Here’s the latest.

The Light That You Shine can be Seen: Federal Circuit on Seal

Reported by Dennis Crouch on

On Thursday, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s no-seal order in Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Apple, Inc., emphasizing the need for a “narrow, well-supported” sealing request to overcome the presumption of public access. The court outlines a two-part test for determining whether documents should be sealed. Crouch elaborates:

An important aspect of the decision is that it asks district courts to balance the sealing factors on a case-by-case basis. . . . The court also spells out the process: (1) make sure that the party/parties asking for redaction have presented compelling reasons…supported by evidence.  If not, then no redaction. (2) If compelling reasons have been presented, then also consider the public’s interest in viewing the particular material.

While the district court considered both the compelling reasons to seal and the public’s interest, the Federal Circuit did not reach the public interest factor, holding that Uniloc failed to give compelling reasons to seal. Crouch points out, however, that one implication of the court’s reasoning is that even if there are compelling reasons to seal, these can still be overcome by the public’s interest.

Additionally, Crouch notes that the Federal Circuit applied 9th Circuit law in this case, so the approach will differ with each venue.

For more information on this case, see our coverage.

Toyota Fails to Revive Patent on Fingerprint-Reducing Coating

Reported by Perry Cooper on

In Toyota Motor Corp. v. Reactive Surfaces Ltd., the Federal Circuit affirmed PTAB’s conclusion that Toyota’s patent to reduce the appearance of fingerprints on touchscreen displays was invalid for being obvious. Reactive Surfaces Ltd. sought inter partes review of the patent, arguing it was obvious based on another patent and an article from forensic science literature. The court approved PTAB’s consideration of this article as “relevant prior art.” Cooper highlights the importance of the court’s approval:

The decision provides a reminder that analogous prior art not only includes art from the same field as the invention at issue but also from other fields if the reference is pertinent to the particular problem the inventor is trying to solve.

For more information on this case, see our coverage.

Federal Circuit Panel Appears Prepared to Find Standard is Sufficient to Prove Infringement for SEP Compliant Products

Reported by Michael T. Renaud, James Wodarski, Daniel B. Weinger, and Kara E. Grogan on

Depending on how the Federal Circuit responds to a July 6 oral argument, it could soon be easier for SEP patent holders to prove infringement. In Godo Kaisha IP Bridge I v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., IP Bridge originally sued TCL for infringements of Standard Essential Patents. IP Bridge convinced the jury that the asserted claims were essential to the LTE standard, because phones using LTE could not function on the LTE network without infringing the claims. TCL appealed, challenging the court’s use of Fujitsu to find infringement by analyzing the standard instead of the product itself. Renaud, Wodarski, Weinger, and Grogan summarize TCL’s oral argument:

 TCL argued for a narrow interpretation of Fujitsu, which…requires the district court to determine as a matter of law during claim construction that the claim covers every possible implementation of the standard before allowing use of the standard as evidence of infringement. The Federal Circuit panel expressed doubt at this argument, questioning whether TCL’s reading of Fujitsu takes the language…out of its relevant context: for a decision on summary judgment.

TCL also argued that when comparing the claims to the products instead of the LTE standard, there was not enough evidence to prove infringement. However, in response, IP Bridge cited evidence linking the claims to the products. Ultimately, if the court finds for IP Bridge, then there will be positive ramifications for SEP patent holders in the United States. Renaud et al. explains:

Any decision that makes the substantial burden to prove infringement of SEP patents easier will be welcome in a market frequently experiencing efficient infringement and enhance the appeal of the US as a place to adjudicate SEP licensing and infringement disputes.