Federal Circuit - The FindLaw Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Waymo v. Uber Headed to Trial

Uber just missed its last exit before a trial that threatens the company's self-driving technology.

The company wanted to push the case into arbitration, but a federal judge denied its request. Trial is set to begin Oct. 10 in Waymo, LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

There's always a chance for a continuance, but that's not likely. Judge William Alsup is ready to go, and the orders are falling into place.

Apple is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. According to Forbes, it's also one of the most valuable. So it's no surprise that the company faces more than its fair share of litigation.

The legal battles between Apple and Samsung get the most headlines. We've covered that drama closely in our Federal Circuit blog and beyond. But not all litigation involving Apple involves Samsung. So here's a look at some of the recent Apple lawsuits at the Federal Circuit that you might have overlooked.

When it comes to patent appeals between computer component manufacturers, courts can often wow those who are tech savvy with the court's own tech know-how. The recently decided case of Visual Memory v. Nvidia for patent infringement due to a three-tiered memory hierarchy patent held by Visual Memory is a perfect example of just how technical a court can get, especially on appeal.

The primary issue in this patent battle appeal involved whether the Visual Memory patent for an improved computer memory system was valid or too abstract to be enforceable.

Although some litigation attorneys might claim that patent law may as well be Greek to them, when it comes to the rules governing discovery disputes in patent cases over Biosimilars, the attorneys for Amgen are learning a hard lesson: the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply as they would for any other case.

The case, Amgen v. Hospira, centers around Hospira attempting to patent a biosimilar to Amgen's EPOGEN, a drug that is used to increase the production of red blood cells in order to treat various medical conditions. Amgen filed an infringement action after Hospira allegedly failed to comply with the requirements under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, which allows biosimilars to be approved, but only if they've complied with several regulations designed to safeguard the public, and the original inventor of the product that the biosimilar is based upon.

William Adams, also known as will.i.am and the frontman for the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, has lost his appeal challenging the denial of the "I AM" trademark registration. Adams' company, i.am.symbollic, llc already holds the I AM mark for some goods and services, and was seeking to expand intro product categories where the mark has already been used.

Sadly for the artist and entrepreneur, his attorneys were not able to convince the appellate court that the trademark examiners made a mistake. Even their bold argument that the extent of will.i.am's fame and his I AM mark's notoriety created a "reverse confusion" situation could not win the day over previously registered I AM trademarks in the categories in which i.am.symbollic sought protection.

The Podcasting Patent Is 'Totally Dead'

A federal appeals court knocked out a patent troll's claims against podcasters.

In Personal Audio v. Electronic Frontier Foundation, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that invalidated Personal Audio's "podcasting patent." The company had threatened numerous podcasters in recent years, and forced some into settlements.

The court ruling ended the patent troll's seven-year reign over podcasters, with industry observers claiming "the podcasting patent is totally dead."

It seems that no matter how much legal pillow talk (a.k.a. pleading) Amazon's lawyers attempt, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is not interested in making the pro-Amazon no pillow infringement ruling precedential.

The case that Amazon wants to be able to rely on is Milo & Gabby llc v. Amazon.com. The case involved a product manufacturer's claims for damages against Amazon for trademark and copyright infringement due to the counterfeiting of third party sellers on Amazon's Seller Marketplace. Basically, a fun kids pillowcase manufacturer alleged that Amazon profited by allowing Seller's Marketplace counterfeits of their products to be sold. The court agreed with Amazon in the case, but did not issue a precedent-setting ruling.

Patent Plaintiff Must Pay Defendant's Fees in 'Internet of Things' Claim

A federal appeals court said a patent plaintiff must pay its opponent's attorneys' fees because the plaintiff willfully ignored pre-existing descriptions of its claimed invention.

In Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations v. Guardian Protection Services, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiff and its attorney did not prove the basis for the claim before filing the infringement case. In addition, the court considered evidence that the plaintiff was a vexatious litigant who had filed 58 similar cases only to settle most of them before trial for the cost of defense.

"Rothschild's continued assertions that its patent extends to products simply because they are configured using the Internet... are risible rather than simply unreasonable," Judge Haldane Robert Mayer wrote in a strongly worded concurring opinion.

It's one of the biggest disputes in biotech and a billion dollar question: Who owns the intellectual property behind CRISPR-Cas9, the groundbreaking gene-editing technology? The technique allows researchers to edit specific parts of a genome, removing, adding, or altering DNA. It could be the future of biotech, allowing everything from bespoke medical treatments to designer crops or even genetically superior Ubermenschen.

But both the University of California, Berkeley and the Broad Institute have claimed the technique as their own. Broad won an early battle in the USPTO in February, and now the conflict could be on its way up to the Federal Circuit.

Patent Claims Over Cialis Revived by Federal Circuit

A federal appeals court has vacated a patent board's finding that a patent for treating penile fibrosis was invalid, reviving a dispute over the erectile dysfunction drug "Cialis."

Remanding the case to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the board must reconsider the obviousness of the method for "arresting or regressing" penile fibrosis. In Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute v. Eli Lilly and Company, the research firm alleged the pharmaceutical company induced patent infringement through repeated treatments of Cialis.

The question revolves around the long-term use of the erectile dysfunction drug and its positive effects on penile fibrosis.