Our Latest Industry Insights

Not So Fast: Split Federal Circuit Panel Sided with PTO on Novel IPR Issues

In In re Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC,[1] the first ever appeal of the final written decision from an inter partes review (“IPR”) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB” or the “Board”),[2] the Federal Circuit decided two novel and fundamental questions arising under the newly enacted IPR proceedings created by the America Invents Act of 2011 (“AIA”). On both issues, the Federal Circuit agreed with the PTO,[3] holding (1) institution decisions by the Board are almost never reviewable on appeal, either interlocutory or after the Board’s final written decision, and (2) that the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard is the proper standard for claim construction in IPR proceedings.[4]

Aqua Shield v. Inter Pool Cover Team – Evidence of Actual Profits Does Not Hold Water in Reasonable Royalty Analysis

The Federal Circuit, in Aqua Shield v. Inter Pool Cover Team, 774 F.3d 766 (Fed. Cir. 2014), recently provided further guidance on the traditional method for assessing the market value of a patent: the hypothetical negotiation. The court considered evidence of an infringer's actual profits and clarified that such evidence is of limited value in the determination of a reasonable royalty award for patent infringement.

Navigating Patent Damages Part II: How Infringement Allegations Can Impact or Limit Potential Damages

Previously, we discussed the implications of the failure to mark defense on damages prior to the filing of a patent case. In this next article in the series, we examine how allegations of direct and/or indirect infringement, as well as the type of patent claim being asserted (e.g., method, system, or apparatus) can impact the amount of potential damages a patent holder can recover.

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Lanham Act.

Supreme Court Modifies Claim Construction Review Standard

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc. partially modifying the standard of review to be applied by the Federal Circuit when reviewing a district court’s construction of a claim term. Prior to Teva, the Federal Circuit applied a de novo standard for claim construction review. Now, based on the Teva decision, the Federal Circuit must apply a “clear error” standard for factual questions, and a de novo standard for legal questions when reviewing a claim construction on appeal.

Who A-Tacks a Decision on Tacking? U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Tacking Trademarks to Gain Earlier First Use Is a Question Of Fact

It’s a historic week for trademarks! On January 21, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, which marks the high court’s first substantive ruling on trademarks in more than ten years. In its decision, the Supreme Court unanimously held that trademark tacking is a factual question, and thus, should be decided by juries.

Low Octane Levels? Octane Fitness’ Impact in the Trademark and Trade Secret Realms

We have previously addressed the Supreme Court’s decision in Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., 12-1184, Slip Op. at 7 (2014), which relaxed the standard for awarding attorney’s fees under Section 285 of the Patent Act (“§285”) and ruled that decisions on §285 are entitled to deference on appeal. In the patent litigation realm, the Octane Fitness decision does not seem to have led to an overwhelming trend toward awarding fees. It does, however, beg the question: how has this impacted the standard for awarding attorney’s fees in other types of intellectual property cases, such as trademarks and trade secrets?

Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Sys., Inc. Guidance on Determining Damages for Standard Essential Patents

Patents claiming inventions which must be used to comply with certain technical standards (for example, the Wi-Fi standard or standards for 3G) are referred to as standards-essential patents or “SEPs”. There has, historically, been little judicial guidance concerning damages in cases where SEPs are implicated.[1] The recent Federal Circuit ruling in Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Sys., Inc., finally provides some guidance on the issue of determining damages in such cases. No. 2013-1625, 2014 WL 6804864 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 4, 2014). In addition to providing insight on several apportionment issues specific to SEPs, the court also held that simply reciting all Georgia-Pacific factors to a jury is unacceptable and that jury instructions must only include the specific factors relevant to the evidence presented.

Federal Circuit Reverses Judgment for Willful Infringement

Through its recent decision in Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., the Federal Circuit gave Zimmer an early Christmas gift worth approximately $140 million by reversing a district court’s determination of willfulness and vacating a corresponding award of trebled damages against Zimmer. The reversal was based on the Federal Circuit’s finding that the noninfringement and invalidity defenses raised by Zimmer were “not objectively unreasonable.”