By: Samuel Dillon, Contributor
|Title||CEATS, Inc. v. Continental Airlines, Inc., No. 2013-1529 (Fed. Cir. June 24, 2014).|
|Issues||[Whether the district court abused its discretion in] finding that [(1)] the mediator had no duty to disclose his dealings with one of the firms involved in the litigation [such that (2)] relief from judgment under Rule 60(b) was not warranted.|
CEATS at *3 (text added).
| We find that the district court erred in finding that a reasonably objective person would not have wanted to consider circumstances surrounding the Karlseng litigation when deciding whether to object to Faulkner’s appointment as mediator in this case. . . . In this case, at the same time Faulkner served as the court-appointed mediator, the Faulkner-Johnson-Fish relationship was directly at issue in a state appellate court. Importantly, this meant that Fish, as a firm, was actively defending Faulkner’s personal disclosure decisions while he was mediating this case. . . . Furthermore, the Texas appeals court’s decision . . . found that the Faulkner-Johnson-Fish relationship was a disqualifying, social and business relationship, which “could reasonably be seen as raising a question about the mediator’s impartiality” while this case was ongoing.|
Id. at *14-15.
| We agree with Continental that CEATS has failed to show a meaningful risk of injustice in this case . . . , we do not believe there is a sufficient threat of injustice in other cases to justify the extraordinary step of setting aside a jury verdict . . . , [and] we do not believe that refusing to grant the relief CEATS seeks will undermine public confidence in the judicial process as a whole. . . . [W]e hold that the district court correctly denied CEATS relief from judgment under Rule 60(b)(6), despite what we deem to be a failure of the mediator’s disclosure obligations.|
Id. at *18-20.
Category: Claim Construction
By: Abby Lin, Contributor
|Title||H-W Tech., LC v. Overstock.com, Inc., No. 2014-1054, -1055 (Fed. Cir. July 11, 2014).|
|1) H-W appeals the district court’s construction of the claim terms “user of said phone” and “said user” to mean “a consumer operating the IP Phone.” H-W argues that the correct construction is “a person or thing that uses an IP phone.”|
H-W Tech. LC, at *3 (internal citations omitted).
|2a) [H-W appeals the summary judgment finding that claim 9, as presented prior to Certificate of Correction] is indefinite] H-W first argues that the district court itself had authority to correct the error in claim 9. |
Id. at *5 (text added).
|2b) H-W also argues that the district court “failed to factor the certificate of correction in [its] determination that claim 9 of the ‘955 Patent is indefinite and invalid.” |
Id. at *8 (text added).
|2c) Having concluded that the district court properly did not correct the patent claims itself or apply the certificate of correction to this lawsuit, the question remains whether H-W should be permitted to assert claim 9 uncorrected. |
Id. at *9.
|3) Finally, H-W appeals the district court’s holding that claim 17 is indefinite and invalid.|
Id. at *10.
|1) In sum, the only significant evidence that supports H-W’s position is a single, arguably marginally applicable, dictionary definition. The district court’s construction, on the other hand, is supported by the claims themselves, the specification, and the weight of the extrinsic evidence. We thus affirm the district court’s construction of “user of said phone” and “said user” to mean “a consumer operating the IP Phone.”|
H-W Tech. LC, at *5.
|2a) The parties appear to agree that the PTO’s error is clear on the face of the prosecution history. But this court has already deemed evidence of error in the prosecution history alone insufficient to allow the district court to correct the error. See Grp. One, 407 F.3d at 1303 (“The error here is not evident on the face of the patent. The prosecution history discloses that the missing language was required to be added by the examiner as a condition for issuance, but one cannot discern what language is missing simply by reading the patent. The district court does not have authority to correct the patent in such circumstances.”). In sum, we hold that the district court did not have authority to correct the error in claim 9 and correctly declined to do so.|
Id. at *8.
|2b) Based on the plain language of the statute, this court has specifically held that “[t]he certificate of correction is only effective for causes of action arising after it was issued.” Sw. Software, Inc. v. Harlequin Inc., 226 F.3d 1280, 1294–95 (Fed. Cir. 2000). [Since H-W filed before the Certificate of Correction issued, the District Court did not err.]|
Id. at *9 (text added).
|2c) When, as here, a claim issues that omits a material limitation, and such omission is not evident on the face of the patent, the patentee cannot assert that claim until it has been corrected by the PTO…. Regardless, the district court was correct to conclude that H-W cannot assert either the original or corrected versions of claim 9 in this lawsuit. The judgment of the district court in favor of Overstock and against H-W is thus correct. Still, in order to clarify that claim 9, as corrected, has not yet been litigated and, thus, has not been held invalid, we strike the portion of the judgment that holds claim 9 invalid. |
Id. at *9-10.
|3) And, as in those cases [IPXL and In re Katz], it is unclear here when infringement would occur. Claim 17 is thus indefinite. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s holding that claim 17 is invalid.|
Id. at *13.
By: Karthik Subramanian, Contributor
|Title||Medism Ltd. v. Bestmed, LLC, No. 2013-1451 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2014).|
|Issue||“This appeal concerns Medisim’s challenges to the district court’s grant of JMOL on anticipation and unjust enrichment. Medisim argues that BestMed forfeited its right to JMOL under Rule 50(b) for both claims when it failed to properly move for JMOL under Rule 50(a) at the close of evidence. Medisim also challenges the district court’s grant of JMOL on anticipation and unjust enrichment on the merits. Finally, Medisim argues that the district court abused its discretion by granting a conditional new trial on anticipation. We address each of Medisim’s challenges in turn.”|
Medisim at *6.
|Holding||“Because BestMed failed to preserve its right to JMOL on anticipation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50, we vacate the district court’s grant of JMOL on that claim. However, we affirm the district court’s grant of JMOL on Medisim’s unjust enrichment claim and its conditional grant of a new trial on anticipation. We remand this case for further proceedings.”|
Medisim at *2.
