Late yesterday and this morning, the Federal Circuit released a nonprecedential opinion in a patent case appealed from the International Trade Commission and addressing claim construction, infringement, and invalidity. The court also released a nonprecedential order dismissing an appeal. Here is the introduction to the opinion and a link to the dismissal.
Ethicon LLC v. International Trade Commission (Nonprecedential)
Ethicon LLC (Ethicon) appeals a decision by the International Trade Commission (Commission) determining that Intuitive Surgical, Inc.; Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc.; Intuitive Surgical Holdings, LLC; and Intuitive Surgical S. De R.L. De C.V. (collectively, Intuitive) did not violate 19 U.S.C. § 1337 by importing or selling certain laparoscopic surgical staplers, reload cartridges, and components thereof (Accused Products). In the Matter of Certain Laparoscopic Surgical Staplers, Reload Cartridges, & Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-1167, 2021 WL 6071753 (Dec. 20, 2021) (Comm’n Opinion). Relevant to this appeal, the Commission determined that Intuitive’s Accused Products did not infringe claims 22 and 23 of U.S. Patent No. 9,844,369 (’369 patent) and that claim 24 of U.S. Patent No. 8,479,969 (’969 patent) is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 103. Id. at *15–33. Ethicon appeals the Commission’s determinations on claim construction, infringement, and invalidity. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(6). Because we agree with the Commission’s construction of “means for guiding” and determine that substantial evidence supports its findings of (i) noninfringement of the “means for guiding” limitation for the ’369 patent and (ii) a motivation to combine the asserted prior art references for the ’969 patent, we affirm.