CAFC rules Board misapplied law of common sense

On August 10, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an important ruling in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Apple, Inc.

The dispute dates back several years to December 2, 2013, when Apple Inc., Google, Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC (collectively “Appellees”) filed a petition for inter partes review (“IPR”) of U.S. Patent No. 7,917,843, which is owned by appellant Arendi S.A.R.L. After conducting the administrative trial proceeding, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) issued a decision finding claims 1-2, 8, 14-17, 20-21, 23-24, 30, 36-39, and 42-43 obvious.

The Federal Circuit panel (Judges Moore, Linn and O’Malley) determined that the Board misapplied the law on the permissible use of common sense in an obviousness analysis and reversed.

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Federal Circuit finds another software patent claim eligible

Recently,  the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in BASCOM Global Internet Services, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC. Writing the opinion for the majority was Judge Raymond Chen, who also authored the Court’s decision in DDR Holdings, which is one of the few cases to similarly find software patent claims to be patent eligible. Joining Chen on the panel were Judges O’Malley and Newman, with Judge Newman concurring and writing separately.

In this case, the Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that the filtering of content is an abstract idea because “it is a long-standing, well-known method of organizing human behavior, similar to concepts previously found to be abstract.” However, the Federal Circuit ruled that the claims did add significantly more and, therefore, the claims are patent eligible.

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Patent Eligibility Relief for the Life Sciences Sector

Several weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Rapid Litigation Management LTD v. Cellzdirect, Inc. The patent owner appealed the decision of the district court, which had concluded that claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,604,929 were patent ineligible under the “law of nature” doctrine. The unanimous Federal Circuit panel, which was made up of Chief Judge Prost (writing for the majority), Judge Moore and Judge Stoll, vacated and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Federal Circuit ruled that the ‘929 patent claims in question were not directed to a patent-ineligible concept.

This decision could well mark a significant turning point and give real relief to innovators in the life sciences arena. Up until now, the Federal Circuit has avoided a narrow reading of the Supreme Court’s recent precedents in Mayo v. Prometheus and AMP v. Myriad Genetics. It is difficult to know exactly why that has been the case, but one strong possibility is that the Federal Circuit was looking to the Supreme Court to clarify and narrow the expansive language that they used in Mayo and Myriad.

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Federal Circuit finds data storage software claims patent eligible

Several weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shook up the patent world with a somewhat unexpected gift for patent owners, particularly patent owners and applicants seeking software patents. The Court issued an important decision on software patent eligibility in Enfish LLC v. Microsoft.

The opinion by Judge Hughes, who was joined by Judge Moore and Judge Taranto, doubles the total of Federal Circuit decisions where claims in a software patent were deemed to be patent eligible because they are not abstract. In other words, DDR Holdings is no longer the only point of hope for innovators and patent owners in the software space.

This case stared when Enfish sued Microsoft for patent infringement. The patents at issue were U.S. Patent No. 6,151,604 and U.S. Patent No. 6,163,775, both issued in late 2000 and both claiming priority to the same application filed in March 1995. The ’604 and ’775 patents are directed to an innovative logical model for a computer database. A logical model is a model of data for a computer database explaining how the various elements of information are related to one another. Contrary to conventional logical models, the patented logical model includes all data entities in a single table, with column definitions provided by rows in that same table. The patents describe this as the “self-referential” property of the database.

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Federal Circuit shines ray of hope for substitute claims in IPR

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG, relating to an appeal from the inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 7,347,011, owned by Nike.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted the IPR petition filed by Adidas AG and instituted inter partes review of claims 1–46 of the ’011 patent. Nike then filed a motion to amend in which it requested cancellation of claims 1–46 and proposed substitute claims 47–50. The PTAB granted the motion to cancel claims 1-46, but denied the motion to substitute claims, as has become the norm in virtually all cases.

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