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U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Blow To Diagnostic Method Patents

The Federal Circuit has issued its long-awaited decision in Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc., but the decision is not good news for those seeking to obtain or enforce U.S. patents on diagnostic methods. The appeals court affirmed the district court’s finding that Sequenom’s claims are invalid under 35 USC § 101, applying the analytical framework set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Mayo decision in a way that could have a ripple effect across the diagnostic and personalized medicine industry.

The Claims At Issue 

The Sequenom patent at issue was U.S. Patent 6,258,540. The claimed technology relates to diagnostic methods for determining certain fetal characteristics such as [...]

USA: Microsoft Corporation v. Proxyconn, Inc, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Nos. 2014-1542, 16 June 2015

Proxyconn, Inc. was able to show that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board erred in construing certain claims of a patent challenged by Microsoft Corporation in inter partes review petitions, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Microsoft Corporation v. Proxyconn, Inc., June 16, 2015, Prost, S.).

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

USA: Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., Supreme Court of the United States, No. 13-896, 26 May 2015

An accused party’s belief in the invalidity of a patent is not a defense to a claim that the party induced infringement of the patent, the U.S. Supreme Court has held. In a dispute between Commil USA and accused infringer Cisco Systems, the Court reversed a holding of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that “evidence of an accused inducer’s good-faith belief of invalidity may negate the requisite intent for induced infringement.” The case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision (Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., May 26, 2015, Kennedy, A.).

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.

U.S. Court Sets High Bar For Joint Infringement Of Method Claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its remand decision in Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., and this time affirmed the district court decision that Limelight was not liable for infringement of Akamai’s patents because Limelight had not performed each step of the method claims and was not responsible for the actions of its customers. The decision sets a high bar for joint infringement of method claims, requiring a principal-agent relationship, contractual relationship, or joint enterprise to hold a party liable for the actions of another.  

Liability For U.S. Patent Infringement

Liability for U.S. patent infringement is provided for in 35 [...]

USA: ArcelorMittal France v. AK Steel Corp, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2014-1191, 12 May 2015

In light of a binding prior Federal Circuit decision narrowly construing a key claim term in a patent relating to type of mechanically-resistant steel sheet, the federal district court in Wilmington, Delaware, properly invalidated the first 23 claims of a reissue patent as impermissibly broader than the original claims, but the court erred in invalidating two newly added claims because they did not exceed the scope of the original claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has determined (ArcelorMittal France v. AK Steel Corp., May 12, 2015, Hughes, T.). The case was remanded to the district court for a decision on the merits regarding the two valid claims.

A full summary of t [...]

USA: AstraZeneca LP v. Breath Limited, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2015-1335, 7 May 2015

The federal district court in Camden, New Jersey, did not err in finding U.S. Patent No. 7,524,834 (“the ’834 patent”) held by AstraZeneca LP and AstraZeneca AB (“AstraZeneca”) and asserted against Breath Limited, Apotex Corp., Apotex, Inc., Sandoz Inc., and Watson Laboratories, Inc. (collectively, the “defendants”), invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has decided (AstraZeneca LP v. Breath Limited, May 7, 2015, Prost, S.). Thus, the district court’s 166-page opinion, on remand from the Federal Circuit’s earlier decision that reversed and remanded the district court’s noninfringement findings on the ‘834 patent based [...]

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