’s patentability
determination, foreclosing challenges to patent validity in
district court based on the same prior art.



The CAFC went on to say:



Our holding is supported by our prior decisions stating
that a district court “is never bound by an examiner’s
finding in an ex parte patent application proceeding.”
Pfizer, Inc. v. Apotex, Inc., 480 F.3d 1348, 1359 (Fed. Cir.
2007) (citing Fromson v. Advance Offset Plate, Inc.,
755 F.2d 1549, 1555 (Fed. Cir. 1985)). We have said the
same regarding an examiner’s findings during reissue
proceedings. See Fromson, 755 F.2d at 1555 (“The Examiner’s
decision, on an original or reissue application, is
never binding on a court.”); Interconnect Planning Corp. v.
Feil, 774 F.2d 1132, 1139 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (“IPC’s view is
incorrect that the PTO’s [reissue] decision must be given
controlling weight . . . .”). While the PTO’s findings
during reexamination are “evidence the court must consider
in determining whether the party asserting invalidity
has met its statutory burden by clear and convincing
evidence,” they are not dispositive. Fromson, 755 F.2d at
1555.
Instead, the “deference [owed] to the decisions of the
USPTO takes the form of the presumption of validity
under 35 U.S.C. § 282. That is, by statute a patent is
valid upon issuance and included within the presumption
of validity is a presumption of non-obviousness.” Pfizer,
480 F.3d at 1359 (emphases added) (citations omitted).
This presumption also follows a patent claim surviving
reexamination. See Superior Fireplace Co. v. Majestic
Prods. Co., 270 F.3d 1358, 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (“Challenges
to the validity of claims, whether regularly issued,
issued after a reexamination . . . or issued after a reissue
. . . must meet the clear and convincing standard of
persuasion. This requirement is based on the presumption
of validity.” (emphasis added) (citations omitted)).
The presumption of validity, however, is just that—a
presumption—which can be overcome by the patent
challenger who meets its high burden of proving the
factual elements of invalidity by clear and convincing
evidence. Id. We recognize the district court must consider
reexaminations as evidence “in determining whether
the party asserting invalidity has met its statutory burden
by clear and convincing evidence.” Pfizer, 480 F.3d at
1360 (quoting Fromson, 755 F.2d at 1555). But just as an
original examination resulting in patent issuance does not
foreclose an invalidity attack in district court, so too does
a reexamination confirming a claim not preclude a patent
challenger from meeting its burden of proving invalidity.
We thus “affirm the obligation of the district court to
reach an independent conclusion.” Interconnect, 774 F.2d
at 1139.




The same could be said of a district court's obligation
of de novo review of a magistrate's conclusions of law.

**Of interest:


Finally, Exmark asserts that Briggs’ strategic decision
to challenge validity through reexamination at the
PTO gave Briggs advantages that it would not get in
district court, including a lack of a presumption of validity
and the ability to rely on the broadest reasonable interpretation.
Therefore, Exmark argues, Briggs cannot
ignore the result of reexamination having chosen its
forum and lost. Exmark seems to suggest that because
Briggs was unable to invalidate the claims under a lower
standard of patentability and a broader claim construction
standard, Briggs cannot establish invalidity by clear
and convincing evidence. While this argument seems
facially logical, it fails nonetheless.

It is important to consider the substantive and procedural
differences between challenging patentability in an
ex parte reexamination and challenging patent validity in
federal court. Notably, unlike challenging validity in
district court, in an ex parte reexamination, the claims
are construed under the broadest reasonable interpretation,
the patent challenger does not participate beyond its
initial request for reexamination, the admission of evidence
is not governed by the Federal Rules, and the
burden of proving unpatentability is merely a preponderance
of evidence. Such differences, however, are material
in district court litigation. For example, the scope of the
construed claims, particularly to the extent there are
differences between the PTO’s and district court’s construction,
must be considered in determining whether a
genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a prior
art reference anticipates or renders a claim obvious.
In this case, the district court adopted the parties’
agreed-to construction of “first flow control baffle” as “a
front structure within the walls of the mower deck that
controls the flow of air and grass clippings.” Exmark Mfg.
Co. v. Briggs & Stratton Power Prods. Grp., LLC, No.
8:10CV187, 2011 WL 5976264, at *4 (D. Neb. Nov. 29,
2011); see also J.A. 1558 at 105:14–18. On appeal of the
reexamination before the Board, in which Briggs did not
participate, Exmark and the examiner disagreed about
the proper interpretation of “baffle” and “flow control
baffle.” Exmark argued that “the entire first flow control
baffle must be a baffle, and thus, the individual baffle
portions must also be baffles,” and that “a ‘baffle’ needs to
control the flow of air and grass clippings.” J.A. 3708.
The Board agreed with Exmark and construed “baffle”
and “flow control baffle” as “an element that ‘controls’ the
flow of air and grass clippings within the mower deck in a
‘meaningful way.’” J.A. 3707.




***Of previously reviewed prior art, note a previous
post on IPBiz, including text:


Beecham's '639 patent on nabumetone (RELAFEN) was found invalid
over prior art that had been examined by the PTO.