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor
|Title||SCA Hygene Prod. Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Prods., LLC, No. 2013-1564 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 17, 2014).|
|[1: Laches] SCA argues that the reexamination proceedings preclude application of the laches presumptions in this case because the reexamination period should be excluded from the total delay. The district court rejected that theory. In its view, because SCA filed suit more than six years after first learning of First Quality’s allegedly infringing activities, the laches presumptions applied. |
SCA Hygene Prod. Aktiebolag at *9.
|[2: Equitable Estoppel] The district court ruled that “SCA unquestionably misled First Quality though [sic] its 2003 letter and subsequent inaction.” [...] The court focused on SCA’s failure to respond to First Quality’s letter addressing the ’646 patent and on SCA’s decision to write First Quality regarding different products and a different patent. |
Id. at *16 (internal citations omitted).
|[1: Laches] Because more than six years elapsed between the time SCA first learned of First Quality’s allegedly infringing activities and the time SCA filed infringement claims directed to those activities[, during which SCA monitored the infringing activities of First Quality], the district court properly found that the laches presumptions applied.|
Id. at *9 (text added).
|[2: Equitable Estoppel] SCA almost immediately filed a request for ex parte reexamination of the ’646 patent to address the issues raised by First Quality—an action that could reasonably be viewed as inconsistent with SCA’s alleged acquiescence. Thus, record evidence supports a version of events that differs from First Quality’s. A reasonable juror could conclude that First Quality raised an issue SCA had overlooked and that SCA, rather than acquiescing, took immediate action.|
Id. at *19.
By: Roy Rabindranath, Contributor
|TItle||Align Tech., Inc. v. International Trade Commission (Fed. Circ. July 18, 2014).|
|Issue||The International Trade Commission's regulations authorize the Commission to review a decision of an administrative law judge (ALJ) when that decision is designated as an "initial determination." [...] Here, the ALJ denied a motion via an order. This case requires us to consider whether the Commission's review of that order was procedurally sound. |
Align Technology, at *2.
|Holding||Because the Commission circumvented its own rules without waiving, suspending, or amending them, we find that its review of Order No. 57 was "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law." |
Id. at *10.
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor
|Title||Scientific Plastic Prod., Inc. v. Biotage AB, No. 2013-1219, -1220, -1221 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 10, 2014).|
|Issues||The examiner concluded that it would have been obvious to combine the cartridge of Yamada with the cap of either King or Strassheimer. On appeal to the Board, SPP challenged (1) the examiner’s determination that King and Strassheimer were “analogous art” and (2) that it would have been obvious to combine the LPLC cartridge of Yamada with the pressure-resistant resealable cap of either King or Strassheimer.|
Scientific Plastic Prod., Inc., at *5 (emphasis added).
|[(1)] [T]he King and Strassheimer references address the problem of providing a fluid tight seal at elevated pressures, between a container and a resealable cap. This is sufficiently close to the problem addressed by the claimed invention; substantial evidence supports the Board’s finding that King and Strassheimer are available as prior art|
Id. at *9 (text added).
|[(2)] We conclude that the Board did not err in holding that it would have been obvious for a person of ordinary skill in the field of the invention to modify the chromatography cartridge of Yamada with the resealable threaded cap of King or Strassheimer [because by providing for the presence of an O-ring, the Yamada reference implicitly acknowledges that there is a potential leakage issue between the cap and column body of the plastic cartridge that could be cured by either King or Strassheimer]. |
Id. at *11 (text added).
By: John Kirkpatrick, Contributor
|Title||Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., No. 2014-1089 (Fed. Cir. May 5, 2014) (non-precedential).|
|Issue||[Does the Federal Circuit have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a)] based on the district court’s consolidation of Microsoft’s contract action with its patent infringement action[?] |
Microsoft Corp. at *6 (text added).
|Holding||The patent infringement complaint is not part of this appeal, not having been decided by the district court. Under such circumstances, it is plausible to conclude, as the Ninth Circuit seems to have done here, that the act of “consolidation d[id] not merge the suits into a single cause, or change the rights of the parties.” Id. at *6 (internal citations removed).|
By: Christian Hannon, Contributor
|Title||Wi-LAN USA Inc. v. Ericsson, Inc., No. 2013-1566 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 1, 2014).|
|Issue||The parties disagree about the correct interpretation of multiple parts of the [Most-Favoured Licensee ("MFL")] Provision, including whether it applies to patents that Wi-LAN acquried after the execution of the PCRA.|
Wi-LAN USA, Inc., at *7.
|Holding||Because we conclude that the MFL Provision does not apply to patents acquired after the execution of the PCRA, Ericsson's rights under the MFL Provision were not triggered by the Texas suit. We therefore, reverse the Florida court's dismissal of Wi-LAN's infringement suit with respect to the Florida Patents. [...] We also affirm the Texas court's finding that the MFL provision did not bar Wi-LAN's Texas suit, albeit on different grounds. |
Id. at *17.