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Patent Prosecution Through the Eyes of a Patent Litigator

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Knobbe Martens Partner Joseph Re presented at the Washington State Patent Law Association (WSPLA) event "Patent Prosecution Through the Eyes of a Patent Litigator" on Wednesday, September 19, from …

Knobbe Martens Partner Joseph Re presented at the Washington State Patent Law Association (WSPLA) event "Patent Prosecution Through the Eyes of a Patent Litigator" on Wednesday, September 19, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. View these slides for an in-depth view of patent prosecution and how recent court decisions have impacted IP law.

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  • 1. Patent Prosecution Through the September 19, 2012 Eyes of a Patent Litigator Washington State Patent Law Association Joseph R. ReThe recipient may only view this work. No other right or license is granted.
  • 2. Patent Prosecution Is Tough • I have never seen a perfect patent. • Clients often cannot predict which applications will be subject to litigation. • Good patents claim “good” inventions. • Good prosecution does improve litigation outcomes. • But what is “good prosecution”?© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 2
  • 3. Know the Real Invention • Applications for significant inventions warrant: – Prior art searches done in advance – Disclosures written in English – Clear drawings – Multiple and differing claim sets – Interviews to overcome rejections – Continuation applications© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 3
  • 4. Background of the Specification • Rarely helpful, so keep it short – “Admitted prior art” – Avoid specific criticisms • Gart, 254 F.3d 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2001) – Use terms like “frequently” and “generally” • Schindler Elevator, 593 F.3d 1275 (Fed. Cir. 2010)© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 4
  • 5. Means-Plus-Function Claims • Use means-plus-function limitations. – Equivalents is a question of fact. Applied Med. Res. Corp., 448 F.3d 1324, 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006) • But also use other claim types so precisely disclosed structure does not become “the invention.” – On remand, Applied jury found no infringement.© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 5
  • 6. Is assembly required? • Draft claims with potential defendants in mind with goal of direct infringement – Cross Medical, 424 F.3d 1293, 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (“operatively joined”) – Innova/Pure Water, 381 F.3d 1111, 1118 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (“operatively connected”) – Kinetic Concepts, Inc., 2012 WL 3264508 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (“operatively associated”) • Determine if a “kit claim” is possible© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 6
  • 7. Is mere capability enough? • Draft claims knowing the states of the infringing device. – Fantasy Sports, 287 F.3d 1108, 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2002) – Ball Aerosol, 555 F.3d 984, 994 (Fed. Cir. 2009) – Typhoon Touch Technologies, Inc., 659 F.3d 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2011)© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 7
  • 8. Divided Infringement • Draft claims that are directed to the operations or actions of a single entity. – BMC Res., Inc., 498 F.3d 1373, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2007) – Muniauction, Inc., 532 F.3d 1318, 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2008) – Golden Hour Data Sys., 614 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2010) • Inducement available, but that requires intent. – Akamai Technologies, Inc., 2012 WL 3764695 (Fed. Cir. 2012)© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 8
  • 9. Claimed Ranges • Need to know the art • Avoid arbitrary numerical ranges • Explain the significance of claimed ranges – “Blaze marks” cases. Compare Purdue, 230 F.3d 1320, 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2000) with In re Wertheim, 541 F.2d 257, 265 (C.C.P.A. 1976). – “Negative pressure between .1 to .99 atm.” • Kinetic Concepts, Inc., 2012 WL 3264508 (Fed. Cir. 2012) • Enable full scope of claimed range – MagSil Corp., 687 F.3d 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (claimed at least 10% but specification only disclosed up to 11.8%).© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 9
  • 10. Disclaimers and Estoppels • Recognize what may become a disclaimer or estoppel – Heuft Systemtechnik GmbH, 282 Fed. Appx. 836 (Fed. Cir. 2008) – Computer Docking Station Corp., 519 F.3d 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2008) • Need to rescind prior arguments? – Hakim, 479 F.3d 1313 at 1316-18 (Fed. Cir. 2007)© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 10
  • 11. Inequitable Conduct • Highly unlikely to succeed – Clear and convincing evidence of: (a) But-for materiality; and (b) Specific intent to deceive. • Therasense, Inc., 649 F.3d 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (en banc) • Often bartered away in exchange for willfulness© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 11
  • 12. Inequitable Conduct Is Not The Concern • Disclose everything! – Related prosecution; Ongoing litigation. • McKesson, 487 F.3d 897 (Fed. Cir. 2007) • Mallinckrodt, Inc., 147 Fed. Appx. 158, 180 (Fed. Cir. 2005); M.P.E.P § 2001.06(c). • Goal is not to avoid inequitable conduct – Goal is to strengthen validity • So non-disclosure is not a trial theme • So jury not instructed per Microsoft v. i4i.© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 12
  • 13. Use of Continuation Applications • Maintain continuations! – See Mallinckrodt, Inc., 147 Fed. Appx. 158, 164 (Fed. Cir. 2005) • But never remove subject matter. – Lockwood, 107 F.3d 1565 (Fed. Cir. 1997)© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 13
  • 14. Final Thoughts • Describe multiple embodiments • Avoid “present invention” • Some issues are simply panel dependent – E.g., Claim construction: Reading claims “in light of specification” (Lourie) v. ordinary meaning (Radar) • PTO does not always strictly apply Federal Circuit law – Analogous art post-KSR – Patentable subject matter© 2012 Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP all rights reserved. 14
  • 15. Joseph R. Re jrr@knobbe.com 949-760-0404