Court Week

This week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit. In total, the court will convene eleven panels to consider 48 cases this week and on Tuesday of next week. Of these 48 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 35. The Federal Circuit is providing access to live audio of these arguments via the Federal Circuit’s YouTube channel. Of the argued cases, three cases attracted amicus briefs. Two are appeals of judgments of patent ineligibility, and one is an appeal of an order to request the Food and Drug Administration to remove (or “delist”) a patent from the FDA’s so-called Orange Book. Here’s what you need to know about these three cases.

Realtime Data LLC v. Array Networks Inc.

As discussed in our argument preview, in this case, the Federal Circuit will review a determination by a district court that Realtime’s patents are directed to an abstract idea and lack inventive concept and are thus invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Realtime argues the asserted patent claims “are directed to methods and systems for digital data compression and are aimed at solving known problems in conventional data compression systems.” Further, it asserts, “[t]he claims are directed to specific improvements in computer functionality and thus are not abstract.” Finally, Realtime contends the district court “erroneously concluded that the claims lack inventive concept merely because some of the claim limitations utilize known compression algorithms and generic hardware.” 

In response, Array argues Realtime’s patents “fail both steps” of the two-part eligibility analysis. Under the first step, Array asserts, “the claims as a whole are directed to abstract ideas involving data compression—namely, analyzing, processing, manipulating, storing, and outputting data.” According to Realtime, these “are the types of generalized concepts that this Court has previously found to be ineligible.” Moreover, it contends, the patents fail step two because they “merely claim generic computer components.”

One amicus brief was filed in this case by Veritas Technologies in favor of Array.

Brian Ledahl will argue for Realtime.

John Neukom will argue for Array.

This argument is scheduled to take place on Friday, February 10 in Courtroom 201 at 10:00 AM Eastern.

C.R. Bard, Inc. v. Medical Components, Inc.

As explained in this case’s argument preview, the Federal Circuit will review a determination by a district court that Bard’s claims are directed to patent-ineligible printed matter and, moreover, lack an inventive concept. This case also involves a cross-appeal, and with respect to it the court will similarly consider whether MedComp’s patent claims are ineligible.

Bard argues the district court’s ruling conflicts with Federal Circuit precedent addressing “the interplay between the printed matter doctrine and [35 U.S.C.] § 101.” Bard points to precedent holding “that a patent claim is ineligible under § 101 when ‘it is directed solely to non-functional printed matter and the claim contains no additional inventive concept.’” Bard also contends that, “[e]ven if Bard’s claims are directed solely to printed matter . . . the district court still erred in granting summary judgment . . . because the record is insufficient as a matter of law to establish that the patents lack an inventive concept.”

In its principal and response brief, MedComp asserts the district court “correctly held that the claims asserted by Bard are solely directed to printed matter . . . and correctly recognized that . . . printed matter includes the ‘matter’ itself.” With respect to its cross-appeal, MedComp argues that, if the Federal Circuit “finds Bard’s claims eligible under Section 101, it should similarly find MedComp’s . . . claims eligible under the law of the case doctrine.”

Bard, in its response and reply brief, argues the Federal Circuit “has squarely held that a claim must be ‘directed solely’ to printed matter to warrant invalidation under § 101” and that Bard’s claim is not directed solely to printed matter. As to MedComp’s cross-appeal, Bard argues that, because MedComp’s opening brief “lacks any substantive argument, in no event should the judgment of invalidity as to MedComp’s patents be disturbed.”

In its reply brief, MedComp asserts that, “[b]ecause the District Court applied the same legal analysis to patents without principled distinctions between them and relied on the same factual record, if the District Court erred with respect to its judgment of invalidity of Bard’s patents, the judgment of invalidity of MedComp’s patent should likewise be reversed.”

Two amicus briefs were filed, both in favor or MedComp, by Smiths Medical ASD, Inc. and Angiodynamics, Inc.

Omar Kahn will argue for Bard.

Alfred Zaher will argue for MedComp.

This argument is scheduled to take place on Friday, February 10 in Courtroom 402 at 10:00 AM Eastern.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Avadel CNS Pharmaceuticals LLC

As explained in our argument preview, in this case, the Federal Circuit will review a determination by a district court that Jazz must request the Food and Drug Administration remove (or “delist”) one of its patents from the FDA’s so-called Orange Book because that patent was improperly listed.

Jazz argues that, “[e]ven if the district court were right that the [relevant] patent is a system patent for patent-law purposes, a patent containing system claims can nonetheless recite ‘an approved method of using the drug’ within the meaning of the key [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] provision.” Moreover, it argues that, “[i]ndependently, the district court erred in concluding that whether the [relevant patent] was properly listed in the first place is irrelevant to the question of whether it should be delisted.” Finally, in the alternative, it asserts that, “[e]ven if patent law provided the correct framework for determining whether a patent should be listed under the FDCA, the evidence before the district court on claim construction demonstrated that the claimed system of the . . . patent is a method of use.”

In response, Avadel argues the district court correctly found the patent “does not claim any ‘methods’ at all, but rather claims ‘systems’” and “[t]hat claim-construction analysis ‘disposes of the [delisting] inquiry.’” Furthermore, it asserts, the district court properly rejected the argument that its “delisting counterclaim depends on showing that the . . . patent was not properly listed in the first place.”

One amicus brief was filed in this case in favor of Avadel by The Public Interest Patent Law Institute, Professor Robin Feldman, Eliana Bookbinder, Brian Mahn, and the Niskanen Center.

Steven Horowitz will argue for Jazz.

Gabriel Bell will argue for Avadel.

This argument is scheduled to take place Tuesday, February 14 in Courtroom 201 at 10:00 AM Eastern.