Intellectual Property Law News - Federal Circuit
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Patent trolls have a bad rap, understandably so, and recently the Federal Circuit ruled against a patent troll whose actions were described as "unethical to say the least," by one print media consultant.

The Federal Circuit brings to a close litigation that the troll brought against the likes of Xerox, EFI, Konica Minolta, Fujifilm and Ricoh.

Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International was one of the most anticipated patent decisions this term, as companies and attorneys alike, were eager to see how the Supreme Court would determine the fate of software patents.

And all that waiting with bated breath was for naught. Instead, the Court gave us a ruling that did little to change the existing legal landscape.

In January, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two patent cases originating in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals: Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc. and Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.

Both cases were granted cert. on the same day, and the decisions in both cases were handed down on the same day. Read on to learn how the Court decided.

The Federal Circuit, for the first time, had the opportunity to determine whether a proposed trademark was disparaging under section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.

After thorough analysis and review of the facts on the record, the Federal Circuit adopted a test, and found that the proposed trademark in issue was in fact, disparaging.

In the never-ending circle of litigation that Google, and other tech companies, are engaging in otherwise known as "Smartphone Wars," the Federal Circuit has dealt a blow to Google.

And, in one of the more interesting patent cases before the Federal Circuit, the court had to determine whether clones themselves, could be patented. It should be noted that the methods for cloning, which are patented, were not at issue in the case. Read on for details in both cases.

We can't get enough of fee shifting in patent cases. Just on the heels of the Court's decisions in Octane Fitness and Highmark, the Supreme Court granted cert in another case, also under Patent Act's Section 285, which allows a "court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party."

In one fell swoop, the Supreme Court, in a summary disposition, granted cert., vacated the decision of the Federal Circuit, and remanded the case in Kobe Properties Sarl, et al., v. Checkpoint Systems, Inc. Read on for details.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court released two opinions, both authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, regarding attorney fees in patent cases, and the meaning of the Patent Act's Section 285 language that allows a "court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party." The cases have been closely watched, as companies are forced to defend patent claims against patent trolls, and the issue has gained traction in the media.

Well, it seems like attorneys can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Supreme Court has "fixed" the fee shifting issue in patent cases. Read on to see how.

If all of the litigation surrounding smartphone and touch-screen patents between Apple, Samsung and Motorola (ahem, Google) are all starting to blend together into one giant blob in your mind, you are not alone.

Last Friday, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in the Apple v. Motorola case, which is now affecting a current trial between Apple and Samsung in federal court in California.

Less than a month ago the Supreme Court granted cert in Teva v. Sandoz, a case where the Court must determine the proper standard of review when reviewing a patent inventor's claim. While most other federal appeals courts review a trial court's conclusions to see if they are "clearly erroneous," the Federal Circuit has had a practice of reviewing an inventor's claims using de novo review, reports SCOTUSblog.

The Court is no longer accepting cases for this term, so Teva is on the October 2014 docket. Because there are patents at issue that may expire before the Court decides the case, there is uncertainty as to what the companies should do, and they are seeking guidance from the Court.

The third time is the charm. After being distributed for three judicial conferences, the Supreme Court granted Teva Pharmaceutical's petition for writ of certiorari on Monday.

The Stakes Are High

The Teva case is a patent dispute surrounding the multiple-sclerosis drug Copaxone. Teva Pharmaceuticals holds the patents for Copaxone, and a decision in its favor would keep the patents alive until September 2015. Generic manufacturers want to release their generic drug in May -- which technically they could, under the Federal Circuit's decision. Annual U.S. sales of Copaxone make up more than half of Teva's profit, and reach over $3 billion annually, so there is much at stake for both Teva, and generic manufacturers, reports Blooomberg.