August 06, 2007

I will periodically post case citations from the Federal Circuit along with the date of the opinion/order and a brief list of the legal topics discussed therein (specifically those with additional embedded case law citations). My goal is to post new cases on a weekly basis. This posting covers the three patent cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit during the 30th calendar week of 2007. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

In re Metoprolol Succinate Patent Litigation, Astrzeneca AB, et al. v. KV Pharmaceutical Company, et al. (07/23/2007): multiple suits filed by plaintiffs in various jurisdictions asserting the defendants’ filed ANDAs infringe their patents; cases consolidated in Missouri; appeal of grant of summary judgment finding the patents invalid and unenforceable (affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded); discussion of two patents related to a composition used to treat angina, hypertension, and congestive heart failure (U.S. Patent No. 5,001,161, entitled “Pharmaceutical composition comprising metroprolol succinate,” and U.S. Patent No. 5,081,154, entitled “Metoprolol succinate”); where decisions of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals conflict, however, the later issued decision controls “because the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals always sat in banc and therefore later decisions overcome earlier inconsistent ones”; claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 5,081,154 deemed invalid for obviousness-type double-patenting, and as the invalidity of the other patent was not appealed, summary judgment of invalidity of both patents was affirmed; “‘[i]ntent need not, and rarely can, be proven by direct evidence.’ Rather, intent to deceive is generally inferred from the facts and circumstances surrounding the applicant’s overall conduct”; because a genuine issue of material fact remains, vacated the district court’s inequitable conduct holding and remanded the case

Cybersettle, Inc. v. National Arbitration Forum, Inc. (07/24/2007, nonprecedential): appeal of summary judgment for patentee Cybersettle holding that NAF’s systems performed the claimed methods (vacated and remanded); discussion of patent related to online dispute resolution systems (U.S. Patent No. 6,330,551, entitled “Computerized dispute resolution system and method”); “the use of a [claimed] process necessarily involves doing or performing each of the steps cited”; “[i]t is improper for a court to [add limitations] . . . wholly apart from any need to interpret what the patentee meant by particular words or phrases in the claim”; use of the term “plurality” as referring to two or more of something, seen as “consistent with the well understood meaning of the term “plurality” both in general and in patent parlance”; the appellate court vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings because we one aspect of the district court’s claim construction was erroneous

Boynton, et al. v. Headwaters, Inc. (formerly known as Covol Technologies, Inc.) (07/27/2007, nonprecedential): appeal of dismissal of patent infringement claim on the pleadings and their claims for civil conspiracy, interference with contract, and constructive claims on summary judgment (affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded); discussion of patent related to a process for the agglomeration of coal fines comprising the steps (U.S. Patent No. 5,238,629, entitled “Process of coal agglomeration”); patent infringement dismissal affirmed as licensee cannot be a direct infringer of a patent; “[a] voluntary dismissal with prejudice operates as a final adjudication on the merits and has a res judicata effect”; vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Headwaters as to the civil conspiracy and constructive trust claims because Mr. Davidson’s underlying alleged fraud can serve as an underlying tort for plaintiffs’ civil conspiracy claim against Headwaters and as a basis for the imposition of a constructive trust, affirmed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ patent infringement claim on the pleadings and plaintiffs’ interference with contract claim on summary judgment


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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