Newsletter


29

Jun 2017

Claim Construction at the Patent Office: What is Reasonable?

By: Lisa Margonis During examination of patent applications, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) applies the “broadest reasonable interpretation” (“BRI”) standard to determine the meaning of claim terms.  See Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2005).  This same standard is applied to patents reviewed by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) during post-grant review.  37 C.F.R. §42.100(b).  More specifically,...

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25

Jun 2017

Efforts continue toward substantive patent law harmonization; Significant achievements in IP office cooperation are celebrated

Osha Liang managing partner, Jonathan Osha, participated as a member of AIPLA’s Harmonization Task Force in a series of recent meetings relating to international harmonization of patent law, developments in inter-Office cooperation, and improvements to the overall user experience.  On May 29 and May 30, the Industry Trilateral group, including representatives from AIPLA, IPO, Business Europe, and JIPA, met in Valletta, Malta.  Issues discussed included harmonization...

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23

Jun 2017

The SLANTS Win Epic Trademark Battle – Supreme Court Rules the “Disparagement Clause” of Trademark Act is Unconstitutional

By: John Montgomery The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, finding the longstanding “disparagement clause” of the Trademark Act of 1946 (the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)) unconstitutional, in violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. In an earlier Osha Liang Newsletter article (click here...

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19

Jun 2017

Requirements to Validly Prove An Entitlement to Claim Priority Before the EPO

By: Elsa Benveniste In the recent decision T577/11, a Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) considered the issue of an entitlement to claim priority before the EPO, particularly when a transfer of a first patent application occurs before the filing date of a subsequent European application claiming priority on the first application. As in previous decisions, the Board confirmed once again...

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15

Jun 2017

UPC Update (June 2017)

By: Francesca Giovannini As mentioned in Osha Liang’s previous newsletters, the ratification process of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement has not been completed yet because two of the mandatory participating states—namely the UK and Germany—have yet to conclude their ratification process for the UPC to operate. In addition to the uncertainties generated by the Brexit vote, further doubts have been cast upon imminent operation...

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12

Jun 2017

Upheaval in the Patent World? Potential Impact of U.S. Supreme Court Consideration of Inter Partes Review

By: Suzanne Lecocke and Peter Schechter Expected within the next twelve months are two United States Supreme Court rulings that could, once again, significantly alter litigation strategies for both a patentee and an accused infringer in the United States. On May 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of SAS Inst. Inc. v. Lee, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 3236 (U.S. May 22,...

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10

Jun 2017

Jordan Joins the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

As of June 9, 2017, Jordan has become the 152nd member state of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Any PCT application filed on or after this date will automatically include Jordan. Jordanian nationals and residents will be able to submit patent applications through the Jordanian Patent Office. The accession of Jordan to the PCT benefits both local and foreign applicants, which will contribute to the...

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05

Jun 2017

U.S. Patent Rights End With The First Sale Anywhere

By: Peter Schechter From at least as early as the mid-19th century until the early 1990s, it was nearly uniformly understood that once a patented item was sold by or under the authority of the patentee, all patent rights as to the specific item sold were “exhausted.”  This exhaustion rule or “first sale doctrine” was a feature of English (and subsequently American) law since the...

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30

May 2017

Litigation Before The Unified Patent Court: What Will It Look Like?

By: Francesca Giovannini As is known, the UK and Germany have still to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement before it can enter into force. Germany is expected to ratify after the UK has completed the ratification process. If the UK’s intention to ratify the UPC Agreement declared last November is maintained, the UK could ratify it after the elections called for June 8, presumably...

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30

May 2017

A Brewing Dispute: Coffee Pods and the Written Description Requirement

By: Annemarie Vicere On May 23, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued a decision finding claims that had been broadened during prosecution in a manner to encompass undisclosed embodiments to be invalid under the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112.  Rivera v. ITC., Case No. 2016-1841 (“Rivera”).  The patent at issue in Rivera is directed to...

