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Patent Litigation - Appeals

The Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed a district court judgment of willful infringement and a damages award of approximately $290 million, plus interest, as well as the entry of a permanent injunction against Microsoft in favor of Finnegan client i4i, a Canadian software company that developed tools for working with documents containing XML markup.  The court held that Microsoft had waived certain arguments by not properly objecting at trial, that the factual issues resolved by the jury were supported by substantial evidence, and that all of the district court’s legal conclusions were correct.  The Supreme Court then issued a unanimous decision in i4i’s favor, rejecting Microsoft’s position that the appropriate standard of proof is “preponderance of the evidence” and holding instead that invalidity must be proven by “clear and convincing” evidence.
Finnegan convinced the Federal Circuit to wipe out a $45 million judgment against Ericsson.  Harris Corporation had sued Ericsson in the Northern District of Texas on a patent related to technology for correcting intersymbol interference, which can arise during use of communications equipment such as cell phones.  The Federal Circuit agreed that the district court misconstrued the claims, and erred in its calculation of the appropriate royalty rate.  The Federal Circuit also ruled against Harris on its cross-appeal, which concerned the award of enhanced damages.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that all claims of a patent relating to packaging for beverage cans are invalid, affirming a decision by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The patent owner had sued various beverage companies for infringement by selling beverages in Fridge Pack-style cartons.  Obtaining a stay of the litigation, Finnegan client MeadWestvaco, a carton supplier, sought inter partes reexamination of the patent and convinced the examiner, BPAI, and then the Federal Circuit of the patent's invalidity.
In this ANDA case, our client, Elan Corporation PLC, filed suit to prevent infringement of its patent directed to naproxen formulations for once-daily oral administration. The district court held Elan’s patent claims invalid in view of Elan’s offer to license technology directed generally to the joint R&D of such pharmaceutical products. The Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s holding and remanded the case so that Elan could pursue its claims on the merits.
Jerome Lemelson had brought an infringement suit alleging that Mattel’s “Hot Wheels” toys—one of the most commercially successful toys in history—infringed one of his many patents. A jury verdict of infringement resulted in a judgment of over $70 million in damages and interest. Representing Mattel on appeal, we convinced the Federal Circuit that Mattel’s “Hot Wheels” toys did not infringe Lemelson’s patent as a matter of law. The court concluded that no reasonable jury could have found the patent claim to be both valid over the prior art and infringed, and therefore reversed the judgment against Mattel in its entirety.
Xerox Corporation called on Finnegan after a district court found that 3Com/Palm’s line of personal digital assistants (commonly called “Palm Pilots”) did not infringe its patent. We secured a reversal of the district court’s claim construction, which led to a finding of infringement and entry of judgment for Xerox on remand. In a second appeal, we succeeded in obtaining an affirmance of the infringement finding.
We defended ADT, Actron, and Tokai Denshi against Checkpoint Systems’ attempt to block their importation of resonate tags used to detect merchandise theft. At trial before the ITC judge, we proved that Checkpoint’s patent was invalid on an unusual basis: another Checkpoint employee had conceived and reduced to practice the claimed invention before the work of the inventor named in the patent. The full commission agreed. We then successfully defended that decision on appeal, where the Federal Circuit not only affirmed the decision, but also bestowed a “chutzpah” award on our adversary.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in favor of Finnegan client DuPont, affirming a district court’s grant of JMOL that plaintiff Novozymes’s patent failed to comply with the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112 and was thus invalid as a matter of law. Novozymes filed a patent application that disclosed vast numbers of prophetic alpha-amylase proteins without any guidance pointing to which of the proteins actually had advantageous properties. Then, some ten years later, in a continuation application, Novozymes claimed a very particular protein with certain properties that was not in any way highlighted in the original application. The Federal Circuit held that the original application did not describe the variants later claimed in the issued patent, noting in its decision that a patent “is not a reward for the search, but compensation for its successful conclusion.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in an en banc opinion, confirmed the existence of a separate written description requirement that ensures that inventors have actually invented and described the subject matter claimed in their patents. The decision reversed a jury verdict against Finnegan client Eli Lilly and Company.  Lilly had previously been found liable for infringing Ariad’s ’516 patent, and the jury had awarded Ariad a multi-million dollar verdict.  The en banc opinion held that the asserted claims of the ’516 patent failed to satisfy the written description requirement of section 112 and were thus invalid. 
