Here’s the latest.

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court’s Eligibility Analysis, Reyna Dissents

Reported by IPWatchdog on

On July 14, the Federal Circuit held that NetScout willfully infringed Packet Intelligence’s claims regarding three of their patents. The court affirmed the district court’s holding regarding infringement, invalidity, and willfulness but reversed on the issue of pre-suit damages, with Judge Reyna dissenting on the issue of patent eligibility. While NetScout argued that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea of “collecting, comparing, and classifying packet information,” the Federal Circuit disagreed, citing SRI International, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc. as precedent for finding the claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. IP Watchdog elaborates:

The CAFC noted that the asserted patents’ specifications made ‘clear that the claimed invention presented a technological solution to a technological problem’ by explaining that prior art network monitors were unable to identify disjointed connection flows to each other. The CAFC also noted that the ‘focus of the claims [was] a specific improvement in computer technology: a more granular, nuanced, and useful classification of network traffic.’

In a separate opinion, Judge Reyna concurred on all issues except the patentability of the asserted claims. In Reyna’s dissenting opinion, the patents were directed toward the abstract idea of identifying data packets as belonging to “conversational flows,” because the claim does not identify how the packets are identified as “conversational flows.” IP Watchdog further explains Reyna’s analysis:

[T]he claims do not provide ‘the specificity required to transform a claim from one claiming only a result to one claiming a way of achieving it.’ Distinguishing SRI, Reyna noted that the claims in SRI specifically recited how the claimed monitors accomplished a step of ‘detecting… suspicious network activity’, while the claims of the asserted patents do not recite how the ‘desired result of ‘identif[ying]’ packets as belonging to a conversational flow is achieved.’

For more information on this case, see our coverage.

Nike, Adidas Escape Patent Claims Over Athletic-Shoe Soles

Reported by Blake Brittain on

The Federal Circuit found no infringement in Akeva, LLC v. Nike, Inc., holding that Nike and Adidas did not infringe Akeva’s wear-reducing patent because the patent did not cover shoes with conventional soles. Akeva’s patents cover detachable shoe soles, designed to reduce wear, and sued Nike, Adidas, and other shoe companies for patent infringement. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the patents did not cover the companies’ shoes because the companies’ shoes all have fixed rear soles. Brittain summarizes the Federal Circuit’s reasoning:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed, and found the patent ‘clearly disclaims’ fixed rear soles. The court said the patent disparages the conventional fixed sole design for causing outsole wear and reducing midsole cushioning, and differentiates the invention’s removable or rotatable soles from it.

The Federal Circuit also affirmed the district court’s holding that four of the five patents were invalid. Brittain explains:

The relevant parts of four of the patents were invalid because they were preceded by Nike’s accused shoes, the court affirmed, and the invalid patents couldn’t claim the valid patent’s earlier priority date.

For more information on this case, see our coverage.

Patent invalidity claim no cure for ITC’s import ban on grippy mugs

Reported by Brendan Pierson on

In Mayborn Group, Ltd. v. International Trade Commission, the Federal Circuit held that a party can not raise an invalidity defense in seeking rescission of an ITC exclusion order. The dispute involved Mayborn Group Ltd., a UK-based company that imports spill-resistant beverage containers, and New Jersey-based Mighty Mug Inc., which sells a patented mug that grips the surface it is on to avoid spills. In 2017, Mighty Mug filed a complaint with the ITC, seeking to block imports by multiple companies of products that allegedly infringed their grip patent, and ITC entered a general exclusion order barring all imports.

In 2019, Mighty Mug informed Mayborn that its products violated the exclusion order and Mighty Mug was working to block imports of Mayborn’s products. Mayborn petitioned the ITC to rescind the order based on patent invalidity, citing a statute that allows rescission of an exclusion order if the conditions that gave rise to the order no longer exist. ITC denied the petition, and the Federal Circuit agreed with ITC’s denial. Pierson quoted Judge Lourie in explaining the court’s reasoning:

‘Since Mayborn’s petition did not raise an invalidity defense in the course of an investigation or enforcement proceeding under (the unfair import practices statute), the Commission lacked the authority to adjudicate its invalidity challenge,’ Circuit Judge Alan Lourie wrote. He was joined by Circuit Judges Richard Linn and Evan Wallach.

For more information on this case, see our coverage.