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August 2013
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MeadWestvaco Corp. v. Rexam Beauty & Closures, Inc.

Rexam Beauty and Closures, Inc. and Rexam Dispensing Systems S.A.S. (collectively “Rexam”) and Valois of America, Inc. and Valois S.A.S. (collectively “Valois”) appeal from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia based on: (1) the construction of several terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,718,132 (“’132 patent”) and 7,722,819 (“’819 patent”); (2) the district court’s grant of summary judgment of nonobviousness; (3) the district court’s denial of summary judgment of indefiniteness; (4) the district court’s denial of Rexam’s motion to exclude expert testimony; (5) and the district court’s finding, after a bench trial, of infringement of claims 15 and 19 of the ’132 patent. See MeadWestVaco Corp. v. Rexam PLC, 807 F. Supp. 2d 537 (E.D. Va. 2011) (“Claim Op.”), MeadWestVaco Corp. v. Rexam PLC, 809 F. Supp. 2d 463 (E.D. Va. 2011) (“Summ. J. Op.”); MeadWestVaco Corp. v. Rexam PLC, No. 1:10-cv- 511, ECF No. 597 (E.D. Va. April 12, 2012) (“Trial Op.”). We find that the district court erred in granting summary judgment of nonobviousness in favor of plaintiffs MeadWestVaco Corporation and MeadWestVaco Calmar, Inc. (collectively “MWV”), the assignees of the ’132 and ’819 patents, and therefore vacate the summary judgment of nonobviousness. However, we affirm the district court’s claim constructions, denial of Rexam’s motion to exclude, and findings of infringement. We also find that Rexam and Valois waived their indefiniteness arguments by failing to pursue them at trial. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, vacate-in-part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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Sunovion Pharm., Inc. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Sunovion”) appeals from the decision of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granting summary judgment that Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Ltd. and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc. (collectively “Reddy”) do not infringe claims 1, 2, and 8 of Sunovion’s U.S. Patent 6,444,673 (the “’673 patent”). Sunovion Pharm., Inc. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., No. 09-1302, 2013 WL 211289 (D.N.J. Jan. 17, 2013). Because we conclude that, although the district court did not err in construing the asserted claims, Sunovion was entitled to a judgment of infringement as a matter of law under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2)(A), we reverse.

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Network Signatures, Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., Inc.

U.S. Patent No. 5,511,122 (the ’122 patent), entitled “Intermediate Network Authentication,” pertains to internet security, and is assigned to the United States of America represented by the Secretary of the Navy. The technology was developed by a scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The NRL permitted the patent to lapse for nonpayment of the 7.5-year maintenance fee. Two weeks after the lapse became effective, the NRL received an inquiry from the predecessor to Network Signatures, Inc. about licensing the patent. The NRL then petitioned the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to accept delayed payment of the fee; the PTO granted the petition.

The ’122 patent was duly licensed. Network Signatures sued State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company for infringement of the ’122 patent. In defense, State Farm asserted that the patent was permanently unenforceable on the ground that the NRL patent attorney, John Karasek, had engaged in inequitable conduct by “falsely representing” to the PTO that the NRL’s non-payment of the maintenance fee was “unintentional.” The district court granted summary judgment of inequitable conduct, and held the patent unenforceable. We conclude that the PTO Director acted in accordance with law and within his discretion in excusing the delayed payment, and that inequitable conduct was not established.

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Rambus Inc. v. Rea

Rambus Inc. appeals from the decision of the Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences (Board) holding invalid various claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,260,097 (’097 patent) for anticipation and obviousness. Rambus challenges the Board’s claim construction and its obviousness decision. Because the Board correctly construed the claims but erred in its obviousness decision, we affirm-in-part, vacate-in-part, and remand.

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United States v. Jin

The defendant was charged with theft of trade secrets and economic espionage, both being offenses under the Economic Espionage Act. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831, 1832. A bench trial resulted in her conviction of theft of trade secrets but acquittal of economic espionage. The judge imposed a 48‐month prison sentence. Her appeal challenges both her conviction and her sentence.

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Troma Entertainment v. Robbins

Appeal by the plaintiff‐appellant from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brian M. Cogan, Judge) dismissing its lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants‐appellees and for improper venue. We agree with the district court that the plaintiffappellant ʹs allegations concerning personal jurisdiction fail to establish a nonspeculative and direct New York‐based injury that goes beyond economic losses suffered in the state, as required by the provision of New York Stateʹs long‐arm statute pursuant to which jurisdiction is asserted, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 302(a)(3)(ii). The district court was therefore correct in declining to exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendants‐appellees, and accordingly dismissing the lawsuit against them. Affirmed.

