PTABWatch Blog

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PTABWatch, provided by Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, analyzes and reports recent developments concerning Post-Grant Proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), including Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR), and Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Board Decision Grants Motion to Amend With Respect to One Substitute Claim and Denies Motion to Amend With Respect to Other Substitute Claim The Board’s recent decision in Veeam Software Corp. v. Veritas Technologies, LLC, Case No. IPR2014-00090 (PTAB July 17, 2017), provides patent practitioners with a framework for analyzing proposed substitute claims.  The Board’s decision, granting patent owner’s motion to amend in part, should be considered in conjunction with the Federal Circuit’s decision in Veritas Technologies LLC v. Veeam Software Corp., 835 F.3d 1406 (Fed. Cir. 2016), which vacated the Board’s earlier disposition of the IPR and remanded the case to the... More
  • Rejection of Claims Containing Functional Language and a Negative Limitation Affirmed by Federal Circuit The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in In re Chudik, Appeal 2016-2673 (Fed. Cir. August 25, 2017) (non-prec.), offers patent practitioners a cautionary tale and good teaching points about the propriety of negative limitations and functional claim language.  No two situations are the same, of course, but the case offers a real-world example of how claims reciting these types of features may be assessed by the Patent Office and the Federal Circuit.  Dr. Chudik’s application concerns a humeral implant used in shoulder... More
  • Statement of Agreement or Disagreement with Attorney Argument Alone Does Not Provide Substantial Evidence To Support PTAB Findings In Google Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures II LLC, Appeal 2016-1543, 2016-1545 (Fed. Cir. July 10, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling some claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,121,960, but vacated the portion of the decision that refused to cancel other claims.  With respect to the upheld claims, the court remanded the matter because the PTAB failed to adequately explain its findings, noting that the PTAB’s “disagreement with [the petitioner] … does not amount to a... More
  • Different Invalidity Conclusions by PTAB and Federal Courts Prohibited in Inter Partes Reexamination But Permissible in IPR In Fairchild (Taiwan) Corp. v. Power Integrations, Inc., Appeal 2017-1002 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 21, 2017), the Federal Circuit determined that no inter partes reexamination proceeding can be brought or maintained on issues that a party raised or could have raised in a since-concluded civil action. Specifically, once the court issues a final judgment in the civil action that the party has not sustained its burden of proving the invalidity of the patent claim, the party may neither initiate nor maintain a... More
  • Federal Circuit Finds Portion of Board’s Obviousness Decision Supported by Substantial Evidence Despite Reduced Effectiveness of Combined Prior Art References In Slot Speaker Techs., Inc. v. Apple Inc., Nos. 2015-2038, 2015-2039 (Fed. Cir. February 17, 2017) (non-prec.), the Federal Circuit affirmed a portion of the PTAB’s decision in an IPR that concluded claims 1 and 2 of U.S. Patent No. 7,433,483 would have been obvious over a combination of two prior art references, but reversed the portion that concluded that the same combination does not render dependent claim 3 obvious. The decision is interesting because the Board and the Federal... More
  • Federal Circuit Vacates Board’s Decision Cancelling Method Claims for Purchasing Goods and Services Based on Unreasonable Claim Interpretation The Federal Circuit recently vacated PTAB final written decisions that rested on a claim construction contradicted by the patent’s prosecution history. Specifically, in D’Agostino v. Mastercard Int’l Inc., No. 2016-1592, 2016-1593 (Fed. Cir. December 22, 2016), the court vacated the Board’s IPR decisions of unpatentability of method claims in two patents directed to processes for generating limited-use transaction codes to be given to a merchant by a customer for the purchase of goods and services.  The court determined that the... More
  • Federal Circuit Affirms Board’s Decision Cancelling Claims for Oil Drilling Equipment Based on Broad Claim Construction In Schoeller Bleckmann Oilfield v. Churchill Drilling Tools U.S., No. 2016-1494 (Fed. Cir. November 9, 2016) (non-prec.), the court affirmed the Board’s IPR decision of unpatentability of claims directed to oil-drilling equipment.  The court refused to construe the challenged claims as limited to a disclosed embodiment, rejecting the patentee’s argument that the claim term “ball-like” was given an implicit definition in the specification. The challenged patent is directed to a mechanism for allowing and restricting the flow of liquid through a... More
  • District Court Rejects Indefiniteness Argument Despite Board Finding of No Corresponding Structure for Means-Plus-Function Claim A pair of recent decisions, one from a federal district court and another from the PTAB, highlight the potential of inconsistent results regarding patent validity. In Microwave Vision, S.A. v. ETS-Lindgren Inc., Civ. Action No. 1:14-CV-1153-SCJ (D. Ga. Sept. 20, 2016), the court denied an accused infringer’s (ETS’s) motion for summary judgment of invalidity, after addressing and ultimately disagreeing with the Board’s analysis of the patent in a parallel IPR. The Board opined, but did not decide, that the same... More
  • Federal Circuit Identifies Limits to the Application of “Common Sense” in an Obviousness Analysis In Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Apple, Inc., Appeal No. 2015-2073 (Fed. Cir. 2016), the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling claims for obviousness, on the basis that the PTAB improperly relied on “common sense” to determine that the claims were obvious. The challenged patent is directed to a computer-implemented method for providing beneficial coordination between a first computer program displaying a document and a second computer program for searching an external information source. The Board determined that the claims were... More