There were separate issues of unenforceability (inequitable conduct).
Curiously, in a parallel application to that leading to the '639 patent,
Beecham told the PTO that the prior art did not even disclose the compound nabumetone.

I had written in Intellectual Property Today in July 2001 ("A Tale of Conflicting Models - The Coming Skirmish on the IP Frontier"): (...)



See
GlaxoSmithKline settles RELAFEN case


See also
http://ipbiz.blogspot.fr/2008/08/patent-attorneys-should-not-assume-peer.html

Values learned from Gettysburg


Back in October 2017, there was some flutter about a Twitter posting by James Comey, which included a photograph from
Gettysburg National Military Park.
See James Comey might be pondering 'leadership and values' at Gettysburg .

A bit of detective work had preceded this. See This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account by
Ashley Feinberg.

LBE includes here a photo at Little Round Top at Gettysburg taken in January 2018 showing a soaring hawk against a cloud framed by the statue of Brigadier General Gouverneur Kemble Warren.

Warren was a significant hero at Gettysburg, for recognizing the significance of Little Round Top. HOWEVER, after Five Forks, Warren was removed from command of V Corps, and spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name.

As to the hawk, cross-reference to the opening and closing scenes of the movie "Bridge on the River Kwai."

Photo by LBE:


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Darrell Issa of California's 49th congressional district not running for re-election

Although known in IP circles for his patent positions, Issa was involved in the recall of then Governor Gray Davis; from wikipedia:


Issa came to national prominence in 2003 when he contributed more than $1.6 million to help fund a signature-gathering drive for the petition to recall California Governor Gray Davis. At the time he made the contribution, it was widely believed that Issa intended to place himself on the ballot to replace Davis. However, following the entrance of fellow Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger into the race, two days before the filing deadline, Issa announced that he would not run.



And, about one year ago in January 2017:


President-elect Donald Trump has decided to keep former Google executive Michelle Lee on as director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, who informed tech industry organizations gathered in Washington Thursday for a breakfast event.

Issa's comments were confirmed by two sources in attendance and a congressional aide.




link: https://www.politico.com/blogs/donald-trump-administration/2017/01/michelle-lee-patent-office-chief-to-stay-on-233847

From USInventor:


US Inventor’s Paul Morinville, along with other passionate inventors, took to the streets this weekend to protest Congressman Darrell Issa and his views on Intellectual Property policy.

Paul writes: “Issa bullied through the America Invents Act to ingratiate his friends and contributors at the CTA. While Issa is weakening our patent system, China, Europe and other countries are strengthening theirs. It is today better to patent in China than it is to patent here. If Issa is allowed to continue, we will not only be buying goods manufactured in China, but they will be invented there as well.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mixed result in Finjan case


The outcome:


A jury found Blue Coat Systems, Inc. (“Blue Coat”) liable
for infringement of four patents owned by Finjan,
Inc. (“Finjan”) and awarded approximately $39.5 million
in reasonable royalty damages. After trial, the district
court concluded that the ’844 patent was patent-eligible
under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and denied Blue Coat’s post-trial
motions for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) and a
new trial. Blue Coat appeals.

We find no error in the district court’s subject matter
eligibility determination as to the ’844 patent and agree
that substantial evidence supports the jury’s finding of
infringement of the ’844 and ’731 patents. However, we
conclude that Blue Coat was entitled to JMOL of noninfringement
for the ’968 patent because the accused
products do not perform the claimed “policy index” limitation.
On appeal, Blue Coat does not challenge the verdict
of infringement for the ’633 patent.

With respect to damages, we affirm the award with
respect to the ’731 and ’633 patents. We vacate the damages
award for the ’968 patent, as there was no infringement.
With respect to the ’844 patent, we agree with Blue
Coat that Finjan failed to apportion damages to the
infringing functionality and that the $8-per-user royalty
rate was unsupported by substantial evidence.

We therefore affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand
to the district court for further consideration of the
damages issue as to the ’844 patent.





Blue Coat, represented by Mark Lemley, prevailed on the
'968 patent matter.

From the decision:


Blue Coat also argues that it was entitled to JMOL of
non-infringement with respect to the ’968 patent because
Finjan failed to introduce substantial evidence that the
accused products implement the claimed “policy index.”
We agree.

The ’968 patent is directed to a “policy-based” cache
manager that can efficiently manage cached content
according to a plurality of security policies. The patentee
agrees that a “policy” is a rule or set of rules that determines
whether a piece of content can be accessed by a
user. Different policies can apply to different users, and
the decision of whether to let a user access content is
made by comparing the content’s security profile with the
policy governing the user’s access. Thus, the policy based
cache manager in the ’968 patent is a data structure that
keeps track of whether content is permitted under various
policies. Claim 1, the sole asserted claim, is reproduced
below, with key language underlined:

1. A policy-based cache manager, comprising:

a memory storing a cache of digital content,
a plurality of policies, and a policy
index to the cache contents, the policy index
including entries that relate cache
content and policies by indicating cache
content that is known to be allowable relative
to a given policy, for each of a plurality
of policies;

(...)

the results of which are
saved as entries in the policy index.




