You might think it would be easier to prove infringement of a patented system having multiple components. The more parts, the more opportunity to prove infringement. Not so. As one patentee learned the hard way, more parts means more to prove.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that hears all appeals of patent-related cases, continues to engage in abstract thinking — thinking about the patent-eligibility of abstract ideas, that is. In the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly reviewed whether patents are invalid because they covered patent-ineligible inventions. In this case, for example, the plaintiff ended up having four patents wiped out as invalid on this basis.
Inventors in the pursuit of “personalized medicine” patents were likely discouraged by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in The Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics LLC, which involved a diagnostic method. The court’s ruling highlights the difficulty of obtaining patents for such methods.
A patent applicant’s first round of appeals is to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). But if a patent applicant receives a negative ruling from the PTAB, it isn’t necessarily the end of the road. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals made that clear in a case where it faulted the Board for failing to adequately lay out just whyan invention was obvious and therefore unpatentable.
If you thought the most competitive designers around are found on reality shows, think again. A recent case decided by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals illustrates that the claws can come out in the world of affordable home design, too. And, as the plaintiff learned, copyright law provides only limited protection.
What’s a copyright holder to do when counterfeit products show up on the massive online marketplace Amazon.com? Well, one thing it will have trouble doing is successfully suing Amazon for infringement, as seen in Milo & Gabby LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc.
The decision in Apple, Inc. v. Ameranth, Inc. probably wasn’t what the patent-holder ordered. Late last year, both the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears all appeals in patent cases) reviewed Ameranth Inc.’s patents for a computerized restaurant menu system, ultimately sending Ameranth back to the kitchen.
We are nearly to the half-way mark on the US tour of Dennemeyer’s Future of IP and Technology Law Forum, for which I am the keynote speaker. The forums in Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Austin were extremely valuable in terms of information sharing, the audiences full of smart and forward-thinking in-house counsel and private practice IP attorneys. We had fun talking through the potential changes to come in our world and what our roles are in shaping the future.
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