In a case Finnegan handled from inception through appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a damages award of $6.5 million in favor of firm client Telcordia Technologies against Cisco Systems.  At trial in the District of Delaware, the jury had found for Telcordia on all claims, concluding that Cisco willfully infringed two Telcordia patents.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected Cisco’s challenge to the validity of one of Telcordia’s patents, and it affirmed the district court’s damages decisions —specifically, that in addition to the $6.5 million awarded by the jury, Telcordia was also entitled to recover both prejudgment interest and an ongoing royalty.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s claim construction and grant of summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of Finnegan client Pergo, L.L.C. on five patents directed toward systems and methods for joining flooring panels.  The affirmance is the culmination of a protracted litigation initiated over a decade ago by patent holder and competitor Välinge, AB (and its licensees).  The court affirmed per curiam without opinion under Rule 36, resulting in a complete victory for Pergo.
The Federal Circuit gave Finnegan client Lawson Software, Inc. a nearly complete win against ePlus, Inc., which had sued Lawson in district court, seeking $24 million in damages and an injunction against Lawson’s software sales. The district court had found that Lawson infringed five claims of two different patents and had granted a permanent injunction.  In the appellate case, the Federal Circuit determined that ePlus was not entitled to any damages, affirming the district court’s findings that ePlus’s expert report was faulty and that striking damages was an appropriate sanction. The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s findings of infringement on four of the five patent claims, finding two invalid and two not infringed, resulting in Lawson’s main software product being clear of any infringement claim.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed for lack of Article III standing an appeal against Finnegan client Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) brought by consumer-advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog (CW). The appeal arose from an inter partes reexamination filed by CW against WARF’s U.S. Patent No. 7,029,913 (the ’913 patent) directed to human embryonic stem cell cultures. Following the reexamination, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) found the ’913 patent claims patentable over the asserted prior art, and CW appealed. On appeal, in a case of first impression, the Federal Circuit agreed with WARF and amici the United States and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that CW lacked standing to pursue its appeal. The Federal Circuit concluded that CW’s disagreement with the Board did not invade any legal right conferred by the inter partes reexamination statute and that CW had not identified any particularized, concrete interest in the patentability of the ’913 patent as, for example, a competitor, licensee, or stem-cell researcher. Because CW did not identify any injury in fact flowing from the Board’s decision, the Court dismissed its appeal for lack of standing.
Finnegan client POSCO won a petition for mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, successfully challenging a district court ruling modifying the protective order to permit use of highly confidential U.S. discovery materials in foreign litigations. The Federal Circuit concluded that, when deciding whether to modify the protective order in such a manner and circumstance, the district court should have considered the factors set out in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. The Federal Circuit granted POSCO’s mandamus petition, vacated the district court’s order permitting foreign cross-use of POSCO’s discovery materials, and remanded. Finnegan represented POSCO both in the mandamus petition and in the underlying district court litigation.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of JMOL for noninfringement, thereby reinstating the jury verdict finding that Microsoft infringed Finnegan client Uniloc USA’s patent.  The Federal Circuit also affirmed the jury’s finding that Microsoft failed to prove Uniloc USA’s patent is invalid.  Although the Federal Circuit also vacated the damages award as being based on a methodology the Court found to be faulty, with there no longer being any question about Microsoft’s infringement, Uniloc gained another opportunity to obtain damages from Microsoft.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the International Trade Commission’s claim construction of U.S. Patent No. 5,470,257 (entitled “Radial Compression Type Coaxial Cable End Connector”) and its related finding that the Complainant had not established the technical prong of the domestic industry requirement of Section 337.  In its opinion, the Federal Circuit held that the Complainant, our client John Mezzalingua Associates, Inc. (d/b/a PPC, Inc.), had established a Section 337 violation (importation, infringement, validity, and domestic industry) and remanded to the ITC for further findings on remedy and bonding.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a judgment that Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., literally and willfully infringed Finnegan client Mr. Michael S. Powell’s patent covering radial arm saw guards. Specifically, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Southern District of Florida court’s claim construction and the court’s denial of Home Depot’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on the issues of infringement, willfulness, and damages. In addition, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the patent was not unenforceable for inequitable conduct, as well as the court’s award of enhanced damages and attorney fees.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that Nokia did not infringe two patents relating to 3G cellular telephone technology held by Finnegan client InterDigital. Specifically, the Federal Circuit reversed the ITC's claim construction of two key terms and remanded the case to the ITC for further proceedings. In addition, the Federal Circuit affirmed the ITC's decision that InterDigital's substantial patent licensing program satisfied the ITC's domestic industry requirement.