The CAFC noted:


As Finjan’s expert
expressly acknowledged, however, Proxy SG does not save
final decisions about whether content can be accessed by
users subject to a given policy. It simply stores the evaluation
of each individual rule that goes into making an
ultimate policy decision. This is not what the claim language
requires. The policy index claimed in the ’968
patent must store the “results” of a content evaluator’s
determination of “whether a given digital content is
allowable relative to a given policy.”




How Blue Coat prevailed at the CAFC is of interest:



At summary judgment, the district court agreed that
this claim language requires the policy index to store final
allowability determinations and noted that “Defendant’s
argument would likely prevail if all policies consist of
multiple rules or conditions.” Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat
Sys., Inc., No. 13-CV-03999-BLF, 2015 WL 3630000, at *9
(N.D. Cal. June 2, 2015). The court nevertheless declined
to grant summary judgement because “the ’968 patent
specifically provides that a policy can be just one rule.” Id.
If Proxy SG saved the results of applying each rule that
makes up a one-rule policy, it would be saving final allowability
determinations for a plurality of policies and
thus infringing. The district court therefore gave Finjan
the opportunity to prove at trial that “the Proxy SG policy
cache contains a number of condition evaluations, each of
which is determinative of whether a file is allowable
relative to one of a plurality of single condition policies.”
Id.

At trial, Finjan made no such showing. There was no
evidence indicating that the condition determinations
stored by Proxy SG are final allowability decisions for
users governed by single-rule policies. Indeed, Finjan’s
expert acknowledged that Proxy SG never saves final
allowability determinations and must instead re-evaluate
the allowability of content each time it is requested. It is
therefore clear that the jury’s infringement verdict was
not supported by substantial evidence.

Because Finjan failed to present evidence that the accused
product ever stores final allowability determinations,
Blue Coat was entitled to JMOL of noninfringement.




Of damages


Two categories of compensation for infringement are the
patentee’s lost profits and the “reasonable royalty he
would have received through arms-length bargaining.”
Lucent Techs., Inc. v. Gateway, Inc., 580 F.3d 1301, 1324
(Fed. Cir. 2009).
The only measure of damages at issue in this case is a
reasonable royalty, which “seeks to compensate the patentee
. . . for its lost opportunity to obtain a reasonable
royalty that the infringer would have been willing to pay
if it had been barred from infringing.” AstraZeneca AB v.
Apotex Corp., 782 F.3d 1324, 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (citing
Lucent Techs., 580 F.3d at 1325).



An issue



We agree with Blue Coat that the $8-per-user royalty
rate employed in Finjan’s analysis was unsupported by
substantial evidence. There is no evidence that Finjan
ever actually used or proposed an $8-per-user fee in any
comparable license or negotiation. Rather, the $8-per-user
fee is based on testimony from Finjan’s Vice President of
IP Licensing, Ivan Chaperot, that the current “starting
point” in licensing negotiations is an “8 to 16 percent
royalty rate or something that is consistent with
that . . . like $8 per user fee.” J.A. 40409. Mr. Chaperot
further testified that the 8–16% figure was based on a
2008 verdict obtained by Finjan against Secure Computing.
On this basis, Finjan’s counsel urged the jury to use
an $8-per-user royalty rate for the hypothetical negotiation
because “that’s what Finjan would have asked for at
the time.” J.A. 41654.
While any reasonable royalty analysis “necessarily involves
an element of approximation and uncertainty, a
trier of fact must have some factual basis for a determination
of a reasonable royalty.” Unisplay, S.A. v. Am. Elec.
Sign Co., 69 F.3d 512, 517 (Fed. Cir. 1995). Mr. Chaperot’s
testimony that an $8-per-user fee is “consistent with”
the 8–16% royalty rate established in Secure Computing
is insufficient. There is no evidence to support Mr. Chaperot’s
conclusory statement that an 8–16% royalty rate
would correspond to an $8-per-user fee, and Finjan fails to
adequately tie the facts of Secure Computing to the facts
in this case.
See LaserDynamics, 694 F.3d at 79
(“[A]lleging a loose or vague comparability between different
technologies or licenses does not suffice.”).
Secure Computing did not involve the ’844 patent, and
there is no evidence showing that the patents that were at
issue are economically or technologically comparable.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Post at Politico on Alex Azar highlights possible line of questioning of HHS nominee

The post at Politico begins


The drugmaker [Lilly, employer of Azar] believed the erectile dysfunction drug [Cialis] might
help a rare and deadly muscle-wasting disease that afflicts boys. The drug didn’t work
— but under a law that promotes pediatric research,
Lilly was able to extend the Cialis patent anyway for six months —
and that’s worth a lot when a medication brings in over $2 billion a year.

Critics say the brand-name drugmakers are “gaming” the patent system,
finding all sorts of ways to protect monopolies and delay competition from generics.
And Alex Azar — the former president of Eli Lilly's U.S. operations, now poised
to become the top U.S. health official — professes to oppose such tactics.




See How Trump’s HHS nominee’s drug company ‘gamed’ a patent

Pediatric extensions, which allow for testing of known drugs on young patients, are commonplace. Politico did state


The pediatric exclusivity law — the one that eventually encouraged Lilly to give kids a sex drug
— was enacted about 20 years ago with the best of intentions. Drugs don’t work the same in children
as they do in adults, and companies needed incentives to do costly studies. In addition,
the law encouraged drugmakers to do more research on rare disorders.

