October 2011 Patent Group Luncheon


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Topics covered in this month’s patent group presentation include proposed federal trade secret legislation, recent case law regarding the presumption of irreparable harm, and recent case law regarding factual findings and new grounds for rejections.

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October 2011 Patent Group Luncheon

  1. 1. Prosecution Group Luncheon Patent Updates October, 2011
  2. 2. Reform Spreading to Trade Secrets? <ul><li>Proposed Amendment to Economic Espionage Act (18 USC 1832) for Private TS Actions </li></ul><ul><li>Complaint must identify </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ reasonable measures taken to protect” secrecy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sworn representation of “substantial need for nationwide service . . . or misappropriation . . . to another country” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ex parte seizure of property or evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Remedies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>injunctive relief against violation or requiring actions to protect secrets; reasonable royalty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>actual loss, unjust enrichment; exemplary damages for malicious or willful misappropriation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fees awardable </li></ul><ul><li>Three-year statute of limitations </li></ul>
  3. 3. Presumption of Irreparable Harm is Dead(ish) <ul><li>Robert Bosch LLC v. Pylon Mfg. Corp.  (Fed. Cir. 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>FC: “ eBay jettisoned the presumption of irreparable harm as it applies to determining the appropriateness of injunctive relief.&quot;  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note: says “injunctive relief”; presumably applicable to preliminary as well as permanent injunctions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But: “does not follow that courts should entirely ignore the fundamental nature of patents as property rights” with a right to exclude </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Here, FC reversed denial of permanent injunction: error in concluding that &quot;if a fact supports the granting of an injunction, its absence likely compels the denial of one.  That is not the law&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Open question whether failure to consider the &quot;fundamental nature&quot; of patent rights will be grounds for reversal  </li></ul>
  4. 4. In re Stepan Co . ( Fed. Cir. 2011 ) <ul><li>Board’s affirmation based on a new factual finding is a new ground for rejection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ergo: prosecution can be reopened as of right </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Applicant gave 131 declaration; examiner gave no effect as the public use at issue was 102(b) art </li></ul><ul><li>Board: reversed 102(b) ground, but affirmed rejection because content of declaration was insufficient </li></ul><ul><li>FC: Insufficiency finding not a basis of examiner’s rejection, must be identified as a new ground </li></ul><ul><li>Commentator: inapplicable to new post-grant reviews- they go directly to Board, not through examiner </li></ul>
  5. 5. Coming Attractions <ul><li>Supreme Court </li></ul><ul><li>Mayo v. Prometheus (Subject Matter of Processes) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue: Does claim to observed correlations between blood test results and patient health meet section 101 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FC: it’s a transformation, ergo proper subject matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argument set for December 7 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kappos v. Hyatt (Review Standard for Appeals to District Court)  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue: How “de novo” is a Section 145 civil action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FC: new evidence may be presented, conclusions impacted by </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> that evidence are determined de novo, no deference to PTO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No argument yet on the calendar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Circuit (en banc) </li></ul><ul><li>Akamai v. Limelight , McKesson v. Epic (Multi-Party Infringement)  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue: Liability where multiple parties perform separate steps of a process, but no single entity performs all steps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argument set for November 18, 2011 </li></ul></ul>