Commission Opinion, Certain UV Curable Coatings For Optical Fibers, and Products Containing the Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-1031 (August 11, 2017) (ITC)
We previously posted – “Weight” a Minute- Those Claims Are Indefinite – about Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) MaryJoan McNamara’s Initial Determination (“ID”), finding claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,706,659 (“the ’659 patent”) indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 2 (pre-AIA). The United States International Trade Commission (“ITC”) recently reversed and vacated that ID. The ’659 patent is entitled “Coated Optical Fiber” and claims primary coating compositions and primary coatings.
Complainants DSM Desotech, Inc. and DSM IP Assets B.V. petitioned the Commission to review the ID; Respondent Momentive UV Coatings (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (“MUV”) and the Office of Unfair Import Investigations opposed the petition. In its petition for review, DSM argued that the ALJ’s construction of the disputed claim term referred to an “average molecular weight” and that term was not indefinite. READ MORE
Initial Determination Granting MUV’s Motion for Summary Determination That Claims 16-18, 21, and 30 of U.S. Patent No. 7,076,659 are Invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 112, Certain UV Curable Coatings For Optical Fibers, and Products Containing the Same, ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-1031 (July 6, 2017) (ALJ MaryJoan McNamara)
In a rare move for the ITC, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) MaryJoan McNamara granted a motion for summary determination by Respondent Momentive UV Coatings (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (“MUV”) finding that several claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,706,659 (“the ’659 patent”) are indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 2 (pre-AIA). The ’659 patent is entitled “Coated Optical Fiber” and claims primary coating compositions and primary coatings.
This decision is significant because it is relatively unusual for ALJs to grant motions for summary determination on technical issues. Section 337 investigations move very quickly and motions for summary determination are often filed less than three months before the start of the hearing, so there is often little efficiency to be gained from granting such motions. READ MORE
It may be late July, but the impending Congressional recess has not lessened potential interest by lawmakers in patent reform. On June 21, 2017, Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Delaware) introduced Senate Bill 1390, entitled the Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act of 2017. Sen. Tom Cotton (R- Arkansas), Sen. Richard Durbin (D- Illinois), and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) cosponsored the bipartisan bill. The Bill’s stated purpose is “to strengthen the position of the United States as the world’s leading innovator by amending title 35, United States Code, to protect the property rights of the inventors that grow the country’s economy.” To accomplish this goal, the Senate Bill proposes to amend many of the patent law core concepts introduced by the America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA) and developed in the Courts in the past 20 years by, among other mechanisms, making patents more difficult to challenge in post-grant proceedings and overturning multiple Supreme Court decisions regarding injunctive relief and standards for induced infringement. The authors of the Bill, citing the fact that the U.S. Chamber of Congress in 2017 ranked the U.S. Patent System as being only the 10th strongest in the world after having ranked it first in every prior year, contend that unintended consequences of the AIA’s reforms and recent rulings from the Supreme Court have weakened the value of patents to such a degree that further legislative action is warranted. READ MORE
Shipping and Transit, LLC v. Hall Enterprises, Inc., C.D. Cal. (July 5, 2017) (Judge Andrew J. Guilford)
Plaintiff Shipping & Transit, LLC (“S&T”) is a non-practicing entity that filed hundreds of patent lawsuits in 2016 alone, alleging infringement of three patents directed to monitoring and reporting the location of a vehicle. One of these patents was asserted in more than 400 cases, and the other two patents were asserted in more than 90 cases. However, S&T would routinely settle or dismiss a case with prejudice prior to a ruling on the merits where a defendant challenged the validity of the patents.
In this case, Defendant Hall Enterprises, Inc. asked S&T to voluntarily dismiss the case due to perceived patent validity issues. After S&T refused, Hall Enterprises moved for judgment on the pleadings arguing that all of the claims asserted against it were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 due to ineligible subject matter. Only then did S&T move to dismiss its own claims with prejudice. READ MORE
Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., Supreme Court (June 1, 2017)
On May 30, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an en banc decision of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and decided that a patentee’s authorized sale of a product—whether within or outside of the United States—exhausts all of the patent rights in that product, regardless of any post-sale restrictions the patentee places on that product. The decision was unanimous as to exhaustion arising from a domestic sale, and 7-1 as to exhaustion arising from a foreign sale, with Justice Ginsburg the sole dissenter. This decision will affect how companies enforce post-sale license rights and will provide accused infringers with another potential means to defeat patent infringement claims.
Lexmark concerned the sale of printer toner cartridges. Lexmark sells toner cartridges and owns various patents that protects its intellectual property rights in them. Lexmark gives its customers a choice when purchasing its cartridges: They can buy regular cartridges at full price with no restrictions, or they can buy cartridges at a 20% discount through Lexmark’s Return Program by agreeing (1) to use each cartridge only once and (2) not to send used cartridges to anyone but Lexmark. Impression Products acquired spent toner cartridges, including both Return Program and regular cartridges, from within the United States, then proceeded to refill and resell these cartridges to domestic consumers. Impression Products also imported, without Lexmark’s permission, both Return Program and regular cartridges from outside the United States for sale in the United States. READ MORE