What’s obvious to one person isn’t always obvious to another, and the same is true when it comes to patents. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit demonstrated this principle in rejecting the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) determination that a patent was inherently obvious. In doing so, it shed light on what factors establish when a claimed feature of a patented invention was “inherent” in an earlier invention.
Some patents specify ranges to account for variability — for example, a range of temperatures in which a process occurs. These types of patents can run into obviousness issues that can invalidate them if the range overlaps with ranges detailed in so-called “prior art.” Patentees in such cases aren’t totally out of luck, though, as they have the opportunity to rebut the presumption of obviousness.
Recently, the Supreme Court denied a petition from Power Integrations, Inc. to decide a question about patent damages, the “entire market value” rule, and what parties must prove to recover or avoid large damages awards in patent infringement lawsuits. As an exception to the general rule, the entire market value rule allows a patent holder to recover damages on patented and unpatented features of an infringing product.
Patterson Thuente IP is pleased to welcome patent attorney, Galen Rahmlow, to our team. Focusing on patent prosecution in the chemical, mechanical, and material arts, Galen will enhance the firm’s ability to serve clients in a variety of industries, including chemical and medical technology. His experience centers around the following technologies: chemical, medical devices, aerospace equipment, gas turbine engines, coatings, ceramics, complex optical components, and films for LCD display systems.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the court that hears all appeals of patent cases, continues to invalidate patents directed to abstract ideas. It applies the test established in 2014 by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a recent case, it ruled that a patent covering voting methods and systems providing for “auto-verification” of ballots was invalid as attempting to patent an abstract idea.
Inter partes review survives constitutional challenge Patent trolls are a significant nuisance to a range of industries. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a procedure that makes it easier for patent trolls’ potential victims to avoid prolonged litigation or costly settlements.
It’s easy to understand an inventor’s urge to get a new product to market. But that urge can backfire if a patent application hasn’t yet been filed. Under the on-sale bar, the inventor could lose patent protection altogether. A pharmaceutical company learned this the hard way.
Although in 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court announced a standard for assessing whether patent language is fatally indefinite, the limits of the Court’s decision are still being determined. More recently, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals provided additional guidance — and it seems to favor patentees.
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