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.
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.
China and India recently revised their patent office guidelines for the examination of software-related inventions. In both cases the guidelines broaden the scope of patent eligible subject matter and generally create a positive climate for patenting software-related inventions.
It probably comes as no surprise that inventions that are obvious aren’t eligible for patents. Yet arguments over obviousness land in the court all the time. A recent ruling by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears all patent-related appeals) in Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. illustrates several arguments that can arise when the obviousness of an invention — and therefore the validity of its patent — is at issue.
Exhausted yet? Anyone who has ever tried to avoid the high prices of toner cartridges by purchasing refills from so-called remanufacturers will be interested in a recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court — and many patentees should be interested, too. In Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark Int’l, Inc., the Court provided some important clarifications to the patent exhaustion doctrine that limits a patentee’s rights.
Oops — they did it again. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected yet another software patent. The court, which hears all appeals involving patents, found that the patent was for a patent-ineligible invention.
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has dramatically tightened the restrictions on where patent owners can file infringement lawsuits. The court’s unanimous ruling is expected to rein in the “forum shopping” that so often occurs in patent infringement cases, where patentees try to file in judicial districts considered to be more plaintiff-friendly, such as the defendant-dreaded Eastern District of Texas.