Collateral Estoppel Prevents Reexam Claim from being Enforced

On November 19, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in e.Digital Corporation v. Futurewei Technologies, Inc. e.Digital appealed from a judgment of non-infringement made by the U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of California. The district court based its determination of non-infringement on the fact that e.Digital was collaterally estopped from seeking a construction of a claim limitation in e.Digital’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,491,774 and 5,839,108 different from another court’s previous construction of the same limitation in the ’774 patent.

The Federal Circuit, with Judge Moore writing and joined by Judges O’Malley and Reyna, held that the district court correctly applied collateral estoppel to the ’774 patent, but improperly applied the doctrine to the unrelated ’108 patent.

To understand the ruling in this case one must first look at the prior case that construed the critical claim. Previously, in a litigation in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Colorado, e.Digital asserted claims 1 and 19 of the ’774 patent. The ’774 patent discloses a device with a microphone and a removable, interchangeable flash memory recording medium that allows for audio recording and playback. Asserted claims 1 and 19 recited “a flash memory module which operates as sole memory of the received processed sound electrical signals.” The district court construed the sole memory limitation to require “that the device use only flash memory, not RAM or any other memory system” to store the “received processed sound electrical signals.” The district court based its construction on the written description of the ’774 patent and its determination that the use of RAM had been disclaimed during prosecution. With this claim construction decided, the parties stipulated to a dismissal of the case with prejudice.


Top 5 Patent Law Blog Posts of the Week

Today we continue our weekly installment highlighting the best of the patent blogosphere from the past week. If there are any patent blogs you think should be highlighted by our Top 5, please comment on this post and we’ll check them out.

1) Whitehouse.govHelp Us Shape Our Strategy for Intellectual Property Enforcement – This post from The White House Blog was written by Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. The purpose is to announce the Executive Office of the President’s newest initiative to develop a “new strategy of intellectual property enforcement”. Public comments on how to efficiently combat intellectual property infringement are being requested for this Strategy. For more info, click here.

2) Patents Post-Grant: Enhanced Patent Reexamination Speed Coming Soon? – This post from Oblon Spivak’s Scott McKeown discusses how the reduction in incoming requests and how these new options for contested proceedings will free up much of the Central Reexamination Unit’s examiner’s time. As such, this post suggests ex parte patent reexamination filings could potentially benefit from the newly available bandwidth.

3) Patently-O: Supreme Court Grants Cert in Already v. Nike – This post reports on Already, LLC dba Yums v. Nike, Inc., No. 11-982, and how the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in this trademark law matter could impact patent litigation.

4) Patent Docs: USPTO Takes Next Step Towards Cooperative Patent Classification System – This post shares the USPTO’s announcement in the Federal Register that on July 10, 2012, it will be hosting a Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) External User Day event (77 Fed. Reg. 37879). During the event, the USPTO will provide an overview of the CPC, a new patent classification system being jointly developed by the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO).

5) IP Watchdog: Practice Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board – This post discusses the impact of the September 16th implementation of the new post grant review procedures on law firms and the USPTO alike. The post explains the new Patent Trial and Appeal Board and its duties, the hiring of new Administrative Patent Judges “at an astounding rate”, and what the new proposed trial rules will mean to patent lawyers.

Challenges to Medical Device Patents Prominent Among Reexamination Requests Filed Week of February 6, 2012

Here is our latest weekly installment of Reexamination Requests from Scott Daniels, of Reexamination Alert and Practice Center Contributor…

There has been a notable increase in the number of reexamination requests filed against medical device patents.  That trend continued apace last week.

First, Innova Labs requested reexamination of two Inogen patents claiming structures for delivering therapeutic gases to patients (see inter partes Request Nos. (3) & (4)).  Inogen has sued Innova in the Central District of California for infringement of the patents.  Also, Globus Medical requested reexamination of three surgical access apparatus patents owned by Nuvasive (see inter partes Request Nos. (6), (7) & (8)).  Those companies are locked in an infringement action in Delaware.

And reexamination was requested for yet another Round Rock Research RFID patent and yet another Ronald Katz telephone patent (see ex parte Request Nos. (3) & (5)). (more…)

eBay Attack on Purple Leaf Electronic Transaction Patent Among the Reexamination Requests Filed Week of Jan. 23rd

Here is our latest weekly installment of Reexamination Requests from Scott Daniels, of Reexamination Alert and Practice Center Contributor…

Last week eBay replied to an infringement action filed against it in the Eastern District of Texas by Purple Leaf by seeking reexamination of the patent-in-suit (see inter partes Request No. (2)).  The Purple Leaf patent claims a process for conducting electronic transactions and making payments over the Internet.

The winner for the most reexamination requests filed wasNanosolar that challenged three Solannex patents related to photovoltaic cells (see ex parte Request Nos. (5), (6) & (7)).  The companies are in litigation over these patents in the Northern District of California.

Ex parte Request No. (4), involving U.S. Patent No. 5,337,753 owned by Biosig Instruments and claiming a heart rate monitor, is interesting in that it expressly calls for the PTO to “clarify the record” regarding the meaning of the claims.  The Request notes the ‘753 patent has been through an earlier reexamination, but that the trial judge in a pending infringement action has refused to rely on the patentee’s assertions in that earlier reexamination because they are “ambiguous.”  (more…)

Challenge to Round Rock RFID Patent, Among the Reexamination Requests Filed Week of Jan. 16th

Here is our latest weekly installment of Reexamination Requests from Scott Daniels, of Reexamination Alert and Practice Center Contributor…

In September, an unidentified party requested reexamination of four RFID patents owned by Round Rock Research.  Last Tuesday, reexamination was requested of another Round Rock RFID patent, Reissue 41,562, again by an anonymous party (see ex parte Request No. (1)).

Traditionally, reexamination has been requested of a substantial number electronics and Internet patents, but it is much less common for pharmaceutical and medical delivery patents.  In recent weeks, though, that pattern seems to be changing, with more reexamination requests directed to pharmaceutical and medical delivery patents.  That trend continued last week when reexamination was requested for two patents owned by Monosolclaiming film to be used in drug delivery systems (see ex parteRequest Nos. (3) & (4)).  Monosol has sued BioDelivery in New Jersey for infringement of the patents. (more…)