Patent Prosecution Lunch June 2011


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Topics covered in this month’s patent prosecution presentation include the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Microsoft v. i4i case upholding the clear and convincing standard. Case law dealing with “analogous art” for mechanical cases is also addressed. Finally, recent case law from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) dealing with inequitable conduct and Bayh-Dole Act is presented.

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Patent Prosecution Lunch June 2011

  1. 1. Prosecution Group Luncheon June, 2011 Patents
  2. 2. Clear and Convincing Survives <ul><li>Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P’ship (US 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>§282 requires proof of invalidity defense by clear and convincing evidence (8-0 decision) </li></ul><ul><li>Validity presumption a fixture of common law when §282 enacted </li></ul><ul><li>“ [H]eavy burden of persuasion,” with proof of the defense by clear and convincing evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Common-law term in statute comes with its common-law meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Ergo, no conclusion that standard changed simply because §282 fails to reiterate it expressly </li></ul>
  3. 3. Clear and Convincing Survives <ul><li>Presumption not weaker for information not considered during prosecution </li></ul><ul><li>“ [N]ew evidence” of invalidity likely carries more weight than evidence considered by PTO </li></ul><ul><li>“ [B]urden to persuade the jury of its invalidity defense by clear and convincing evidence may be easier to sustain” if “PTO did not have all material facts before it” </li></ul><ul><li>Jury instructions will handle effect of “new evidence” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Analogous Art— In re Klein (FC 2011) <ul><li>FC: 5 cited references not “analogous art,” excluded from nonobviousness analysis  </li></ul><ul><li>Recall: reference is “analogous” if either </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in the same field of endeavor as the invention or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ reasonably pertinent” to inventor’s problem </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Same field of endeavor” not addressed; rejections were based only on the “reasonably pertinent” test </li></ul>
  5. 5. In re Klein <ul><li>Device for measuring/mixing sugar </li></ul><ul><li>and water for bird feeders </li></ul><ul><li>PTO: obvious over references com- </li></ul><ul><li>bined with known ratios for species </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Problem: “making a nectar feeder with a movable divider to prepare different ratios of sugar and water for different animals”   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solid item separators were not pertinent: “none . . . shows a partitioned container that is adapted to receive water or contain it long enough” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References for dividing liquids that would later be mixed not pertinent because they did not address multiple ratio problem and did not have movable dividers </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. In re Klein <ul><li>Defining a narrow purpose for the invention, versus risk of limiting claim scope </li></ul><ul><li>Is a reference in a separate field will non-analogous unless pertinent to the entire problem? </li></ul><ul><li>   </li></ul><ul><li>FC did not cite KSR ; PTO viewed  KSR as expanding scope of analogous art (MPEP 2141.01(a)). </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Commentator: Klein approach to analogous art may make obviousness analysis less subjective </li></ul><ul><li>h/t to </li></ul>
  7. 7. Therasense <ul><li>Curtails application of inequitable conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Heightened intent and materiality standards </li></ul><ul><li>Egregious/fraudulent conduct still sanctionable </li></ul><ul><li>USPTO “carefully studying” the decision; “expects to soon issue guidance to applicants related to the prior art and information they must disclose” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Stanford v. Roche (US 2011) <ul><li>Federally-funded contractor does not necessarily own patent rights to inventions resulting from funded projects (7-2 decision) </li></ul><ul><li>Stanford argued that rights vest automatically vest under the Bayh-Dole Act </li></ul><ul><li>Court: US patent rights have initially vested in “the inventor”; language of Bayh-Dole Act does nothing to change that </li></ul>