Thursday, September 15, 2005

Crater Corporation v. Lucent Technologies, Inc.

Crater sued Lucent for missappropriation of trade secrets related to an under-sea fiber-optic coupling device. The government intervened to assert the 'state secret' privilege because divulging the information Crater requested during discovery would jeopardize national security. The C.A.F.C. affirmed the invocation of the state secrets privilege. However, the C.A.F.C. remanded for a determination of whether Crater may establish any claims without relying on the privileged information.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Storage Technology v. Custom Hardware Engineering

Custom Hardware Engineering repairs, on behalf of third-parties, data tapes manufactured by StorageTek. StorageTek asserted copyright infringement and certain D.M.C.A. claims because Custom Hardware made copies of tapes while repairing. The C.A.F.C. found that Custom Hardware's conduct may be within the scope of the copyright license granted to the third-party and the conduct may fall into the safe harbor provisions of the D.M.C.A.
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MEMC Electronic Materials v. Mitsubishi

MMEC holds a U.S. patent claiming a 'method of preparing a single crystal silicon that is substantially free of agglomerated intrinsic point defects.' SUMCO manufactures allegedly infringing wafers in Japan and sells them to Samsung Japan, who then sells them to Samsung Austin. After affirming that SUMCO did not literal infringebecause no sales or offers for sale ocurred in the U.S., the C.A.F.C. went on to reverse the holding of summary judgement because there was at least some evidence that 1) SUMCO had actual knowledge of the MEMC patent, 2) SUMCO may have sent a shipment of wafers directly to Samsung Austin, 3) SUMCO personnel made on-site visits and presented technical information, and 4) Samsung Austin required technical support from SUMCO. Together, these provide relevant circumstantial evidence to show intent to induce and support a finding of inducement.
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Sunbeam v. Wing Shing

Wing Shing obtained a design patented on a coffeemaker, which it then licensed to Sunbeam, after Sunbeam had required certain astethetic changes to the coffeemaker. Sunbeam later had Simatelex produce additional coffeemakers for Sunbeam. After a dramatic reduction in volume, Wing Shing sued Simatelex for patent infringement. The C.A.F.C affirmed that Sunbeam was not a co-inventor and Wing Shing was not barred by the doctorine of equitable esttople.
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Aquatex Industries v. Techniche Solutions

Aquatex patented a method for cooling a person providing a multilayered, liquid retaining composite material, including a fiberfill batting material; soaking such composite material in a liquid; and evaporatively cooling the person by using the composite material as a garment. Techniche manufactures a garment comprising Vizorb, which is cellulose pulp that incorporated natural and synthetic fibers. The C.A.F.C. construed the term 'fiberfill batting material' would mean polyester to one of ordinary skill in the art, and therefore affirming no literal infringement. However, the court found that prosecution history did not prevent assertion of the doctrine of equivalents. Aquatex amended their claim by adding the limitation 'by evaporation'. While the prior art Aquatex was distinguishing itself from contained natural fibers, because Aquatex distinguished its invention by the method of evaporation, and not the structure of the material, Aquatex had not clearly and unmistakably surrendered natural fibers, and argument-based prosecutory estoppel did not apply.
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Ocean Innovations v. Archer

NOTE: This disposition is not citable as precedent. It is a public record. Jet Dock patented a 'floating, drive-on, dry dock' for personal watercraft. The C.A.F.C. construed the claim term 'flotation unit' to mean both 'airtight' and 'hollow'. Citing Phillips, the court reiterated that 'the line between construing claim terms and importing limitations can be discerned with reasonable certainty and predictability if the court's focus remains on understanding how a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the claim terms.'
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Broadcast Innovation v. Charter Communications

Broadcast holds patented data-casting distributed-database technology that was originally claimed in a series of three Australian patents; followed by a single, consolidated PCT application; followed by a U.S. national stage application; followed by a continuation; followed by a divisional. The divisional, which the lower court found anticipated, claimed priority only to the national stage application and the continuation. The C.A.F.C. clarified 35 U.S.C. 120 by holding that an application claiming priority to an earlier application receives the benefit of the earlier application's priority date. Reversing the holding of anticipation, the court found that the divisional should receive the benefit of the PCT application's priority date.
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Research Plastics v. Federal Packaging Corp.

The Research patent claims a ribbed caulking tube that permits air to flow out of the tube allowing a tight seal between the plunger and the adhesive material. The C.A.F.C. construed the term "rear end" to mean the rear edge of the tube, and not only the rearmost point of the tube. The C.A.F.C. relied on intrinsic evidence and prosecution history to construe the claim.
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Tap Pharmaceutical Products v. Owl Pharmaceuticals

Tap and several other drug manufacturers prevailed in district court against the generic drug manufacturer Owl. Owl infringed Tap's patents covering "polymers and microcapsules in connection with sustained-release treatments in which leuprolide is delivered to patients through injection." On appeal, the C.A.F.C. entirely affirmed the district court. The C.A.F.C. construed the claim broadly, to include any method for producing the polymers. The C.A.F.C. rejected Owl's assertion of inequitable conduct when Tap failed to disclose a patent that was merely cumulative in light of other references.
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