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Groeneveld Transp. Efficiency, Inc. v. Lubecore Int'l, Inc.

RONALD LEE GILMAN, Circuit Judge. The key issue in this case is whether a company can use trade-dress law to protect its functional product design from competition with a “copycat” design made by another company where there is no reasonable likelihood that consumers would confuse the two companies’ products as emanating from a single source. We hold that it cannot. In so holding, we reaffirm that trademark law is designed to promote brand recognition, not to insulate product manufacturers from lawful competition.

Groeneveld Transport Efficiency, Inc. sued Lubecore International, Inc., claiming that Lubecore’s automotive grease pump is a “virtually identical” copy of Groeneveld’s automotive grease pump. The complaint asserts that such copying constitutes tradedress infringement in violation of § 43(a) of the Lanham (Trademark) Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), and further violates a number of related federal and Ohio laws. All the claims except trade-dress infringement were dismissed when the district court granted Lubecore’s motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The trade-dress claim went to the jury, which found for Groeneveld and awarded it $1,225,000 in damages.

Lubecore appeals the denial of its Rule 50 motion with respect to the trade-dress claim. Groeneveld in turn cross-appeals from the dismissal of its other claims. For the reasons set forth below, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court denying Lubecore’s Rule 50 motion with respect to Groeneveld’s trade-dress claim, AFFIRM the district court’s dismissal of Groeneveld’s other claims, and REMAND the case with instructions to enter judgment as a matter of law in favor of Lubecore on all claims.

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St. Jude Med., Inc. v. Access Closure, Inc.

This is a patent case. Access Closure, Inc. (ACI), the defendant at trial, appeals from several rulings made by the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in favor of St. Jude Medical, Inc. and St. Jude Medical Puerto Rico, LLC (collectively “St. Jude”), plaintiffs patentees. The rulings relate to three patents that St. Jude asserted against ACI: U.S. Patent No. 7,008,439 to Janzen et al. (the Janzen patent or ’439 patent); and U.S. Patent No. 5,275,616 to Fowler (the ’616 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 5,716,375 to Fowler (the ’375 patent)—we refer to the ’616 and ’375 patents collectively as the “Fowler patents.”

ACI appeals three of the district court’s rulings: (1) that the safe-harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. § 121 protects the Janzen patent from invalidity due to doublepatenting; (2) the construction of key terms in the Janzen patent; and (3) that ACI was not entitled to JMOL that the Fowler patents are invalid for obviousness. For the reasons that follow, we (1) reverse the district court’s safe harbor ruling regarding the Janzen patent; (2) in light of our safe harbor ruling, determine that the district court’s rulings regarding the claim constructions in the Janzen patent are moot; and (3) affirm the district court’s ruling that the Fowler patents are nonobvious and not shown to be invalid.

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High Point Design LLC v. Buyer's Direct, Inc.

Buyer’s Direct, Inc. (“BDI”) appeals from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York holding BDI’s asserted design patent invalid on summary judgment and also dismissing BDI’s trade dress claims with prejudice. See High Point Design LLC v. Buyer’s Direct, Inc., No. 11-CV- 4530, 2012 WL 1820565 (S.D.N.Y. May 15, 2012) (“Final Decision”). For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the grant of summary judgment of invalidity, vacate the dismissal of BDI’s trade dress claims, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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Wawrzynski v. H.J. Heinz Co.

This is or is not a patent case, depending on one’s time frame. It came to us on appeal from a District Court summary judgment that the plaintiff had failed to prove infringement of his patent. It leaves us as a transfer to the applicable regional circuit on the ground that plaintiff’s case from the beginning was not a patent infringement case.

In the case as it came to us, David Wawrzynski appeals two rulings from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, each granting summary judgment in favor of H.J. Heinz Company, H.J. Heinz Company, L.P., and Heinz GP LLC (collectively referred to as “Heinz” or “Heinz Company”). In the first ruling the district court concluded that federal patent law preempted the state law claims that Mr. Wawrzynski alleged in his complaint, and in the second ruling the district court concluded that Heinz did not infringe a patent owned by Mr. Wawrzynski.

The central dispute between the parties is whether Mr. Wawrzynski’s complaint alleges a patent issue at all. Heinz contends that it does; Mr. Wawrzynski contends that it does not. The outcome of this dispute directly affects our jurisdiction to decide the appeal, and we sua sponte directed the parties to address the question of jurisdiction. Both parties assert that we do have jurisdiction— albeit under different theories. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that both parties are mistaken because, under the law that applied when this suit was filed, our subject matter jurisdiction over patent disputes derives solely from the complaint, not from any counterclaim. Therefore, we do not have jurisdiction over the merits of this appeal, and order it transferred to the circuit court with general jurisdiction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

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