OCTOBER 11, 2019
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It is often said that “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” The same basic principal applies to patent infringement—as a defendant in a Texas patent case recently discovered, much to its chagrin. The US District for the Eastern Court of Texas has ruled that having a policy of ignoring other companies’ patents is sufficient grounds to support claims of willful patent infringement. Such claims can lead to treble damages and attorneys’ fees being awarded against the party found to have willfully infringed the patents. More on Patent Infringement Here >
In the Federal Register Notice dated October 4, 2019, the USPTO interprets Supernus as holding “that a reduction of patent term adjustment under 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(C) must be equal to the period of time during which the applicant failed to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution of the application.” The USPTO admits that “[s]everal provisions in 37 CFR 1.704 specify a period of reduction corresponding to the consequences to the Office of applicant's failure to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude prosecution,” rather than “the period from the beginning to the end of the applicant's failure to engage in reasonable efforts,” as the court indicated in Supernus.   More on USPTO PTA Rules here >
A divided Federal Circuit, in a precedential opinion, upheld a lower court’s finding that the claims of US Patent No. 7,774,911 ineligible for patenting under Section 101 because the claims are directed to a law of nature. The ‘911 patent claims relate to methods of manufacturing vehicle driveshaft assemblies.  Deciding the question on summary judgment, the district court treated independent claims 1 and 22 of the ’911 patent as representative. Claim 1 recites: More on Mechanical Arts here >
During patent prosecution, Examiners often liberally apply the broadest reasonable interpretation standard in rejecting claims.  When responding to these rejections, it is important to remember that there are limits to an Examiner’s broadest reasonable interpretation.  In Ex parte Wilhelm Heine (“Heine”), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) rejected the Examiner’s unreasonable claim construction stating that “‘[t]he correct inquiry in giving a claim term its broadest reasonable interpretation in light of the specification is not whether the specification proscribes or precludes some broad reading of the claim term adopted by the examiner.’” More on Ex parte Wilhelm Heine here >
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