In a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that MHL Tek LLC did not own three Tire Pressure Monitoring System patents, resulting in a victory for Finnegan clients Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Company and other automobile maker co-defendants.  Specifically, the Federal Circuit (1) affirmed the Eastern District of Texas court’s holding that MHL Tek lacks standing to assert two of the three patents-in-suit, and (2) reversed the court’s holding that MHL Tek has standing to assert the third patent-in-suit.  
The Federal Circuit reversed an anticipation ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which had found two claims of a Rambus patent to be “unsupported by substantial evidence.” The appellate panel sided with Finnegan client Rambus and reversed the finding. The Federal Circuit ruling is the latest development in a series of reexaminations requested by Micron.
In two related appeals from inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, Finnegan successfully persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to vacate and remand the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decisions that adversely affected three patents related to coaxial cable connectors owned by client PPC Broadband. In the first appeal, for a majority of the claims, the Federal Circuit agreed with PPC that the PTAB overlooked a key claim limitation, and it therefore vacated and remanded the obviousness decision. For the remainder of the claims in that appeal, the court affirmed the claim construction ruling as the broadest reasonable interpretation, but noted that it would not be the “correct” construction had the Phillips standard applied. Finally, the court also agreed with PPC that the PTAB erred in disregarding much of the evidence on secondary considerations, including the commercial success of the accused products. In the second appeal, the court likewise agreed with PPC and vacated the PTAB’s claim construction as being unreasonable, stating that while the construction may have been the broadest interpretation, it was not the broadest reasonable interpretation in light of the specification. The Federal Circuit thus vacated and remanded the invalidity determinations in both appeals.
Andrx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Andrx”) filed suit against Finnegan client Elan Corporation PLC, alleging that Elan violated the federal antitrust Sherman Act and various Florida antitrust statutes by entering into a settlement agreement in an Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) patent infringement litigation that Elan brought against another company, and by initiating an ANDA litigation against Andrx relating to the same patent. Finnegan obtained judgment on the pleadings in Elan’s favor on all issues at the outset of the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the majority of the holdings, including that the Noerr-Pennington doctrine shielded Elan from Andrx’s patent misuse claims relating to Elan’s assertion of its patent against Andrx. The Eleventh Circuit remanded the settlement agreement holding for further proceedings. Andrx ultimately agreed to dismiss the claim.
Finnegan defended Korea-based client SK Innovation (SKI) in a patent infringement suit against plaintiff Celgard LLC in the Western District of North Carolina, where Celgard is located. After extensive jurisdictional discovery, the court granted SKI’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and denied Celgard’s motion for preliminary injunction. Finnegan also obtained relief from the court for SKI after it was discovered that Celgard sent SKI confidential information to Celgard’s Korean counsel in unrelated Korean proceedings between the parties. The relief included prohibition of further transmission of SKI confidential information to Celgard’s Korean counsel and a bar against each of Celgard’s Korean attorneys who viewed SKI confidential information from further work on the Korean proceedings. Celgard appealed the district court’s dismissal of the case to the Federal Circuit. Finnegan represented SKI in the appeal as well. After full briefing and an oral argument, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case, securing SKI’s victory on the issue of personal jurisdiction.