Lilly tested Cialis on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Its competitor Pfizer tested Viagra
in children with a lung disorder. Neither found a cure — Viagra was more likely
to harm children than to help them — but both boosted their bottom line.

PTAB cites 37 CFR 11.802(a) in St. Regis Mohawk. Contemplate history of ABA Model Rule 8.2

The PatentDocs blog includes the PTAB decision in Mylan v. St. Regis Mohawk Tribe [ Paper 124
Entered: January 4, 2018. ORDER Denying Request for Oral Hearing and Denying Renewed Request for Authorization to File Motion for Additional Discovery
37 C.F.R §§ 42.5, 42.70(a), 42.51
]

See Patent Docs post The PTAB Strikes Back

Of discovery into PTAB related to alleged bias:


But nowhere has the Tribe offered anything other than gross speculation as to any of its assertions of alleged
impartiality. See Garmin Int’l, Inc. v. Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC, Case
IPR2012-00001, Paper No. 26, slip op. at 6 (PTAB Mar. 5, 2013)
(precedential) (“The mere possibility of finding something useful, and mere
allegation that something useful will be found, are insufficient to
demonstrate that the requested discovery is necessary in the interest of
justice.”). Seeking, for example, “[t]he methodology used to determine the
annual bonuses (or other merits based compensation) for each member of
our merits panel” and “[t]he annual reviews of all members of our merits
panel” (id. at 6) serves no purpose in these proceedings and amounts to a
fishing expedition that is a waste of our time and resources.



Rule 11.802(a) appears in footnote 4:


4 We note the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct state that “[a]
practitioner shall not make a statement that a practitioner knows to be false
or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the
qualifications or integrity of a judge.” 37 C.F.R. § 11.802(a). Failure to
abide by those rules amounts to professional misconduct and may justify
disciplinary proceedings. 37 C.F.R. §§ 11.804, 11.901.


37 CFR 11.802(a) states:


11.802 JUDICIAL AND LEGAL OFFICIALS.
(a) A practitioner shall not make a statement that the practitioner knows to be false
or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications
or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate
for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.



This text relates to ABA Model Rule 8.2. The case IN RE: Christine M. MIRE. contains a relevant footnote:


The applicable rule in Louisiana is Rule 8.2 of Louisiana's Rules of Professional Conduct, which tracks Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2. Model Rule 8.2 was promulgated by the American Bar Association (ABA), after the Supreme Court, in Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64 (1964), held that statements critical of judges made by a district attorney could only be “the subject of either civil or criminal sanctions” if the statements were “false” and “made with the high degree of awareness of their probable falsity demanded by New York Times [v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964) ].” See Margarett Tarkington, Comment, The Truth Be Damned: The First Amendment, Attorney Speech, and Judicial Reputation, Geo. L.J., 97, 1567, 1568–69 nn. 1–5 and accompanying text (2009) (which contains the history of Model Rule 8 .2). The commentator further notes there is a significant disconnect between the ABA's originally intended standard and the application of Model Rule 8.2 by courts across the country. See Id., 1569 nn. 5–6 and accompanying text.



In Maryland:


MLRPC 8.2(a). To establish a violation of this rule, three things must be
proven by clear and convincing evidence: (1) that the lawyer made a false statement;
(2) that the statement concerned the qualifications or integrity of a judge or a
candidate for judicial office; and (3) that the lawyer made the statement with
knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.6 In
this case, the parties have focused on the third element – whether the statement in
Mr. Stanalonis’ campaign flyer was made with knowledge that it was false or with
reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.7


Footnote 6:



6 The rule is based on a model rule proposed by the American Bar Association.
See American Bar Association, Annotated Model Rules of Professional Conduct 651
(8th ed. 2015). Courts in other states that have adopted the rule have also recognized
that it requires proof of these three elements. See In re Charges of Unprofessional
Conduct Involving File No. 17139, 720 N.W. 2d 807, 813 (Minn. 2006).


link: http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2015/74a13ag.pdf

**Of a University of Chicago matter, see Al Alschuler on Judge Easterbrook

**See the article by Richard Undeerwood What Gets Judges in Trouble

**In the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:


A modified version of the New York Times standard applies in the context of attorney discipline. In the recent case of United States District Court v. Sandlin, 12 F.3d 861 (9th Cir.1993), the Ninth Circuit considered a disciplinary sanction under Washington Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2, which is identical to ABA Model Rule 8.2. The Court of Appeals stated:


The Supreme Courts of Missouri and Minnesota have determined that, in light of the compelling interests served by RPC 8.2(a), the standard to be applied is not the subjective one of New York Times, but is objective. [Matter of] Westfall, 808 S.W.2d [829] at 837 [1991]; In re Disciplinary Action Against Graham, 453 N.W.2d 313, 322 (Minn.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 820 [111 S. Ct. 67, 112 L. Ed. 2d 41] (1990). We agree. While the language of WSRPC 8.2(a) is consistent with the constitutional limitations placed on defamation actions by New York Times, "because of the interest in protecting the public, the administration of justice, and the profession, a purely subjective standard is inappropriate." Westfall, id. at 837. Thus, we determine what the reasonable attorney, considered in light of all his professional functions, would do in the same or similar circumstances.
Sandlin, 12 F.3d at 867.

