LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    Mealey's IP/Tech - California Federal Judge: Search Engine Optimization Patents Are Invalid

    SAN FRANCISCO - In a Jan. 19 holding, a California federal judge rejected, pursuant to Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101, five patents covering the process of search engine optimization (SEO) (BrightEdge Technologies Inc. v. Searchmetrics GmbH, et al., No. 14-1009, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9007).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Suit Over Sweeteners' Packaging In Franchise Network Survives Dismissal

    INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Jan. 18 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the owner of Applebee's and IHOP restaurants of using artificial sweetener in its franchise network that's packaged in a yellow packet made to look like trademarked Splenda sweetener (Heartland Consumer Products LLC, et al. v. DineEquity, Inc., et al., No. 17-1035, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7983).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Grants Panel Rehearing, Citing Wi-Fi One Patent Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of its Jan. 8 en banc holding in Wi-Fi One LLC v. Broadcom Corp. that the bar on judicial review of decisions to institute inter partes review (IPR) does not extend to determinations that a petition for IPR is time-barred, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 19 agreed to revisit a 2015 ruling that rejected allegations by a patent owner that a petition for IPR was untimely (Click-to-Call Technologies LP v. Oracle Corp., et al., No. 15-1242, Fed Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Drug Company Seeks Review Of Cancer Treatment Patent, Joinder With Other Case

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. - West-Ward Pharmaceutical Co. on Jan. 17 took aim at a cancer treatment patent while also requesting joinder to an inter partes review (IPR) by Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc., in which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Jan. 3 instituted trial (West-Ward Pharmaceutical Co. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. IPR2018-00507, PTAB).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - 22 States File Challenge To Net Neutrality Order With D.C. Circuit Court

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Twenty-two states on Jan. 16 petitioned the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to review the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality (State of New York, et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, et al., No. 18-1013, D.C. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Magistrate Strikes Some Expert Testimony In Ticket Sales Patent License Row

    MARSHALL, Texas - A Texas federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 granted in part a motion by a patent holder to exclude testimony from a ticket distributor's computer-programming expert in a dispute over a license agreement, ruling that the expert cannot offer opinions about a key term in the agreement because the meaning of the term is a question of law for a jury to determine (CEATS, Inc. v. TicketNetwork, Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-01470, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7214).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Kansas Federal Judge Won't Refer Case To Register Of Copyrights

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - In a Jan. 17 ruling, a Kansas federal judge denied a motion to refer to the Register of Copyrights allegations by an infringement defendant that a copyright registration for the Oil Daily publications is invalid (Energy Intelligence Group Inc., et al., v. CHS McPherson Refinery Inc., No. 16-1015, D. Kan., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7048).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - BitTorrent Copyright Case Rejected In Oregon On Standing Grounds

    PORTLAND, Ore. - The author of the screenplay for the motion picture "Fathers & Daughters" is not the "legal owner" of the film, with standing to sue for infringement, because the exclusive rights to the work were transferred in a license granted within a distribution agreement, an Oregon federal judge ruled Jan. 17 (Fathers & Daughters Nevada LLC v. Lingfu Zhang, No. 16-1443, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7435).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms Obviousness Rejection Of Patent Application

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - An inventor's efforts to patent a portable memory device identification system were unsuccessful Jan. 17, when the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals instead affirmed findings by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that the invention would be obvious to a person of skill in the art (In re: Dominick Theresa, No. 17-1920, Fed. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge Transfers Noninfringement, UCL Action Against Harley To Wisconsin

    MILWAUKEE - A California federal judge on Jan. 11 transferred an aftermarket motorcycle part company's action in which it seeks a declaration of noninfringement and asserts a claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) against a motorcycle maker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, noting that an underlying cease-and-desist letter originated in Wisconsin (Cobra Engineering Inc. v. H-D USA Llc, et al., No. 2:18cv71, E.D. Wis.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - In Covered Business Method Review, Patent Board Finds 5 Claims Ineligible

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a Jan. 16 final written decision sided with a petitioner for covered business method (CBM) review, agreeing that five claims of a method for communicating information from remote sites to a central location are directed to the abstract idea of "establishing a communications route between two points to relay information" (Emerson Electric Company v. Sipco LLC, No. CBM2016-00095, PTAB).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Nebraska Federal Judge Won't Retransfer Trademark Claims To Texas

