By Patrick Gallagher
Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of AT&T Motion to Extend or Re-open Filing Period for Appeal in Patent Infringement Suit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Two-Way Media LLC v. AT&T, Inc., AT&T Corp., affirmed a lower court denial of AT&T’s motion for an extension or reopening of the appeal period. Two-Way Media LLC v. AT&T, Inc., AT&T Corp., 2014-1302 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 19, 2015). After an adverse final judgment in a patent infringement suit filed against the company by Two-Way Media, AT&T failed to file a timely notice of appeal, and the period to do so subsequently expired. Two-Way Media at 2. AT&T claimed that, due to labeling errors on the part of the district court, it only first discovered that its post-trial motions had been denied after the appeal period had expired. Id. at 3. AT&T the next day filed a motion under Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5) and (6) to extend or reopen the appeal period on the grounds of “excusable neglect or good cause” or a failure on the part of the court to provide adequate notice. Id. at 3-4. The Federal Circuit concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to extend or reopen the appeal period because it was the responsibility of AT&T to read the entirety of the original court order, accessible by hyperlinks included in the notices of electronic filings received by both parties, which would have clearly indicated the status of their motions. Id. at 7-8. Moreover, the Circuit held that 4(a)(6) only applies “when a party receives no notice of that order.” Id. at 12. Read more here.
In Patent Suit Against Apple, Federal Circuit Affirms in Part, Reverses in Part
The Federal Circuit affirmed in part, and reversed in part, vacated, and remanded a patent infringement case involving four patents owned by plaintiff MobileMedia Ideas LLC. MobileMedia Ideas LLC v. Apple Inc., 2014-1060, 2014- 1091 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 17, 2015). The United States Disctrict Court for the District of Delaware found plaintiff’s claim 73 of U.S. Patent No. 6,427,078 (“the ‘078 patent”) and claim 23 of U.S. Patent No. 6,070,068 (“the ‘068 patent) to be infringed and not invalid to which Apple appealed. MobileMedia at 2. The district court also found MobileMedia’s claims 5,6, and 10 of U.S. Patent No. 6,253,075 (“the ‘075 patent”) and claims 2-4 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. RE 39,231 (“the ‘231 patent”) not to be infringed and claims 5, 6, and 10 of the ‘075 patent to be additionally invalid. MobileMedia cross-appealed these holdings. Id.
With respect to Apple’s appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court judgment that claim 73 of the ‘078 patent is not invalid, but reversed the judgment that it was infringed and further reversed the judgment that claim 23 of the ‘068 patent is not invalid. Id. at 37. The court’s determination regarding the validity of the ‘068 and ‘078 patent claims centered on whether they were invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103 and the Global System for Mobile Communications standard, respectively. Id. With respect to MobileMedia’s cross-appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court’s holding that claims 5,6, and 10 of the ‘075 patent are invalid, vacated on the grounds of erroneous claim construction the judgment that that claims 2-4 and 12 of the ‘231 patent were not infringed, and remanded the case. Id.
Federal Circuit Reverses DNA Sequencing Technology Patent Construction
The Federal Circuit reversed a district court construction of a patent claim by Enzo Life Sciences, Inc. and Yale University against Applera, vacated the lower court’s finding of infringement, and remanded the case. Enzo Biochem Inc. v. Applera Corp., 2014-1321 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 16, 2015). The suit involved the use of nucleotide probes to detect, monitor, localize, or isolate nucleic acids for the purpose of DNA sequencing. Enzo at 3. The ruling against Applera was based on a construction that construed the patent in question to include both direct and indirect detection of moiety. Id. at 2. The Circuit, following precedent from Phillips v. AWH Corp., utilized a textualist approach that looked to the “ordinary and customary meaning of a claim term” as an ordinary member of the related industry would interpret it. 415 F.3d 1303, 1312-13 (Fed. Cir. 2005). In so doing, the Federal Circuit found that the district court had erred in broadening a key term in the patent to include direct detection in addition to indirect detection. Enzo at 14.