This morning the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the District of Minnesota addressing numerous issues concerning validity and infringement. The Federal Circuit also released four nonprecedential opinions in patent, tax, and employment cases. Notably, in a patent case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Judge Newman wrote a dissenting opinion. Finally, the court issued six Rule 36 judgments. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the Rule 36 judgments.
Niazi Licensing Corp. v. St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. (Precedential)
This appeal asks us to resolve numerous issues: validity and infringement of various claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,638,268; several evidentiary rulings; and the appropriateness of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota’s entry of sanctions against Appellant Niazi Licensing Corporation. First, Niazi appeals the district court’s determination that all but one of the asserted claims of the ’268 patent are invalid as indefinite. We conclude that, when read in light of the intrinsic evidence, a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the scope of the claims with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, we reverse that determination and remand for the district court to resolve whether Appellee St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. (St. Jude) has infringed those claims and whether its remaining invalidity defenses are applicable. Second, Niazi appeals the district court’s summary judgment of no induced infringement of the only asserted claim it did not hold indefinite. We agree with the district court that Niazi failed to prove direct infringement—a necessary element of Niazi’s inducement claim—and therefore affirm that judgment. Third, Niazi appeals the district court’s sanction excluding portions of Niazi’s technical expert and damages expert reports because Niazi failed to disclose the predicate facts during fact discovery and granting monetary sanctions. Because Niazi points to no abuse of discretion, we affirm the district court’s entry of sanctions. Finally, Niazi appeals the district court’s exclusion of portions of its damages expert report as unreliable. Because we agree that the damages opinion was conclusory and legally insufficient, we affirm that exclusion as well.
Surgalign Spine Technologies v. LifeNet Health (Nonprecedential)
LifeNet Health (“LifeNet”) is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 8,182,532 (“the ’532 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 6,458,158 (“the ’158 patent”). After LifeNet sued Surgalign Spine Technologies, Inc., formerly known as RTI Surgical, Inc. (“Surgalign”), for infringement of those patents, Surgalign petitioned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) for inter partes review (“IPR”) of both patents. In the IPR for the ’532 patent, the Board issued a final written decision in which it determined that Surgalign had proved claims 12–21 to be unpatentable but had not proved claims 4 and 6–11 to be unpatentable. Surgalign Spine Techs., Inc. v. LifeNet Health, No. IPR2019-00570, 2020 Pat. App. LEXIS 12593, at *76 (P.T.A.B. Aug. 26, 2020) (“’532 FWD”). In the final written decision in the IPR for the ’158 patent, the Board determined that Surgalign had failed to prove unpatentability for the claims of that patent, claims 1–15. Surgalign Spine Techs., Inc. v. LifeNet Health, No. IPR 2019-00569, 2020 Pat. App. LEXIS 12576, at *48 (P.T.A.B. Aug. 26, 2020) (“’158 FWD”).
Surgalign appeals the Board’s determination that claims 4 and 6–11 of the ’532 patent and claims 1–15 of the ’158 patent were not proven to be unpatentable. LifeNet cross-appeals the Board’s determination that claims 12–21 of the ’532 patent were proven to be unpatentable. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, dissenting, in part.
This appeal concerns LifeNet’s invention of a novel bone graft for implant into the spinal column. LifeNet’s spinal graft is a composite of layers of cortical bone and cancellous bone, in a new structure that promotes the growth of patient bone at the implantation site by processes of osteoinductivity and cellularization. The LifeNet graft is reported to provide enhanced stability and strength to the spinal column.
On LifeNet’s suit for patent infringement, Surgalign filed petitions for inter partes review of several LifeNet patents. The two patents on this appeal are U.S. Patent No. 8,182,532 (“the ’532 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 6,458,158 (“the ’158 patent”). I focus on my colleagues’ erroneous reversal of the PTAB’s decision sustaining validity of claims 4 and 6–11 of the ’532 patent.1 The references on which the majority relies to invalidate claims 4 and 6–11 of the ’532 patent, the Grooms and Paul references, do not show or suggest the claimed structure of plate-like layers of cortical and cancellous bone. The novelty of the claimed structure is undisputed, and the PTAB’s ruling of nonobviousness is well supported by the specification and the prior art.
I respectfully dissent from my colleagues’ reversal of the PTAB decision sustaining validity of claims 4 and 6– 11.
Koopmann v. United States (Nonprecedential)
This is a tax refund case. Appellants William C. Brashear and William Koopmann (collectively, “Appellants”) sued the government in the United States Court of Federal Claims (“the Claims Court”) alleging that they are entitled to a refund of Federal Insurance Contribution Act (“FICA”) taxes that were paid on deferred compensation that they never received. The Claims Court dismissed their claims. Koopmann v. United States, 150 Fed. Cl. 299 (2020) (“Brashear Decision”); Koopmann v. United States, 150 Fed. Cl. 290 (2020) (“Koopmann Decision”). For the reasons provided below, we affirm the decisions of the Claims Court.
Webb v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Nonprecedential)
Mr. Samuel Webb appeals a decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims sustaining the special master’s decision dismissing Mr. Webb’s petition for compensation for a vaccine injury. Mr. Webb argues that the special master abused his discretion by failing to conduct a status conference after the government submitted its supplemental Vaccine Rule 4(c) report and that the special master acted arbitrarily and capriciously in finding that Mr. Webb’s Bell’s palsy symptoms began before his November 20, 2012 flu vaccine. For the reasons explained below, we affirm.
Koopmann v. United States (Nonprecedential)
Appellant William Royall, Jr. appeals from the decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“the Claims Court”) dismissing his claims for failure to prosecute under Rule 41(b) of the Rules of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“RCFC”). Koopmann v. United States, 151 Fed. Cl. 336 (2020) (“Rule 41(b) Decision”); see also Koopmann v. United States, 151 Fed. Cl. 805, 807 (2021) (“Rule 54(b) Decision”); S. Appx. 1 (Judgment). For the reasons explained below, we affirm.