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26

May 2017

Section 102 Bar Provision Unchanged…For Now

By: Carlyn Burton In the first consideration of the substantive amendments of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.[i] weighed the statutory amendment of the on-sale bar provision. The on-sale bar, found within section 102 of the patent act, serves as a bar to patentability to prevent an...

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24

May 2017

PTAB Reverses Course Mid-Torrent: Use of “Inapplicable” Prior Art During IPR

By: Rusty Rogers This is a cautionary tale about the ability of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeals Board’s (PTAB) to rely on additional prior art references in a decision on inter partes review (IPR) – even prior art initially deemed “inapplicable.”  In its recent decision in Novartis AG v. Torrent Pharmaceuticals (April 12, 2017), the Court of Appeals of The Federal Circuit (CAFC) approved the PTAB’s use of prior...

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22

May 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Changes 30 Years of Patent Venue Law

By: Califf Cooper On May 22, 2017, in the long-awaited and much-anticipated decision of TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the patent venue statute holding that “a domestic corporation ‘resides’ only in its State of incorporation.”  The ruling curbs patent forum shopping and deals a big blow to the patent litigation hotbed of the Eastern District of Texas. Kraft Foods...

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22

May 2017

Another legislative proposal from a major intellectual property organization seeking to calm the 101 waters, this time from AIPLA

By: Robert Lord and Kelly McKinney The current state of § 101 jurisprudence in the United States (“U.S.”) is shrouded in confusion and uncertainty.  Indeed, decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as set forth in Alice and its progeny, have been inconsistent and lack clear guidance on how to analyze patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C....

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15

May 2017

China Is Formulating Guidelines for Anti-Monopoly Enforcement against Abuse of IPRs

By: Han-Mei Tso and Jude Yi Recently, the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China released to the public “Anti-Monopoly Enforcement Guidelines on Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights” (hereafter, “Guidelines”), welcoming comments from March 23, 2017, to April 21, 2017. These Guidelines, drafted by the Anti-Monopoly Commission, are based on a prior proposal jointly contributed by the National Development and Reform...

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05

May 2017

Functional Claim Language: The Indefiniteness Trap

By: Seema Mehta and Jonathan Osha Functional claim limitations define an element of an invention in terms of what it does rather than in terms of its structure.  In the United States, 35 U.S.C. §112(f) (pre-A.I.A. 35 U.S.C. §112, 6th paragraph) provides that “means-plus-function” and “step-plus-function” limitations are interpreted to cover the structure or acts disclosed in the specification to perform the recited functions, and...

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01

May 2017

China’s Supreme Court Published New Guiding Cases in IP – Part I: Liability of E-Commerce Platform in Patent Infringement

By: Han-Mei Tso and Jude Yi In March 2017, the Supreme People’s Court of China (the Supreme Court) published its 16th set of guiding cases, including 10 intellectual property (IP) cases. It is worth noting that since the first set of guiding cases published in 2012, there were only five IP guiding cases until March 2017. This time, the Supreme Court published 10 IP related cases...

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28

Apr 2017

Update on the Digital Content Directive for the European Market

By: Catherine Caspar The European Commission has launched several initiatives for the definition of a legal framework for the implementation a single digital market in the European Union. In this context, the General Data Protection Regulation (EU Regulation 2016/679, hereafter the GDPR, full text available here), which will be applicable as of May 25, 2018, concerns the protection of natural persons with regard to the...

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28

Apr 2017

Update on the PPH Pilot Programme Between EPO and its Cooperating Offices

By: Alexandre Picot Effective February 1st, 2017, a trial period of three years has started for the PPH pilot programme between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property based on PCT and national work products. Further, effective January 6th, 2017, the IP5 PPH pilot programme has been extended for a period of three years. The EPO has also agreed...

