This morning, the Federal Circuit released two precedential opinions and two nonprecedential opinions. In the first precedential opinion, the court affirmed a judgment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. In the second precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit affirmed a judgment of the International Trade Commission. In the first nonprecedential opinion, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded a judgment of the Eastern District of Texas in a patent case with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. In the second nonprecedential opinion, the Federal Circuit affirmed another judgment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Here are the introductions to the opinions.
Roku, Inc. v. Universal Electronics, Inc. (Precedential)
Roku, Inc. appeals the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision holding that claims 1, 3, 5, and 7 of U.S. Patent No. 9,716,853 had not been proven unpatentable as obvious. This case turns on a single question— whether a person of ordinary skill in the art would have understood the prior art’s disclosure of a listing of remote command codes formatted for transmission via two different communication methods to be a listing comprised of at least a first communication method and a second communication method different than the first communication method. Because the question presented involved the scope and content of the prior art, the Board resolved this dispute as a purely factual question, which we review for substantial evidence. The Board thoroughly considered the evidence of record and found in its final written decision that the skilled artisan would not have understood the prior patent’s listing of remote command codes to correspond to the claim limitation at issue. Because the Board’s finding in this close factual dispute is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm the Board’s final written decision.
Phillip Morris Products S.A. v. International Trade Commission (Precedential)
RAI Strategic Holdings, Inc., R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (collectively “Reynolds”) filed a complaint at the International Trade Commission alleging that respondents Philip Morris Products S.A., Philip Morris USA, Inc., and Altria Client Services LLC (collectively “Philip Morris”) violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1337, through the importation and sale of tobacco products that infringed certain claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,901,123 and 9,930,915. After conducting a Section 337 investigation, the Commission barred Philip Morris and its affiliates from importing products infringing the asserted patents. Philip Morris appeals, contending that the Commission failed to “consult with, and seek advice and information from” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as required by Section 337. In addition, Philip Morris challenges the Commission’s determinations on public interest, domestic industry, patent validity, and infringement. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the Commission’s decision in full.
VirnetX, Inc. v. Apple Inc. (Nonprecedential)
We previously affirmed that Apple’s VPN On Demand feature infringed claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,502,135 and 7,490,151. We remanded for further proceedings on damages. Apple appealed the resulting damages award. In the meantime, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found both patents unpatentable. We have now affirmed that decision. The parties in this case agreed that if we affirmed the Board’s finding of unpatentability, then the Patent and Trademark Office would be obligated to cancel the claims of both patents and, therefore, VirnetX would no longer have a legally cognizable cause of action against Apple. . . . Now that we have affirmed the Board’s finding of unpatentability, VirnetX has lost its cause of action, and its dispute with Apple is moot. Accordingly, we vacate the district court’s judgment and remand with instructions to dismiss the case as moot.
Columbia Insurance Company v. Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc. (Nonprecedential)
Columbia Insurance Company appeals a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that original claims 1– 20 and substitute claims 21–39 of U.S. Patent No. 10,316,510 are unpatentable. Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc. cross-appeals the Board’s decision that substitute claim 40 is patentable. As to the lead appeal, we affirm the unpatentability of claims 1–39 because substantial evidence supports the Board’s decision that claims 1–19 and 21–39 lack written description; and because the Board did not err in finding claims 1–11, 13–18, and 20 unpatentable as obvious. As to the cross-appeal, we affirm the patentability of claim 40 because the Board did not err in finding claim 40 definite and non-obvious.