Under this objective standard, a statement is reckless if made without any reasonable basis in fact. Id. Ignorance is not bliss; an attorney has an obligation to conduct a factual inquiry prior to speaking. See id. (without first deposing court reporter, attorney told FBI that judge ordered reporter to alter transcript); Westfall, 808 S.W.2d at 838 (without investigation, attorney made publicly televised statement accusing judge of purposefully dishonest conduct); In the Matter of Elizabeth Holtzman, 78 N.Y.2d 184, 573 N.Y.S.2d 39, 577 N.E.2d 30 (1991) (prior to obtaining trial minutes and without making any effort to interview witnesses, district attorney accused judge of requiring witness to demonstrate the position she was in when sexually assaulted), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S. Ct. 648, 116 L. Ed. 2d 665 (1991).


link: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/856/1384/1681047/
[ BUT also Yagman, 55 F.3d 1430 (9th Cir. 1995)]



Monday, January 08, 2018

DuPont prevails over Monsanto at CAFC in matter involving US 7,790,953


Inherent anticipation arises in Monsanto v. DuPont :


It is well established that such reliance on extrinsic evidence
is proper in an inherency analysis. See Telemac, 247 F.3d
at 1328 (“[R]ecourse to extrinsic evidence is proper to
determine whether a feature, while not explicitly discussed,
is necessarily present in a reference.” (citation
omitted)). Moreover, extrinsic evidence need not antedate
the critical date of the patent at issue, Schering Corp. v.
Geneva Pharm., Inc., 339 F.3d 1373, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2003)
(“[T]his court rejects the contention that inherent anticipation
requires recognition in the prior art.”), nor have
contemporaneous recognition by a PHOSITA, id.
(“[R]ecognition by a [PHOSITA] before the critical
date . . . is not required to show anticipation by inherency.”).




Of the distinction between obviousness and anticipation:


“[A]lthough anticipation can be proven inherently,
proof of inherent anticipation is not the same as proof of
obviousness.” Cohesive Techs., Inc. v. Waters Corp., 543
F.3d 1351, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2008). “Though less common,
in appropriate circumstances, a patent can be obvious in
light of a single prior art reference if it would have been
obvious to modify that reference to arrive at the patented
invention.” Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc., 832 F.3d 1355,
1361 (Fed. Cir. 2016), cert. denied sub nom. Google Inc. v.
Arendi S.A.R.L., 137 S. Ct. 1329 (2017). This court has
“repeatedly held that the motivation to modify a prior art
reference to arrive at the claimed invention need not be
the same motivation that the patentee had.” Alcon Research,
Ltd. v. Apotex Inc., 687 F.3d 1362, 1368 (Fed. Cir.
2012).





AND


The PTAB did not base its obviousness finding solely on its inherent
anticipation analysis.17 The PTAB explained that a
PHOSITA would have been motivated to modify Booth to
produce plants having more variable seed oil fatty acid
characteristics, as found in claim 2 of the ’953 patent,
because Booth “only represents the ‘[s]ingle plants and
family means that were both lowest in linolenic acid
content and highest in oleic acid content.’” E.I. DuPont,
2016 WL 4255131, at *9 (quoting Booth col. 25 ll. 61–65)).
The PTAB then “f[ou]nd this evidence sufficiently teaches
[a PHOSITA] that the progeny results also include[]
plants that have higher linolenic acid content and/or
lower oleic acid content.” Id. Monsanto points to no
statement or suggestion in Booth that it would be undesirable
to produce progeny having low seed oil levels of
linolenic acid and 65% to 80% oleic acid (i.e., the composition
recited in claim 2). See generally Appellant’s Br.
Accordingly, we uphold the PTAB’s conclusion that claim
2 would have been obvious over Booth.



Footnote 17:


Given the Examiner did not reject claim 2 on
grounds of anticipation, the PTAB could not independently
adopt this ground of rejection without following the
procedures required for a new ground of rejection. See
Honeywell Int’l Inc. v. Mexichem Amanco Holding S.A. de
C.V., 865 F.3d 1348, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (explaining
that the PTAB’s “ability to rely on different grounds [of
rejection] than the examiner” is limited (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted)).



The en banc Federal Circuit in Wi-Fi One reverses the panel decision of Achates

The question presented to the CAFC for en banc review:


The question presented for en banc rehearing is:
Should this court overrule Achates Reference Publishing,
Inc. v. Apple Inc., 803 F.3d 652 (Fed. Cir.
2015) and hold that judicial review is available for
a patent owner to challenge the PTO’s determination
that the petitioner satisfied the timeliness
requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) governing the
filing of petitions for inter partes review?
Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., 851 F.3d 1241, 1241
(Fed. Cir. 2017).



The outcome in Wi Fi One:


The question before us is whether the bar on judicial
review of institution decisions in § 314(d) applies to timebar
determinations made under § 315(b). In Achates
Reference Publishing, Inc. v. Apple Inc., 803 F.3d 652, 658
(Fed. Cir. 2015), a panel of this court held in the affirmative
that a § 315(b) time-bar determination is final and
nonappealable under § 314(d). Today, the court revisits
this question en banc.

