This morning the Federal Circuit issued three precedential opinions in patent cases, one precedential opinion in a trademark case, and one precedential opinion in a Merit Systems Protection Board case. The Federal Circuit also issued three nonprecedential opinions in patent cases, two nonprecedential opinions in Merit System Protection Board cases, and one Rule 36 judgment. Here are the introductions to the opinions and the Rule 36 judgment.
BASF Corp. v. SNF Holding Co. (Precedential)
BASF Corporation appeals from a decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, granting summary judgment that claims 1 and 3–7 of U.S. Patent 5,633,329 (the “’329 patent”) are invalid as anticipated and that claim 2 is invalid as obvious. See BASF Corp. v. SNF Holding Co., No. 4:17-cv-00251-RSB- BWC (S.D. Ga. Oct. 4, 2018), ECF No. 355 (“Decision”). The district court concluded that a process performed by a third party, Celanese Corporation’s “Sanwet® Process,” evidenced prior art knowledge and use of the patented invention within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 102(a), and further constituted both a public-use bar and an on-sale bar to the patented invention under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b).
For the reasons set forth below, we disagree and hold that the Sanwet® Process does not create an on-sale bar to the ’329 patent under § 102(b). We also conclude that the district court misinterpreted § 102(a) and the public-use bar of § 102(b), and that under the proper legal standard, genuine issues of material fact preclude the entry of summary judgment on those issues. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.
Technical Consumer Products, Inc. v. Lighting Science Group (Precedential)
Technical Consumer Products, Inc., Nicor, Inc., and Amax Lighting (collectively, “TCP”) petitioned for inter partes review of several claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,201,968. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board determined that TCP did not demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 1–4, 6, 14, and 15 of the ’968 patent were anticipated by U.S. Patent No.7,670,021 (“Chou”) or that claims 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 16, 17, and 19–23 would have been obvious over Chou alone or in view of other prior art references. The Board based its determinations exclusively on its finding that Chou does not disclose a single limitation (hereinafter, the “H/D limitation”) in claims 1 and 20 of the ’968 patent, the only independent claims at issue.
The Board’s conclusions regarding the H/D limitation resulted from an erroneous interpretation of the claim language and a misunderstanding of our case law. The Board did not address any of the parties’ other arguments regarding the other limitations of claim 1 or of the rest of the challenged claims. Because claims 1, 11, 14, 15, 17, and 19–23 of the ’968 patent were found to be unpatentable on other grounds not at issue on appeal, we vacate the Board’s decision of no anticipation or obviousness solely as to claims 2– 4, 6–8, 12, and 16 and remand for consideration of the parties’ remaining arguments pertaining to those claims.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mylan Inc., and Mylan Laboratories Ltd. (collectively, “Mylan”) appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey’s grant of summary judgment that claim 8 of U.S. Patent 8,552,025 (“the ’025 patent”) is not invalid. Valeant Pharm. Int’l, Inc. v. Mylan Pharm., Inc., No. 2:15-cv-08180 (SRC), 2018 WL 2023537 (D.N.J. May 1, 2018) (“Decision”). For the reasons detailed below, we reverse and remand.
In re Forney Industries, Inc. (Precedential)
Forney Industries, Inc. (“Forney”) appeals from a decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) which affirmed the trademark examining attorney’s refusal to register Forney’s proposed mark on grounds that the proposed mark is of a type that can never be inherently distinctive. In Re Forney Indus., Inc., 2018 WL 4348337 (T.T.A.B. Sept. 10, 2018) (“Board Op.”). Because the Board erred by holding that: (1) a multi-color mark can never be inherently distinctive, and (2) product packaging marks that employ color cannot be inherently distinctive in the absence of a well-defined peripheral shape or border, we vacate and remand for further proceedings.
Sistek v. Department of Veterans Affairs (Precedential)
Petitioner Leonard Sistek, Jr. appeals the final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board denying corrective action in his claim filed under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Mr. Sistek, now retired, was a director at the Department of Veterans Affairs who made multiple protected disclosures over the course of several years. He alleged that certain individuals at the agency launched an investigation against him in retaliation for his whistleblowing activities, ultimately resulting in a letter of reprimand filed against him. The Board denied corrective action for the allegedly retaliatory investigation based on its view that a retaliatory investigation, in and of itself, does not qualify as a personnel action within the meaning of the WPA. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the Board’s decision.
Askan v. Faro Technologies, Inc. (Nonprecedential)
Yoldas Askan appeals the dismissal of his complaint for patent infringement against FARO Technologies, Inc. (“FARO”). He also appeals related orders denying his motions for reconsideration and clarification. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, dismissed Mr. Askan’s complaint as a sanction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 for his refusal to comply with discovery procedures. Askan v. FARO Techs., Inc., No. 6:18-cv-1122-Orl-40DCI, 2019 WL 2206918 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 11, 2019), App. 1–3 (the “March 11th Order”). The court issued a subsequent order denying Mr. Askan’s motion for reconsideration. Order, Askan v. FARO Techs., Inc., No. 6:18-cv-1122-Orl-40DCI, (M.D. Fla. April 11, 2019), ECF No. 117, App. 13. The court also issued a text order (i.e., a text-only entry on the court’s docket that does not include a written analysis) denying Mr. Askan’s motion for clarification. App. 25–26. We affirm the court’s decisions.
Satco Products, Inc. v. Lighting Science Group Corp. (Nonprecedential)
Satco Products, Inc. appeals the determination of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that claims 1, 2, 6, 11, 14, 15, and 19–23 of U.S. Patent No. 8,201,968 are not anticipated or, in combination with other prior art references, rendered obvious by U.S. Patent No. 7,670,021. The issues in this case are identical to the issues presented to us in Technical Consumer Products Inc. v. Lighting Science Group Corp., No. 19-1361 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 8, 2020), issued herewith. For the reasons stated in that opinion, and because claims 2 and 6 of the ’968 patent are the only remaining challenged claims in this case,1 we vacate the Board’s decision of no anticipation or obviousness of claims 2 and 6 and remand for consideration of the parties’ remaining arguments pertaining to those claims.
In re Thomas (Nonprecedential)
C. Douglass Thomas appeals a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) affirming the examiner’s rejection of all pending claims in U.S. Patent Application No. 11/960,449 (“’449 application”) under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
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We have considered Thomas’s arguments on the patent eligibility of the claims but find them unpersuasive. The decision of the Board is affirmed.
Willingham v. Department of the Navy (Nonprecedential)
Mr. Nathanael J. Willingham appeals from a decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (the “Board”) affirming his indefinite suspension by the Military Sealift Command (“MSC”) of the United States Navy. Willingham v. Dep’t of the Navy, No. DC-0752-18-0850-I-1 (M.S.P.B. Mar. 11, 2019) (“Decision”). For the reasons detailed below, we affirm the decision of the Board.
Noffke v. Department of Defense (Nonprecedential)
Tina M. Noffke seeks review of a decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”). The Board affirmed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (“NGA”) decision to remove Ms. Noffke from her position at the NGA for absence without leave (“AWOL”), falsification, and conduct unbecoming a federal employee. We affirm.