October 2, 2017

Federal Circuit Court Decisions For Week Ending August 25, 2017

Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. v. Octane Fitness, LLC, No. 2016-1047, 2016-1101 (August 25, 2017) (nonprecedential) Patent Nos. 5,104,120 (’120 patent) and 6,019,710 (’710 patent)

Key point(s):

  • Supreme Court’s exceptional case standard under 35 U.S.C. § 285 for award of attorney fees – An ‘exceptional’ case is simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.

In re Chudik, No. 2016-2673 (August 25, 2017) (nonprecedential) Patent App. No. 13/068,309 (’309 application)

Key point(s):

  • Negative limitations are construed in light of the specification
  • Under the “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard, the claim language “configured for … [some result]” may be broadly construed to cover any structure capable of achieving that result

In re Stepan Co., No. 2016-1811 (August 25, 2017) (precedential, 2-1) Patent App. No. 12/456,567 (’567 application)

Key point(s):

  • When a claim is directed to a particular combination of materials that achieve a desired result, prior art combinations of the same materials, but with different composition ratios, that fail to achieve the desired result are relevant as evidence of non-obviousness.

In re Walter, No. 2016-2256 (August 21, 2017) (nonprecedential) Patent No. 7,513,711 (’711 patent)

Key point(s):

  • If a claim employs a term of degree, the intrinsic record must provide those skilled in the art with “objective boundaries” with which to assess the term’s scope. If it does not, the claim is indefinite.

Nidec Motor Co. v. Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., No. 2016-2321 (August 22, 2017) (precedential, per curiam) Patent No. 7,626,349 (’349 patent)

Key point(s):

  • A party who has been served with a complaint for infringement of a patent has one year to file an IPR petition against the patent.
  • A person who files an IPR petition late may be permitted to join as a party to an earlier instituted IPR petition under 35 U.S.C. § 315(c).

Thought Inc. v. Oracle Corp., No. 2016-2369 (August 21, 2017) (nonprecedential) Patent No. 5,857,197 (’197 patent)

Key point(s):

  • When construing a claim term, it is instructive to look at the context in which the claim term is used within the asserted claim, in other claims, and in the specification.

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