Monday, February 24, 2020

Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) - Post Issuance PTAB Proceedings and IPR Petitions Filed Decrease from 2018 to 2019

Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) notes the sharp decrease in petitions filed for inter partes review (IPR):

"One of the standout US patent trends from last year, at least in terms of disputes, was the drop in new petition filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Overall, according to Lex Machina, the number of post-issuance proceedings fell from 1,720 to 1,322, with the number of new inter partes reviews decreasing to 1,271 from 1,608 in 2018."

Note complaints filed for patent infringement in 2019 remained mostly steady, so the drop in IPRs filed may be due to the effectiveness of asserting patent ineligibility under 35 USC § 101, which cannot be raised as a ground of invalidity in an IPR.

In addition, IPRs filed in parallel with patent litigation may have decreased due to the Supreme Court's SAS decision which required PTAB to stop its partial institution practice. After SAS, PTAB was required to consider all grounds of invalidity in an IPR. If the IPR was not instituted, the patent owner was sure to inform a jury of that failure to prove invalidity. And if the IPR was instituted, and PTAB upheld validity of any patent claim, again jury heard it and the real party in interest would be estopped from raising the same grounds or grounds that could have been reasonable raised again in court. Finally, the USPTO policy changes and PTAB's reduced IPR institution rates are factors.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Federal Circuit - Arctic Cat v. Bombardier Recreational - Failure to Mark Eliminates Pre-Complaint Damage - $28M Subtracted from $46M Judgment

In Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc., the Federal Circuit held that the patent owner Arctic Cat was not entitled to recover damage for Bombardier's watercraft steering control patent infringement occurring before the filing of the complaint, because Arctic Cat and its licensee failed to mark the patented product as required by 35 USC § 287.

Note this resulted in a $28 million reduction in Arctic Cat's $46 million judgment.

It should be noted marking is only required if the patent owner makes a product. It's also a patent owner rather than licensee obligation. Further, a non-practicing entity, or a patent owner asserting method claims, can be awarded damages up to six years prior to the filing of the complaint under 35 USC § 286. In this case, the Federal Circuit held no damages could be recovered for infringing products sold after the sale of unmarked products ceased and before filing of the patent infringement complaint.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

IP Watchdog - Six Years After Alice: 61.8% of U.S. Patents Issued in 2019 Were ‘Software-Related’—up 21.6% from 2018

Raymond Millien of Volvo flags the increase of US patents issuing on software-related inventions in 2019. It contradicts the conventional understanding that the Supreme Court Alice v. CLS Bank decision eliminated or has made it quite difficult to obtain software patents. Yes, business methods are difficult, but other software-related patenting has also increased in volume and importance.

For details see IP Watchdog: Six Years After Alice: 61.8% of U.S. Patents Issued in 2019 Were ‘Software-Related’—up 21.6% from 2018.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 17, 2020

CAFC - In re Google - Lack of Patent Venue in ED Texas

In re Google the Federal Circuit granted Google's petition for a writ of mandamus to dismiss or transfer Super Interconnect Technologies' (SIT) patent infringement suit from the ED Texas, which is perceived as a pro-patent venue.

In TC Heartland decision, the Supreme Court held a patent owner has venue where the defendant resides (state of incorporation) or where the defendant infringes and has "a regular and established place of business." 

SIT’s argument for venue was that Google servers in the district constituted "a regular and established place of business." After the venue issue arose, Google removed its servers, but continued to stream video and ads to residents in the ED Texas using third party internet service providers (ISPs) servers.

The district court denied Google's motion to transfer venue, because the servers constituted "a regular and established place of business." However, the Federal Circuit then granted Google's petition for mandamus to resolve venue due to conflicting district court decisions on what activities constituted "a regular and established place of business."

Applying In re Cray the Federal Circuit held venue was improper in ED Texas, because Google lacked employees and an agent in the district, the ISPs were not agents, and server maintenance was ancillary to Google's business. The concurrence said it agreed with the result, but end users should be also considered. Until they are, it appears servers without employee(s) or agent(s) in a district may not be sufficient to establish "a regular and established business."

Copyright © 2020 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.