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28

Apr 2017

Close, But Not Close Enough: Analysis of “Near Fit” Prior Art

By: A. Rusty Rogers In a recent decision, the U.S. Federal Circuit unearths a 19th century opinion to highlight the bedrock principle that anticipation requires showing that all elements of a claimed invention existed in the prior art, without the need for distortion or selective modification of a prior art reference. Anticipation under 35 U.S.C. § 102 is established when a prior art reference describes...

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28

Apr 2017

The Marking Statute, Disclaimers, and Impact on Damages

By: Thomas Scherer On April 17, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) rendered a decision in Rembrandt Wireless Technologies, L.P., v. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., et al., No. 16-1729 (Fed. Cir. 2017).  The appeal involved several issues, e.g., claim construction during infringement analysis, obviousness determinations made in invalidity analysis, and the appropriate calculation of damages.  One aspect of the case that...

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28

Apr 2017

2017 FICPI China Symposium in Hangzhou

By: Han-Mei Tso and Jude Yi The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI) China Symposium (Hangzhou) 2017, also called the 6th China IP Symposium, was held in Hangzhou, the capital city of eastern China’s Zhejiang province, from March 30 to April 1, 2017. Hangzhou, a “Historic and Cultural City”, was most recently known for successfully hosting the 11th G20 Summit. Additionally, Osha Liang’s China office...

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27

Apr 2017

12th AIPPI Baltic Conference Event Summary

By: Jonathan Osha The 12th AIPPI Baltic Conference was held in Jurmala, Latvia on April 11-13, 2017.  The Conference was organized by the Latvian National Group of AIPPI, in cooperation with the Estonian and Lithuanian National Groups. Approximately 150 registrants attended to hear two days of informative presentations, as well as to enjoy the beautiful seaside city of Jurmala. Topics discussed during the conference ranged...

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25

Apr 2017

UPC: Factors to be Considered in Making the Decision of Opting Out

By: Francesca Giovannini Despite the ongoing uncertainties in the ratification process of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, the so called “sunrise period” giving the possibility of opting out of European patents/applications from the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC before the UPC becomes operational could nevertheless start soon, i.e., in September 2017 at the earliest. In addition to the uncertainties generated by the Brexit vote,...

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21

Apr 2017

Before Suing, Know Thyself

By: Califf Cooper In Bayer Cropscience AG, et al. v. Dow Agrosciences LLC, the Federal Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s award of $5.9M in attorney’s fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 finding the case qualified as an “exceptional case.” The underlying case concerned a license for Bayer’s soybean seeds that were genetically modified to resist weed killers.  Bayer initially licensed the soybean patents to...

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31

Mar 2017

Medgraph v. Medtronic: Divided Infringement in the Limelight

By: A. Rusty Rogers In the wake of the Akamai Techs. Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc. family of decisions, the standard for finding divided infringement has become somewhat more favorable for patent holders in certain cases.  However, after protracted litigation amidst the shifting sands of divided infringement jurisprudence, Medgraph learned the hard way that establishing direct infringement between multiple actors first begins with the bedrock principle that a...

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31

Mar 2017

UPC: Confirmation that Opting Out is Planned to Start Sept. 2017

By: Francesca Giovannini The Unified Patent Court (UPC) Preparatory Committee met in The Hague on 15 March 2017 and confirmed that, as previously announced, opting out European patents and applications before the UPC becomes operational is scheduled to begin in September 2017. The UPC Preparatory Committee also confirmed that the planned entry into force of the UPC Agreement and operation of the Unified Patent Court...

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31

Mar 2017

U.S. Design Patents: the Under Utilized and Overlooked Patent

By: Connie Pielech U.S. design patents cover the ornamental design for an article of manufacture, namely, the way something looks.  Some examples include smartphones, shoewear, electronics, tires, and consumer goods.  The top organizations granted design patents in the last 10+ years include Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Nike, Inc., Sony Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, LG Electronics Inc., Proctor + Gamble Company, and Goodyear Tire + Rubber Company....

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