We recognize the strong presumption in favor of judicial
review of agency actions. To overcome this presumption,
Congress must clearly and convincingly indicate its
intent to prohibit judicial review. We find no clear and
convincing indication of such congressional intent. We
therefore hold that the time-bar determinations under
§ 315(b) are appealable, overrule Achates’s contrary
conclusion
, and remand these cases to the panel for
further proceedings consistent with this opinion.




The issue, 314 vs, 315:


In § 314, subsection (a) prescribes the threshold “determin[ation]”
required for the Director to institute: a
“reasonable likelihood” that the petitioner will succeed in
its patentability challenge to at least one of the challenged
patent claims. Subsections (b) and (c) prescribe
the timing of and notice requirements for the institution
decision. And § 314(d) addresses judicial review of the
Director’s IPR institution determination under § 314.
Specifically, § 314(d) provides that “[t]he determination
by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review
under this section shall be final and nonappealable.”2
(emphasis added).
(...)
The remainder of the IPR-related provisions of the
AIA go beyond the preliminary procedural requirements
and the preliminary determination regarding likely
unpatentability. Section 315, for example, governs the
relationship between IPRs and other proceedings conducted
outside of the IPR process. The provision at issue
in this appeal, § 315(b), provides that “[a]n inter partes
review may not be instituted if the petition requesting the
proceeding is filed more than 1 year after the date on
which the petitioner, real party in interest, or privy of the
petitioner is served with a complaint alleging infringement
of the patent.” This one-year time bar does not
apply to a request for joinder under § 315(c).



The CAFC found that the "strong presumption" favoring review,
in the absence of an explicit negation of review, required
reversal of Achates:


Accordingly, if a statute is “reasonably susceptible” to an
interpretation allowing judicial review, we must adopt
such an interpretation. Kucana v. Holder, 558 U.S. 233,
251 (2010); Gutierrez de Martinez, 515 U.S. at 434.
In view of this strong presumption, we will abdicate
judicial review only when Congress provides a “clear and
convincing” indication that it intends to prohibit review.
Cuozzo, 136 S. Ct. at 2140; see Lindahl v. Office of Pers.
Mgmt., 470 U.S. 768, 778 (1985); Block, 467 U.S. at 349–
50; Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Serv., 868 F.3d 1350,
1357 (Fed. Cir. 2017).
We find no clear and convincing indication in the specific
statutory language in the AIA, the specific legislative
history of the AIA, or the statutory scheme as a whole
that demonstrates Congress’s intent to bar judicial review
of § 315(b) time-bar determinations. See Cuozzo, 136 S.
Ct. at 2140. The parties have not cited, nor are we aware
of, any specific legislative history that clearly and convincingly
indicates congressional intent to bar judicial
review of § 315(b) time-bar determinations. We review
the statutory language and the statutory scheme in turn.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Flap at Princeton University over amendments to Honor System. It’s not students’ responsibility to protect the University from legal liability?


A letter to the Daily Princetonian titled Concerning amendments to the constitution of the Honor System discusses some procedural issues related to voted-upon amendments to Princeton's Constitution of the Honor System.

As to Amendments 2-4, from a 10 Dec 2017 letter by Ling Ritter Princeton ’19 :


The second referendum sponsored by the USG Subcommittee on the Honor Constitution establishes a minimum standard of “at least two separate pieces of evidence, each of which indicates that a violation occurred” necessary for the Honor Committee to put a student through a hearing. The opposition claims that this standard would force the Chair and investigators to make pre-hearing judgments on the strength of the evidence. Firstly, the Chair’s role of overseeing investigations means that he or she sees all the evidence collected in an investigation, even if some of that evidence doesn’t make it into the hearing room. Because of this role, it is impossible for a Chair to enter a hearing unbiased.
(...)
The third referendum necessitates that the Honor Committee find a student not responsible if the professor states that the student’s actions were not in violation of their course policy.
(...)
The fourth referendum requires Honor Committee investigators to inform students whether they are under investigation or are being asked to serve as a witness when they first contact students. Presently, Honor Committee investigators call students from a restricted number and ask them to come to an office on Nassau Street without any information other than that they’d like to speak to them.



link: Why we need to reform the Honor Constitution: a former Honor Committee member explains

Micah Herskind wrote on the first amendment:


The first reform is the most controversial: Won’t reducing the standard penalty to probation and failure of exam mean that Princeton doesn’t value academic integrity?



Also within Micah's text was the interesting statement:


The opposition has also made vague arguments about the legality of inconsistent penalties between the Honor Committee and the Committee on Discipline. These legal arguments are never explicated – we’re expected to trust the opposition that it’s impossible to change the standard penalty. However, it’s not students’ responsibility to protect the University from legal liability; rather, we must create the most equitable system possible with the referenda power endowed to us.



link to Herskind text: Proportionate penalty: Comments from former Honor Committee members


**More than ten years ago, IPBiz discussed a certain case involving a Princeton student that went to state court, 186 N.J. Super. 548; 453 A.2d 263. See Plagiarism in academic contexts: a look at the past


UPDATE on 9 Jan 18:

On the Honor Code Referenda: Why aren’t we mobilizing?