Following a two-week trial, a jury in the Northern District of California returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Finnegan clients ABBYY USA Software House, Inc. (of Milpitas, California), ABBYY Software, Ltd. (of Nicosia, Cyprus), ABBYY Production LLC (of Moscow, Russia), and Lexmark International, Inc. (of Lexington, Kentucky). Nuance Communications, Inc., had accused the ABBYY companies of infringing two patents directed to optical character recognition (OCR) software and a third patent directed to distributed document processing over a computer network. Nuance also sued Lexmark, a former Nuance customer, after it stopped using Nuance products and began using ABBYY’s OCR software. In addition, Nuance alleged that ABBYY infringed its trade dress for software packaging used for retail and internet sales. Prior to trial, Nuance sought more than $260 million in damages from the defendants. Nuance also alleged willful infringement and sought treble damages and attorneys’ fees from the defendants. The jury rejected Nuance’s infringement allegations in their entirety, returning a verdict of no infringement for all three Nuance patents and that Nuance’s alleged trade dress was not protectable. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a jury decision in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in favor of Finnegan client DuPont Air Products NanoMaterials, LLC (DA NanoMaterials), holding that various tungsten Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) slurries sold by DA Nanomaterials do not infringe Cabot Microelectronic’s patents.  Tungsten CMP is a process used in semiconductor manufacturing.
In its highly anticipated Bilski v. Kappos decision, issued on June 28, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's "machine−or−transformation" test, which required that a patentable process either be tied to a machine or apparatus or involve a transformation of a particular article into a different state or thing.   The Court also affirmatively recognized that "business methods" are not categorically excluded from the scope of 35 U.S.C. § 101.   The decision was the culmination of Finnegan’s efforts on behalf of the applicants in In re Bilski, which began with the Supreme Court granting Finnegan’s petition for a writ of certiorari filed in June 2009.  The petition sought to overturn a decision issued on October 30, 2008, by the Federal Circuit which set forth a test requiring that a patentable process either be tied to a machine or apparatus or involve a transformation of one thing into something else.  While the Supreme Court affirmed the rejection of the Bilski business method patent application, its decision overturning the Federal Circuit’s machine-or-transformation test was a victory for patents on business method and software.  Finnegan made the oral argument before the Court on November 9, 2009. 
When Walgreen Co. faced a damage award of nearly $20 million, including prejudgment interest, for infringement of a patent on a “head chair,” the company turned to Finnegan. Although Walgreen had sold only $220,000 of the product, a jury awarded over $1 million in lost profits and another $10 million in future lost profits, which grew to nearly $20 million with interest. On appeal, the Federal Circuit agreed with our argument that the jury award, and the expert testimony on which it was based, was so speculative that it could not stand. The court granted a remittitur, reducing the damage award to $220,000—the amount of actual sales—and further reversed the award of prejudgment interest as it was based on future sales that had not occurred.
We represented the University of Missouri and Covidien (formerly Tyco Healthcare) against C.R. Bard and VasCath, successfully obtaining an award of priority against the patentee in this longrunning interference. Navigating this interference through the PTO, two district courts and two trips to the Federal Circuit, we were able to achieve finality of the award of priority and secure important patent rights for our client. The technology at issue was a type of hemodialysis catheter for removing toxins from the blood of patients with kidney failure.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Finnegan client Research Corporation Technologies, Inc., affirming the patentability of RCT’s methods for halftoning digital images.  The decision is particularly important because it is the Federal Circuit's first dealing with patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 since the Supreme Court’s landmark Bilski v. Kappos decision.  Chief Judge Rader, writing for a unanimous panel, reversed the district court’s ruling that the claimed halftoning methods were invalid under section 101.  Instead, he wrote, “the invention presents functional and palpable applications in the field of computer technology.”  Following the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision, the Federal Circuit explained that the coarse filter of section 101 excludes only laws of nature, physical phenomena, and “manifestly” abstract claims, and that courts should focus primarily on the patentability criteria of the rest of the Patent Act.
