Federal Circuit Review

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Federal Circuit Construes Claim Term in a fashion that Made Claim Language Unnecessary

In SimpleAir, Corporation. v. The new sony Ericsson Mobile Commc’ns AB, Appeal No. 2015-1251, the government Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment of violation and remanded with instructions to go in judgment of non-violation for Google.

SimpleAir sued Google for patent violation, alleging that Google’s Cloud Messenger Services infringed its patent. The jury found violation and awarded SimpleAir $85 million in damages. The district court denied Google’s motions for judgment ought to be law regarding invalidity, violation, and damages. Google appealed.

On appeal, the government Circuit overturned the district court’s construction from the term “a data funnel.” By doing this, the government Circuit acknowledged that it is new construction made some servings of the claim language unnecessary, that is generally disfavored, but discovered that its new construction was the way a person of ordinary skill might have understood the claims cellular the specs. The Government Circuit then discovered that no reasonable jury might have found violation underneath the proper claim construction and remanded with instructions to go in judgment of non-violation for Google.


In IPR Proceedings, Petitioners Should Think About Whether or not to Present Redundant Anticipation and Obviousness Grounds

In HP Corporation. v. MPHJ Tech. Investments, LLC, Appeal No. 2015-1427, the government Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s findings that basically among the challenged claims within an IPR were anticipated.

HP petitioned for inter partes overview of all claims inside a patent, quarrelling that claims were both anticipated and apparent. The PTAB implemented overview of all claims on anticipation grounds, but didn’t institute according to obviousness grounds since it determined these were redundant. In the decision, the PTAB discovered that all claims, except Claim 13, were unpatentable as anticipated. HP appealed, challenging the Board’s decision to not institute on obviousness grounds.

The Government Circuit held that it’s barred from reviewing the Board’s decision to institute under 35 U.S.C. § 314(d). The § 314(d) bar on judicial review isn’t restricted to the determination whether there’s an acceptable likelihood the petitioner would prevail. However, the government Circuit described that HP won’t be estopped from challenging claim 13 in line with the obviousness ground because that ground didn’t explore the IPR.


Equitable Estoppel May Preclude an Violation Suit Whenever a Patent Holder Remains Silent, Understanding that its Customer Buys Non-Licensed Equipment from Competitors

In High Point SARL v. Sprint Nextel Corp., Appeal No. 2015-1298, the government Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment the doctrine of equitable estoppel precluded prosecution from the suit.

In 1995, Sprint started to construct a mobile phone network. Sprint collaborated with AT&T (and it is successor, Lucent) and Avaya, who have been the initial proprietors from the patents-in-suit at various occasions, and who also provided equipment to Sprint for that network. Included in this collaboration, AT&T and Lucent granted licenses for that patents-in-suit to Sprint. Sprint also joined a contract with three of their equipment vendors, Lucent, Nortel, and Motorola, which contained an awareness that every vendor’s equipment could be interoperable using the others for Sprint’s network. Sprint initially purchased licensed equipment from Lucent, but later purchased unlicensed equipment from the likes of Motorola and Nortel.

After High Point acquired the patents in 2008, it immediately asserted them against Sprint. The district court granted Sprint’s motion for summary judgment that equitable estoppel barred the suit reasoning that top Point’s predecessors-in-interest placed Sprint in harmful reliance by waiting and never asserting patent legal rights with regards to the unlicensed equipment.

On appeal, High Point contended that equitable estoppel needed Sprint to show that it is predecessors-in-interest exhibited bad belief. The Government Circuit rejected this argument, explaining that equitable estoppel only requires misleading conduct or silence. The Government Circuit upheld the finding of equitable estoppel in line with the silence of High Point’s predecessors-in-interest, who have been conscious of Sprint’s intent to produce a network with equipment from multiple vendors. The Government Circuit also found harmful reliance according to testimony that Sprint had a number of options when building its network and might have acted differently if the specter of litigation would be a possibility.


Amending Claims Via a Reexamination Following a Judgment of Invalidity Doesn’t Always Imply that Res Judicata Pertains to the Reexamined Claims

In Cardpool, Corporation. v. Plastic Jungle, Corporation., Appeal No. 2014-1562, the government Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of vacatur, concluding the district court’s final judgment regarding an authentic number of claims doesn’t instantly render that judgment res judicata regarding new claims granted upon reexamination.

Cardpool sued Plastic Jungle this year for patent violation. The district court granted a motion to dismiss since the claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Cardpool then attracted the government Circuit. Before the Federal Circuit deciding the appeal, Cardpool filed a request ex parte reexamination and posted new and amended claims. Prior to the USPTO completed reexamination, the government Circuit made the decision the appeal and affirmed the district court’s finding of ineligibility under § 101. A few days later, the USPTO issued a notice of intent to issue a reexamination certificate towards the amended and new claims. Cardpool then petitioned for rehearing, requesting the Federal Circuit vacate the affirmance from the district court’s finding of ineligibility. The Government Circuit granted a rehearing, vacated the affirmance, and remanded towards the district court.

On remand, Cardpool and Plastic Jungle jointly moved the district court to vacate its prior judgment so the parties could request a voluntary dismissal without prejudice. The district court declined to vacate its prior judgment and described that it might be from the public interest to permit a losing party to displace your final judgment by simply commencing an ex parte reexamination and amending its invalid claims. Cardpool appealed.

The Government Circuit reviewed the district court’s determination for abuse of discretion. The Government Circuit determined the district court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying the motion to vacate its judgment, explaining the district court violated no right in preserving its original decision that was restricted to the claims and grounds that existed at that time. However, the district court’s judgment doesn’t instantly render that judgment res judicata regarding new claims granted upon reexamination.


Federal Circuit Confirms its Prior Decision in VE Holding Corp re Venue for Patent Cases

In In re TC Heartland LLC, Appeal No. 2016-105, the government Circuit denied Heartland’s petition for any writ of mandamus to transfer venue in the District of Delaware towards the Southern District of Indiana. The Government Circuit also denied the petition for dismissal because of insufficient specific personal jurisdiction.

Kraft Foods sued Heartland for patent violation within the District of Delaware. Heartland, a business organized underneath the laws and regulations of Indiana and getting its principal office there, moved the district court to dismiss for insufficient personal jurisdiction or transfer venue towards the Southern District of Indiana. The district court denied the motion.

Heartland then petitioned for any writ of mandamus to direct the district court either to dismiss or transfer the suit. Heartland first contended that it doesn’t “reside” in Delaware for venue purposes under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), interpreting this statute’s phrase “established host to business” to mean corporate residence. The Government Circuit confirmed its prior holding in VE Holding Corp. v. Manley Gas Appliance Co., 917 F.2d 1574 (Given. Cir. 1990), confirming that that the phrase corporate residence in 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c) pertains to § 1400. Under § 1391(c), “an entity . . . will be considered to call home, if your defendant, in almost any judicial district by which such defendant is susceptible to the court’s personal jurisdiction with regards to the civil action under consideration.Inches

Regarding personal jurisdiction, Heartland stated that their sales from the accused infringing product inside the condition of Delaware would fulfill a “nationwide” contract which their sales within Delaware amounted to simply 2% of the total nationwide sales. Heartland concluded from all of these details that Kraft could only sue in Delaware of these 2% of sales, and when Kraft desired to sue its Heartland’s sales, it would need to sue in Heartland’s condition of incorporation. The Government Circuit figured that the Delaware sales were enough to determine minimum contacts. The Government Circuit therefore denied Heartland’s petition for any writ of mandamus to dismiss or transfer the situation.

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