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March 2014 Archives

Scrivener Has No Claim of Inventorship of Patent

The facts of this case are not terribly exciting. Robert Allen had a payment system used in the automotive industry. With David Gillman's help, he filled out patent paperwork, giving Allen sole inventorship, for using the system to process health care claims. Other licensing agreements and ownership agreements gave Gillman some rights, though it seems most of those rights seemed were transferred to Allen's company, StoneEagle, in 2010.

In 2011, it turned out that the patent was valuable. Gillman got angry, the relationship soured, and StoneEagle sought a declaratory judgment that Allen was the sole inventor and owner of the patent. A defective injunction was issued, then "clarified" in 2013, yet Gillman tried to start a competing venture anyway.

Now, he's appealing the declaratory judgment and injunction.

Another week passed, and still no word whether the Supreme Court will hear a decision originating in the Federal Circuit, that could have an effect on how soon generic versions of a drug show up on the market, reports Reuters. And in more recent Federal Circuit jurisprudence, the court looks at overtime compensation for Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") air-traffic control specialists.

Teva et al., v. Sandoz, Inc., et al.

Teva manufactures Copaxone, a multiple-sclerosis drug, and has been seeking to delay introduction of generic competing drugs. In a patent infringement claim against Novartis's Sandoz, Mylan and Momenta, the Federal Circuit "upheld four Teva patents that expire in May while invalidating a separate patent that would have blocked generic competition until September 2015," according to Bloomberg.

Fed Circuit Roundup: Venue Gets Murkier, Crowdsourcing Prior Art?

Some days, it just seems like we should burn down our entire patent system and redesign it from the ground up. Today is one of those days.

How complicated is venue in a patent case? Take a look at Apple. They're in Cupertino, California, right? Except, they have a one-person subsidiary in Luxembourg, which itself has a six-person subsidiary that does nothing but patent work, and is located in the patent plaintiff-friendly Eastern District of Texas.

Where do they sue? Probably Texas, since it's so patent-friendly. Of course, that's probably why they located a new subsidiary there. And when a defendant has to travel to Texas to be sued, well, it's probably too bad. And two recent decisions by the Federal Circuit won't help, as the panel took an already murky procedural question and made it worse.

Google's not off the hook. What a California district court did to get it out of court was undone last week by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Vederi's Patents

The Google product up for debate is Street View. Vederi, LLC sued Google alleging that Google's Street View violates four of Vederi's patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,239,760; 7,577,316; 7,805,025; 7,813,596. The four patents together are for a "system and method for creating, storing, and utilizing composite images of a geographic location." That is, they define a method of "generating a composite image that provides a field of view that is wider than that provided by a single image." They all share common specification, and claim priority.

Nautilus v. Biosig Instruments: SCOTUS Oral Arguments Almost Here

With oral arguments slated for April, anticipation continues to build in the U.S. Supreme Court case Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments Inc.

Stemming from the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the legal standard of invalidity for indefiniteness.

Last week, the Federal Circuit granted a petition for a rehearing en banc, in a case that brings up interesting issues of individual, and corporate, liability. Harish Shadadpuri is the president and only shareholder of Trek Leather, Inc., a company that imported men's suits. Mercantile Electronics, LLC ("ME") was the consignee of the suits, and Shadadpuri also happens to own 40% of ME's shares.

Failure to "Assist"

Under 19 U.S.C. § 1401a, an "assist" includes materials, an item that Shadadpuri failed to include on customs documentation, with the result of lowering the amount of duties paid. When brought to his attention in 2002, Shadadpuri paid the unpaid duties, and Customs officials did not pursue an action against him personally.

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in a duo of cases 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 arguments were concluded before the two-hours allotted for argument, and the most exciting news from the Supreme Court was unrelated to attorney fees, notes SCOTUSblog.