“Copyright Claims Board" ??


The likelihoodofconfusion blog has some text about a possibly forthcoming "small claims" copyright board:


Because of this problem, there has been a movement afoot for years to establish a small-claims process for,
well, small copyright claims, which is now being described as the “Copyright Claims Board.” And
because of this tweet, I learned today that the effort seems to be getting somewhere.
It’s called the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act (H.R.3945)



See Reforming Little Copyright

Maybe there could be a "screening" board, for cases like the "Taylor Swift" matter.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Apotex prevails at the CAFC in case about extended release dosage forms of cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride

The decision of Judge Robinson of D. Delaware in APTALIS v. Apotex was vacated :


In this Hatch-Waxman case, Apotex Inc. and Apotex
Corp. appeal from the district court’s claim construction of
“extended release coating” and its finding that Apotex’s
product infringes U.S. Patent Nos. 7,790,199 and
7,829,121. We conclude that the district court erred by
not construing the term “extended release coating” to
require a continuous outer film, as taught by the intrinsic
evidence. Accordingly, we vacate the infringement finding
and remand for further proceedings.


Note


When construing claims, “there is sometimes a fine
line between reading a claim in light of the specification,
and reading a limitation into the claim from the specification.”
Comark Commc’ns, Inc. v. Harris Corp., 156 F.3d
1182, 1186 (Fed. Cir. 1998). This case tiptoes that line.
The specification does not provide a lexicographic definition
of “coating,” and the prosecution history contains no
clear and unmistakable disavowal of claim scope. Nonetheless,
Apotex contends that the intrinsic evidence would
have taught an ordinarily skilled artisan at the time of
the invention that an “extended release coating” is limited
to a continuous outer film, not simply “[a] layer of any
substance that is applied onto the surface of another.”
For the reasons explained below, we agree and adopt
Apotex’s proposed construction of “extended release
coating” as “a continuous outer film applied onto the
surface of the active-containing core to provide an extended
release of the active core.” See Appellants Br. 21.



Of the issue


The specification bolsters our conclusion that the extended
release coating must be a continuous outer film.
See Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1315 (“[T]he specification ‘is
always highly relevant to the claim construction analysis.’”
(internal citation omitted)). First, every embodiment
in the specification that discusses a coating describes a
process in which the water insoluble polymer coating is
external to the active-containing core. See, e.g., ’199
patent col. 4 ll. 15–17 (“ER Beads can be produced by
applying a functional membrane comprising a water
insoluble polymerThe prosecution history offers additional support for
construing “extended release coating” to require a continuous
outer film. See Markman v. Westview Instruments,
Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 980 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc) (“To
construe claim language, the court should also consider
the patent’s prosecution history, if it is in evidence.”).
During prosecution of the ’199 patent, the applicants
submitted a declaration from Dr. James W. McGinity.
The Declaration summarizes Dr. McGinity’s interview
with the examiner during the prosecution of a related
patent application that shares the same specification as
the asserted patents. alone or in combination with a water
soluble polymer onto IR Beads.”);
(...)





Note


Finally, Aptalis contends that the prosecution history
is irrelevant to the claim construction question here
because there is no clear and unmistakable disavowal of
claim scope. Our precedent does not support this proposition.
We have stated that “[a]ny explanation, elaboration,
or qualification presented by the inventor during patent
examination is relevant, for the role of claim construction
is to ‘capture the scope of the actual invention’ that is
disclosed, described, and patented.” Fenner Invs., Ltd. v.
Cellco P’ship, 778 F.3d 1320, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (quoting
Retractable Techs., Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co.,
653 F.3d 1296, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2011)). Although the
prosecution history may lack the clarity imbued by the
specification, it “can often inform the meaning of the
claim language by demonstrating how the inventor understood
the invention and whether the inventor limited
the invention in the course of prosecution, making the
claim scope narrower than it would otherwise be.” Phillips,
415 F.3d at 1317. Accordingly, even in the absence of
a clear and unmistakable disavowal, we conclude that the
prosecution history can be evaluated to determine how a
person of ordinary skill would understand a given claim
term.

Everlight prevails against Nichia at CAFC in LED case



Everlight brought a declaratory judgment suit against
Nichia seeking a determination of non-infringement,
invalidity, or unenforceability of U.S. Patent Nos.
5,998,925 (the ’925 patent) and 7,531,960 (the ’960 patent)
(together, the Patents-in-Suit). Nichia filed counterclaims
for infringement against Everlight.
(...)
Following the trials, Nichia moved for judgment as a matter
of law (JMOL) of validity and/or a new trial, which the
district court denied, holding that substantial evidence
supported the jury verdict of invalidity. See Everlight
Elecs. Co. v. Nichia Corp., No. 12-cv-11758, 2016 WL
8232553, at *1 (E.D. Mi. Jan. 19, 2016); J.A. 34−35 (Final
Judgment). Nichia appeals this ruling. Everlight cross
appeals the ruling of no inequitable conduct. We have
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(1). Because
the jury verdict is supported by substantial evidence, and
because the district court did not err in denying Everlight’s
inequitable conduct claim, we affirm on all
grounds



The technical area:


Both Patents-in-Suit are directed to the combination
of a blue light-emitting diode (LED) and a blue-to-yellow
phosphor—a chemical which absorbs one color of light and
emits another—to produce a white LED.



