Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stern v. Trustees of Columbia University

Stern sought addition as a co-inventor on Bito's patent for treating glaucoma. The C.A.F.C. found that co-inventors must both contribute to the conception of an invention. Conception is complete when "the idea is so clearly defined in the inventor's mind that only ordinary skill would be necessary to reduce the invention to practice." Stern was a medical student at Columbia University, where he performed one semester of ophthalmology research in Bito's laboratory. He performed tests under the Bito's direction, after reviewing Bito's publications. Stern only tested single applications of prostaglandins, where the patented treatment uses repetitive applications. Further, no evidence of collaboration was presented. Accordingly, the C.A.F.C. upheld the lower courts that Stern failed to present clear and convincing evidence of co-inventorship.
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Pfizer v. Teva Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer (Warner-Lambert) seeks construction of the claim term "saccharides" that includes polysaccharides, such that Warner-Lambert's generic version of their patented pharmaceutical compositions commonly used to treat high-blood pressure. The C.A.F.C. sites Philips for the proposition that a "person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to read the claim term not only in the context of the particular claim in which the disputed term appears, but in the context of the entire patent, including the specification." The specification included a section entitled "saccharides," which includes substances compatible with the alkali or alkaline earth metal-containing stabilizers, preferably mannitol, lactose, and other sugars. Since each of these preferences have less than ten monosaccharide units, Teva (Ranbaxy) argues that saccharides should not include polysaccharides. The C.A.F.C. found that the specification enabled the claim language "saccharides" to include "polysaccharides."

Ranbaxy contends that Warner-Lambert is not irreparable harmed because other competition is in the marketplace and Warner-Lambert has granted licenses. A court may presume irreparably harm when "a patent owner establishes a strong showing of likely infringement of a valid and enforceable patent." Warner-Lambert showed sales of Ranbaxy's product far in excess of the competition. Warner-Lambert only granted a license under the patent to a product different from the infringing product in this case. The C.A.F.C. found that lower court did not abuse its discretion by presuming irreparable harm.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Norian v. Stryker

Norian owns a patent directed to kits "for preparing ... bone cements in medical or dental procedures." Claim 8 included the limitation "a sodium phosphate". The C.A.F.C. compared the limitation with the indefinite article A, to the previous limitation that used the phrase "at least one." Further, they noted the specification did not discuss any embodiment that included more than one sodium phosphate. Finally, claim eight uses the restrictive term, "consisting of". The C.A.F.C. upheld the claim construction to include only a single sodium phosphate. See also,

Aspex Eyewear v. Miracle Optics

Contour granted an exclusive license to Chic, including the right to sue for infringement, but terminating after five years. Contour sued Miracle Optics for patent infringement. Shortly after filing, Chic sublicensed to Aspex all of its rights under the patent. The C.A.F.C. found that Contour was the owner of the patent at the time of filing and had standing to sue.
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Friday, January 13, 2006

FieldTurf v. SprinTurf

FieldTurf holds a patent on artificial turf. FieldTurf convinced a California School District to write an RFP for construction of a sports playing field, which included features of its patented artificial turf. SportFields, a competitor, convinced the School District to allow its competing product, however the RFP was not amended. SportFields won the bid. FieldTurf sued for patent infringement based on this infringing offer to sell. On appeal, the C.A.F.C. upheld the decision of non-infringement because SportsFields intended to provide its own product and did not intend to sell an infringing product. However, they reversed the finding FieldTurf tortuously interfered with SportField's prospective economic advantage, but stated that it was not unfair for FieldTurf to pursue its patent rights.
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LizardTech v. Earth Resource Mapping

LizardTech's patent describes a method of compressing digital images using discrete wavelet transform (DWT), which results in a "seamless" DWT. The C.A.F.C. found that the specification failed to satisfy section 112, the written description requirement. Comparing two independent claims, they were nearly identical. Claim 21 did not include the term "seamless,” yet the specification disclosed only a single embodiment that described only seamless DWTs. The court concluded that the patent did not "reasonably convey to a person skilled in the art that the inventor had possession of the claimed subject matter at the time of filing." The Court held "that the description of one method for creating a seamless DWT does not entitle the inventor of the ’835 patent to claim any and all means for achieving that objective."
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Perricone v. Medicis Pharmaceutical

Dr. Perricone holds patent claims for preventing sunburn and patent claims for treating sunburn, both by the method of applying ascorbyl fatty acid ester, which is a fat soluble form of Vitamin C, to the skin. Prior art disclosed the use of ascorbyl fatty acid ester in a cosmetic topical skin treatment. The C.A.F.C. found the preventing sunburn claims anticipated by the prior art because the preventing sunburn was an inherent property of the prior art. However, the C.A.F.C also found the preventing sunburn claims valid because the prior art did not disclose or suggest application to skin sunburn. The dissent argues that the prior art renders both patents anticipated because Dr. Perricone merely identified a new inherient property of the prior art.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NCube v. SeaChange

nCube’s holds a patent for high-bandwidth, multimedia data transer on a network. nCube prevailed in an literal patent infringment action against SeaChange. On appeal, SeaChange argued that the "upstream manager" limitation of the claim should be constrused according to embodiment taught by the patent, which relied upon "logical memory" addressing and not "physical memory". The CFAC upheld the claim construction, noting that the claim was broader than the embodiment taught. The dissent would have limited the claim because the "patentee clearly demonstrated that the upstream manager accomplishes routing by logical addressing".
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