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


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.

For Google fans and investors, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recent panel decision may not be the easiest read. Basically, Oracle's lawsuit against Google stemming from the unlicensed use of Java APIs was not just resurrected from the dead by the appellate panel, the jury's verdict for Google was turned into a win for Oracle.

The panel remanded the case back to the trial court, but only to conduct a trial on damages. It is expected that Oracle will seek approximately $9 billion for the extensive unlicensed use of the Java APIs. Notably, that's a rather large drop in the Alphabet Inc./Google bucket; a drop that represents a little less than 10 percent of the giant's annual revenue.

Patent Infringement Suit Revived Against Google

Everybody knows how to 'google,' but not everybody knows a 'googol.'

That happens sometimes when a word becomes so popular that another gets lost in usage. "Google," the company, has also eclipsed another company with its cloud messaging.

SimpleAir owns a '433 patent relating to push notification technology, which allows messages to pop up on devices without opening a separate application. SimpleAir won an appeal against Google for infringement of related patents, but is still under the long shadow of Google's popular cloud.

The Elbit Systems v. Thales Visionix appeal came down to a battle of experts, and it was the more supported expert's testimony that carried the day for Thales Visionix.

Thales Visionix is a French defense company that has vigorously defended their motion tracking patent. It has accused the U.S. Government as well as Elbit Systems of infringing on their IP. In response, Elbit brought an inter parties review action, which has not been successful.

Decisions in patent appeals often involve long winded explanations that delve deep into technical specifications, discuss the various merits of the competing interests, and provide detailed exposition of how the ultimate decision was reached. However, sometimes, on appeal, all the circuit court really needs to say is "no error, judgment affirmed."

In the most recent of Google's patent appeals on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal's docket, the court rejected the search giant's contention that a patent held by Network-1 was actually unpatentable. Luckily for Google, the appellate court provided a little less than a page worth of explanation.