All elements of the claims in question were known in the art.
Of motivation to combine:


As to motivation to combine, the district court noted
that evidence was presented to the jury that (1) there was
a large market demand for white LEDs; (2) the gallium
nitride blue LED was a revolutionary breakthrough which
was necessary to the development of a white LED;
(3) testimony from both parties indicated that the invention
of the blue LED naturally led to the use of a blue-toyellow
phosphor to produce a white LED; (4) there were a
limited number of blue-to-yellow phosphors; and
(5) YAG’s properties were well-known to skilled artisans
at the time of the alleged invention. Id. at *10. Thus, the
district court found that a reasonable jury could have
concluded that the alleged invention was no more than
the “combination of familiar elements according to known
methods” to “yield predictable results.” Id. (citing KSR
Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 416 (2007)).



Simultaneous invention arose:


Furthermore, the court noted,
Everlight had presented substantial evidence of simultaneous
invention of the alleged invention by Osram, a
competitor of Nichia. Everlight, 2016 WL 8232553, at
*12−13 (citing Geo. M. Martin Co. v. All. Mach. Sys. Int’l
LLC, 618 F.3d 1294, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2010)). Thus, a
reasonable jury could have found that secondary considerations
did not weigh in favor of nonobviousness.
(..,)
For example, the jury heard evidence of independent
development by Osram of a white LED “within weeks
of Nichia.” Id. at *12; see J.A. 17817−19, 20353−55.
Furthermore, the jury heard evidence undermining
whether Nichia’s evidence of commercial success and
contemporary praise were actually due to the claimed
invention and whether Nichia’s expert was unbiased. See
Everlight, 2016 WL 8232553, at *12−13; see also J.A.
18019, 21808, 22447−49 (awards and licenses that cover
products beyond the inventions in the Patents-in-Suit).



Nichia's arguments on the '925:


Nichia argues before this court that a person of ordinary
skill would not have been motivated to combine a
blue LED with a YAG phosphor because (1) the disclosure
of blue LEDs in the prior art focused on a so-called “threecolor”
solution in which multiple phosphors produced a
combination of red, green, and blue light to achieve white
light rather than the “two-color” solution of the ’925
patent (i.e. blue + yellow), Appellant’s Br. 30−33; (2) a
person of ordinary skill would not have recognized useful
properties of YAG phosphors such as moisture resistance,
id. at 30−33, 47−48; and (3) the prior art discouraged use
of YAG with a blue light source because of poor color
rendering, id. at 43−47. We disagree on all points.




The CAFC did not accept these arguments:


First, it is not necessary that the prior art teach a
two-color solution in order for the jury verdict to be supported
by substantial evidence.3 It is sufficient that the
prior art recognize that blue LEDs can be combined with
phosphors to produce varying light profiles
,4 that combi
nation with a blue-to-yellow phosphor would yield white
light, and that a strong market demand existed for a
white LED. See Everlight, 2016 WL 8232553, at *9 (“[I]t
was known that blue LEDs could be combined with phosphors
to change the color of light emitted by the LED.”
(citing trial exhibits and transcript)), id. (“[I]t has been
known for over 300 years that mixing blue and yellow
light results in white light (citing trial transcript)), id. at
*10 (“[It was an] undisputed fact that there was a large
market demand for white LEDs. . . . Nichia’s expert
conceded [that] the development of a commercially viable
blue LED ‘gave everyone the inventive to move forward to
create a simple blue plus yellow LED that emits white
light.’” (quoting trial transcript))



Footnote 4 begins: We recognize that Everlight’s expert made arguably
inaccurate statements at trial regarding whether Baretz
and Tadatsu disclose a blue-to-yellow phosphor.


Of the '960 patent, The ’960 patent is directed to a similar LED/phosphor
system as the ’925 patent without the YAG phosphor
limitation. Instead, the ’960 patent teaches that the
phosphor is concentrated near the surface.

As to inequitable conduct:


Everlight argued before the district court that statements
in the ’960 patent specification submitted to the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the
inventors achieved an LED with peak wavelengths “near
600 nm” were intentionally false. J.A. 60–61. The district
court held that Everlight had not shown but-for materiality
because it had not sufficiently questioned the inventors
to establish a record that their statements to the USPTO
were actually false. Everlight, 143 F. Supp. 3d at 658−59.
The district court additionally concluded that Everlight
had not shown specific intent to deceive the USPTO
because the single most reasonable inference to be drawn
from the evidence was that “the inventors should have
been more careful in keeping a record of this information
and documenting their findings.” Id. at 662 (emphasis in
original).
(...)
See Therasense., 649 F.3d at 1290 (“In
a case involving nondisclosure of information, clear and
convincing evidence must show that the applicant made a
deliberate decision to withhold a known material reference.”)
(emphasis in original). Because we agree that the
requisite showing of specific intent is lacking, we need not
reach the issue of but-for materiality. See id. (“To prevail
on a claim of inequitable conduct, the accused infringer
must prove that the patentee acted with the specific
intent to deceive the PTO.”).