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

Federal Circuit Changes Filing Procedures, and That's a Good Thing

Briefing just got a little easier in the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

No, it's not any easier to research and write briefs in the complex cases handled by the Federal Circuit. It is still the clearing house for patents, trademarks, and other specialty claims across the country.

But practitioners can now access briefs as soon as they are filed with the court. That helps, especially because the court used to hold onto them for days and nobody could get access.

Court Strikes Down Tribe's Sovereign Shield Against Patent Review

A federal appeals court struck down a Native American tribe's claim of sovereign immunity against inter partes patent challenges.

In Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said the United States Patent and Trademark Office acts for the United States as a "superior sovereign." It has the power to review its own grants of patents, the appeals court said.

If Allergan has anything to do with it, however, the battle over inter partes review is far from over.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals lost its recent appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit related to its narcolepsy drug Xyrem, which had several of its "subsets" of Xyrem patents invalidated by PTAB.

The drug, which utilizes an illicit drug more commonly known as GHB, or the date rape drug, is, under the Controlled Substances Act, a Schedule III drug. The drug was only approved by the FDA under "restricted distribution regulations." Interestingly, along with patents for the drug, Jazz also sought patent protection for their method of monitoring and controlling the distribution of sensitive drugs, like Xyrem. Unfortunately, both the patent board and federal appellate court found the patents a little too obvious.

Does Coke Have 'Zero' Chance in Trademark Lawsuit?

There's a word for what the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said in Royal Crown Company v. The Coca-Cola Company. It's "zero."

Of course, the decision is much more complicated but still came down to the same word. Basically, the appeals court zeroed out a trademark decision regarding the term.

The Federal Circuit said the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board erred in framing the genericness of the term and sent the case back for further consideration. For Coca-Cola, it's back to zero.

Pfizer Loses Patent Appeal, But Wins FDA Approval

At a multi-national monster like Pfizer, good news and bad news happens daily.

Last week, the good news came from government approval of its anemia treatment. The bad news came from a court invalidating one of its patents.

In Anacor Pharmaceuticals v. Iancu, a federal appeals court said a process for using tavaborole was too obvious for patent protection. That's a treatment for "toenail fungus," if you wanted to know.

Dr. Dre Loses Trademark Case Against Dr. Drai

Dr. Dre, the rap star, sued to block a trademark by Dr. Drai, a gynecologist.

Dr. Draion Bruch, who goes by Dr. Drai, said he uses his short name for business purposes. Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, said the trademark would confuse people.

The Patent and Trademark Office was not confused, however, and ruled against the music man in Young v. Burch. But what is mind-blowing, how come the highest paid doctor is a rapper?

Oil Field Technology Patents Invalidated

Somewhere beneath the ocean floor, oil pools in rich supply.

On the surface, oil companies fight over the technology to get it. In WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corporation, an appeals court declared a winner.

The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals said three WesternGeco patents for finding suboceanic oil were invalid. The winner claims it conquered a leviathan.

Personalized Medicine Gets a Booster Shot From Patent Court

When new drugs come on the market, the warnings about side effects can seriously dampen the advertised benefits.

Personalized medicine through genetic testing holds the promise of changing all that. Designed to reduce adverse side effects on an individual basis, it seeks customized solutions for all kinds of ailments.

In Vanda Pharmaceuticals v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, a federal appeals court affirmed the validity of a patent for treating schizophrenia based on such genetic testing. Industry watchers say it could help solve problems before they begin.

In a ruling that is making waves throughout New Orleans, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the federal government's liability, under a takings theory, for damage caused by the Hurricane Katrina flooding in St. Bernard Parish.

In short, the case alleged that the government's construction, and failure to properly maintain, the MRGO canal resulted in additional damage during Katrina. Significantly, the appellate court held that the government could not be held liable for its failure to maintain the canal and surrounding area.

BigLaw Firm Offers Six-Figure Bonus to Former Federal Circuit Clerks

Fish & Richardson is like a flying fish.

One year, the law firm is flying with more than 400 lawyers. The next year it's down in the low 300s.

Now the lawyers are trying to make a big leap again. And this time they're recruiting with some serious bait -- a six-figure bonus.