Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights a discussion of patent eligibility cases pending at the Federal Circuit, a comment on the Federal Circuit’s recent grant of interlocutory review of a district court’s exclusion of all of a patent owner’s expert testimony related to damages, and a note about the Federal Circuit’s recent use of general knowledge in an analysis of patent law’s non-obviousness requirement.
Perry Cooper reported for Bloomberg Law that “[t]he Federal Circuit may be the last hope for clarity on what inventions are eligible for patents—if the judges can agree on what the rules should be.” Cooper highlights that “[t]here are six cases on the oral argument calendar that raise eligibility questions,” but she notes that “[t]here’s no guarantee that rulings in upcoming patent eligibility cases will offer the clarity that practitioners crave” due to divided opinions on the Court. (I provided a quote used in the article.)
At Comparative Patent Remedies, Thomas Cotter commented on the Federal Circuit’s issuance of “a per curiam order [Thursday] in MLC Intellectual Property, LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc., accepting an interlocutory appeal.” Given that the district court excluded all of the patent owner’s expert testimony related to damages, Cotter notes that “the case potentially raises the question of what to do when a party prevails on liability but offers no admissible evidence on damages.” He writes that “[m]aybe after MLC the law will no longer be so underdeveloped” in this area.
PatentlyO’s Dennis Crouch highlighted the Federal Circuit’s recent ruling in Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google LLC, in which the Court affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s cancellation of certain claims of Philips’s patent as obvious. According to Crouch, the Federal Circuit’s opinion implies “that ‘general knowledge’ is not ‘prior art’ but instead part of the definition of [a person having ordinary skill in the art] under” the Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. John Deere Co.