The equitable defense of laches can apply to claims of patent infringement damages suits, even when they are filed within the six year statutory period as defined by 35 U.S.C. §286, ruled the en banc Federal Circuit in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC., Fed Cir., No. 2013-1564 (Sept. 18 2015). In this narrow 6-5 decision, the court sitting en banc affirmed its earlier summary judgment, which dismissed SCA's patent infringement suit for laches, from September of last year.
In an unanimous decision on remand from the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc. (2015), which effectively broadened the category of divided patent infringement of a method claim under 35 U.S.C § 271(a), holding that when all steps of a method claim are not actually being performed by one party, but by multiple actors, all of the steps can be attributed to a single actor even where the parties are acting purely in an arms-length relationship with each other.
Are you ready for some football? In the midst of preparing for football season, the National Football Association ("NFL") continues its fight to overcome cancellations of the Washington Redskins' trademarks. The NFL is appealing a district court decision to the Fourth Circuit.
Nine states, including Florida, have recently enacted "anti-patent troll" legislation in 2015, joining the seventeen states that passed similar legislation last year in 2014. Florida's HB 439 ch. 501 part VII ("Patent Troll Prevention Act"), enacted in the 2015 session, prohibits bad faith assertions of patent infringement from being made, and provides a number of factors that allow a court to consider whether an allegation was made in bad faith. A determination of bad faith includes damages and reasonable attorney fees.
Yellow Pages Group appealed from a $123,000 judgment entered against it, in favor of Yellow Pages Photos following a jury verdict in a copyright infringement trial in district court. Yellow Pages Photos cross appealed, raising several claims of error. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Yellow Pages Group’s renewed motion for a judgment as a matter of law and also concluded that Yellow Pages Photos arguments on cross appeal lacked merit and thus did not warrant a new trial on damages.
The latest chapter in the Apple v. Samsung saga, previously blogged about here, involves an amicus brief filed by several large technology firms in support of a rehearing on the amount of damages owed to Apple by Samsung. If granted, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear again arguments that those damages should be based on profits attributable to only the infringing portion of the Samsung device, rather than profits made on the entire device. If the Federal Circuit is persuaded, the decision could lower exposure for patent infringement across the industry.
The Supreme Court in Alice, Mayo, Myriad, and Bilski -- four cases in just four years -- dramatically redefined the issue of subject matter eligibility in patent law. That is, the initial threshold question of whether an invention is eligible for obtaining patent protection in the first place. The broad strokes of these cases left much to be desired, particularly and most recently in Alice, in which the Supreme Court created a vague 2-step analysis in determining when a (software or business method) invention is merely an "abstract idea", and therefore not patent eligible. Understandably, the US PTO has encountered difficulty in applying the Alice analysis following the case, but has strived to offer some additional clarity in its latest July 2015 update to its prior 2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility.
Apple’s newest device the Apple Watch, which was released a few months ago, is now the subject of a trademark dispute with a European trademark holder. Probendi, an Irish software development company and owner of the rights to the “iWatch” trademark in the European Union, is upset that Apple bought Google ads for the term “iWatch”. If you run a Google search of the term “iWatch”, the top result and advertisement will be for the Apple Watch.