    OMAHA, Neb. - A request by a trademark owner to retransfer infringement allegations to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas was denied Jan. 16 by a Nebraska federal judge, who found that the plaintiff failed to show that a previously severed defendant is indispensable to the Texas action (Buc-ee's Ltd. v. Buck's Inc., et al., No. 17-287, D. Neb., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6619).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Vacates Denial Of Relief In Hair Treatment Patent Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Jan. 16 ruling, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a Delaware federal judge erred in basing her decision to deny a patent assignee and licensee injunctive relief on an erroneous claim construction that excluded various accused L'Oreal USA Inc. products (Liqwd Inc., et al., v. L'Oreal USA Inc., et al., No. 17-2295, Fed. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Inventors: Denial Of Patent Application By Examiner Was Error

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Jan. 11 reply brief, two appellants tell the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that their invention "advanced the science" by "creating a previously unknown composition of matter" and discovering a new usefulness for the composition, thereby rendering the invention eligible for patent protection (In re: Trevor Pearson and Craig Robertson, No. 17-2530, Fed. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Enhanced Damages, Willfulness Finding Vacated By Federal Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A jury verdict of willful patent infringement and corresponding $24,280,330 compensatory damages award, along with a Nebraska federal judge's subsequent doubling of that sum, were vacated and remanded Oct. 12 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Exmark Manufacturing Company v. Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC, No. 16-2197, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 783).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Divided 1st Circuit Limits Trademark Licensee To Prepetition Damages

    BOSTON - In what it deemed a case of first impression, a divided First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 found that a trademark licensee retains only the right to seek prepetition damages following a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession's rejection of the underlying license agreement (Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, No. 16-9016, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 870).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Will Consider Enforceability Of South Dakota Internet Sales Tax Law

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Jan. 12 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to South Dakota in its challenge of the continued applicability of a 25-year-old case that bars the state's ability to enforce a new law requiring certain out-of-state internet retailers to collect and remit sales tax on sales to South Dakota residents (South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., et al., No. 17-494, U.S. Sup.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Grants Certiorari In Dispute Over Patent Lost Profit Awards

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Jan. 12 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari for a second time in a dispute over the availability of lost profits awards in cases of infringement under Section 271(f) of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 271(f), where the profits arose from prohibited combinations occurring outside the United States (WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., No. 16-1011, U.S. Sup.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Patent Owner Prevails In Final Written Decision By Patent Board

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A patent relating to Novartis AG's Afinitor anti-cancer drug was confirmed as patentable Jan. 11 in a final written decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which rebuffed allegations of obviousness by Par Pharmaceutical Inc. and other drug makers (Par Pharmaceutical Inc., et al., v. Novartis AG, No. IPR2016-00084, PTAB).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms Denial Of Fees In Honeywell Patent Dispute

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge did not err in determining that allegations of infringement of a patent later deemed invalid for violating Section 102 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 102, were not exceptional, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 11 (Honeywell International Inc. v. FujiFilm Corporation, et al., Nos. 2017-1070, -1073, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 684).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Patent Board Sides With Apple, Deems All Challenged Claims Obvious

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In a Jan. 11 final written decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board deemed all 24 challenged claims of a data compression patent obvious under Section 103(a) of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 103(a) (Apple Inc. v. Realtime Data LLC, No. IPR2016-01366, PTAB).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - 6th Circuit Reinstates Dispute Over Riflescope Trade Dress Protection

    CINCINNATI - A rejection on summary judgment of allegations that a riflescope maker committed trade dress infringement through the design of its knurling was erroneous, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 10 (Leapers Inc. v. SMTS LLC, et al., No. 17-1007, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 599).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Holds Oral Arguments In Dispute Over Denied Fee Award

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dispute over the question of whether an "exceptional case" finding in a district court can be based on events that occur during an inter partes re-examination or review was argued before the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 (SAP America Inc. v. Wellogix Inc., No. 17-1176, Fed. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Patent Owner, Challenger Both Appeal Board Rulings To Federal Circuit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - An inter partes review (IPR) petitioner that successfully established obviousness of 32 claims of three patents nonetheless argues in a Jan. 9 brief that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruling did not go far enough and should have instead invalidated all challenged claims (Vivint Inc. v. Alarm.com Inc., Nos. 2017-2218, -2219, -2220, -2260, -2261, -2262, Fed. Cir.).

    Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms: Malware Detection Patent Is Patent-Eligible

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although upholding a California federal judge's determination of patent eligibility, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 deemed a defendant entitled to judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) with regard to a separate patent on grounds that an accused malware detection product does not perform a claimed "policy index" limitation (Finjan Inc. v. Blue Coat Systems Inc., No. 16-2520, Fed. Cir.).