In a Federal Circuit appeal on behalf of client Digital Control, Inc. (DCI), Finnegan was able to obtain a reversal of the district court’s judgment. The reversal paved the way for a favorable settlement, and it also resolved an important issue on what is “material” information in prosecuting patent applications in the PTO. The patents at issue in the case were fundamental to DCI’s business and involved electronic locating equipment for horizontal drilling devices.
The Federal Circuit handed Finnegan client NOVA Chemicals a victory on appeal, finding Dow Chemical’s patent claims to be invalid. In a prior appeal, the Federal Circuit held that NOVA had infringed Dow’s ethylene polymer patent claims and that NOVA had not established that those claims were invalid for indefiniteness. In a subsequent appeal concerning the district court’s award of supplemental damages, the Federal Circuit held that an intervening Nautilus decision by the Supreme Court had changed the law of indefiniteness and that the prior panel had applied a test for indefiniteness that had been repudiated by the Supreme Court. Finding that Dow’s patent claims were indefinite under the correct test, the Federal Circuit reversed a $30 million supplemental damage award and dismissed Dow’s cross-appeal for enhanced damages as moot.
After a jury verdict against Conair for infringement of a patent on a safety mechanism in a hairdryer, the district court increased the damages and entered a judgment of over $46 million. On appeal, Finnegan achieved a total victory for Conair by obtaining a reversal of the infringement finding in the Federal Circuit.
The district court had granted summary judgment against firm client Origin (a subsidiary of Guidant Corp.) and a jury awarded nearly $13 million in damages, finding that the infringement was willful. The matter involved infringement of a patent on a method for using a balloon to create a space for surgery. On appeal, the Federal Circuit agreed with our interpretation of the patent claims and vacated both the judgment of infringement and the jury’s verdict that the infringement was willful.
Titan Wheel faced a preliminary injunction that had far-reaching and negative implications to its core business. Patent owner Vehicular Technologies Corporation prevailed at the district court and sought to prohibit Titan from selling its EZ locker automatic locking differentials for automotive vehicles, as well as a recall of all differentials in its distributors’ possession. Finnegan obtained an emergency stay of the injunction while the appeal was pending at the Federal Circuit and then, on the merits, successfully argued that the district court improperly granted the preliminary injunction based on an incorrect infringement analysis under the doctrine of equivalents. In a 2-1 decision, the Federal Circuit concluded that the accused EZ locker differentials were not likely to infringe the patent claims under a correct understanding of the functions described in the patent-in-suit.
United Catalysts retained Finnegan upon receiving an unfavorable judgment of infringement in the district court following a jury trial. The lower court had awarded United Catalysts’ competitor, Southern Clay Products, Inc., over $80 million in damages and fees for infringement of two patents related to organoclays. On appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated the judgment, invalidated one of the patents-in-suit, and remanded the case for consideration of the invalidity of the second patent.
eSpeed and Cantor Fitzgerald claimed that Finnegan clients ICAP, the world’s largest electronic interdealer broker, and OMX, a Swedish technology company, infringed a patent related to the electronic trading of U.S. Treasury securities. When eSpeed appealed from a finding that its patent was invalid and unenforceable, we secured a favorable judgment for our clients, with the Federal Circuit holding eSpeed’s patent unenforceable for inequitable conduct.
This ANDA case involved Zenith and two other generic drug manufacturers that attempted to invalidate Lilly's patent and thereby open the market for generic sales. The lengthy trial involved complex technical and legal issues. Lilly prevailed in the district court on all issues, protecting its exclusive marketing rights and a large revenue stream. The Federal Circuit later affirmed the lower court’s decision, which upheld Lilly's patent on its blockbuster drug.
Finnegan represented Eli Lilly in a landmark case brought by The Regents of University of California (UC). Two patents were at stake and both involved recombinant human insulin. UC claimed that its patents directed to DNA sequences that encode human proinsulin (a precursor to human insulin) covered Lilly's recombinant human insulin product. They argued that Lilly owed them hundreds of millions of dollars for infringing two of its patents. Finnegan succeeded in establishing that one patent was not valid and that the other patent was not infringed.