In re: Verhoef

Jeff H. VerHoef (“VerHoef”) appeals from the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) affirming the examiner’s rejection of all claims of VerHoef’s pending application 13/328,201 (the “’201 application”) as unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) (2006). Ex parte VerHoef, No. 2015-005270, 2017 WL 745052 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 23, 2017) (“Decision”). Because the Board correctly concluded that VerHoef did not solely invent the claimed subject matter of the ’201 application on which he claimed sole inventorship, we affirm.

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Disc Disease Solutions Inc. v. VGH Solutions, Inc.

Disc Disease Solutions Inc. appeals an order from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia that dismissed with prejudice its complaint for failure to state a claim and denied its request to file a first amended complaint. The district court erred when it dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. We reverse the district court’s grant of the motion to dismiss and remand for further proceedings.

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Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions, Inc. v. Renesas Electronics America, Inc.

Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions, Inc., (TAOS) and Intersil Corporation each develop and sell ambient light sensors, which are used in electronic devices to adjust screen brightness in response to incident light. In the summer of 2004, the parties confidentially shared technical and financial information during negotiations regarding a possible merger. The parties ultimately went their separate ways, but soon after, Intersil released new sensors with the technical design TAOS had disclosed in the confidential negotiations. TAOS then sued Intersil in federal district court for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,596,981, as well as for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, and tortious interference with prospective business relations under Texas state law. After a trial held in early 2015, a jury returned a verdict for TAOS and awarded damages on all four claims. The court ruled on the parties’ post-trial motions and entered final judgment, and both parties appealed.

We now affirm in part, reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand. Among our rulings, we affirm liability for trade secret misappropriation, though on a more limited basis than TAOS presented to the jury, and we affirm liability for infringement of the asserted apparatus claims of the patent at issue. But we vacate the monetary awards, and we remand for further proceedings.

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East Iowa Plastics, Inc. v. PI, Inc.

This trademark dispute returns to us after proceedings on remand. In the previous appeal, E. Iowa Plastics, Inc. v. PI, Inc., 832 F.3d 899 (8th Cir. 2016), we asked the district court to address state-law questions pertaining to the availability of attorney’s fees and the ownership of a contested trademark. Id. at 907–08. The district court entered orders on those questions, and this appeal followed.

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ZW USA, Inc. v. PWD Systems, LLC

This case involves a trademark dispute between two companies that sell plastic bags for picking up and disposing of dog droppings. ZW USA, Inc. entered the dog bag market first and registered the mark ONEPUL. PWD, LLC entered the market after ZW under the trade name BagSpot. On its website, PWD uses the phrase “onepull” to describe some of its products. ZW sued PWD for infringement of its ONEPUL trademark, and PWD countersued claiming that the ONEPUL trademark is invalid. The district court granted summary judgment to PWD on the infringement claim, and to ZW on the validity claim. Both parties appealed.

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