For our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, August 14, 2017, we will discuss the following cases:
Enzo Biochem v. Applera, (Federal Circuit 2017) (available here). Enzo and Applera had been involved in litigation over patents for genetic testing and labeling since 2004. In a new round of litigation, plaintiff argued under the doctrine of equivalence, that the patent covered two types of genetic testing, direct and indirect detection, and that defendant infringed by using the method of direct detection. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted by the district court and affirmed by the CAFC. The Federal Circuit held that the doctrine of equivalence did not allow Applera to claim direct detection because the specification to the patent explicitly excluded that method.
Homeland Housewares, LLC v. Whirlpool Corporation, (Federal Circuit 2017) (available here). Whirlpool owned the ‘688 patent for a “Blender with Crushed Ice Functionality.” Homeland Housewares instituted an IPR where the board found the ‘688 patent valid. Homeland appealed to the CAFC, which reversed the board’s opinion. In reversing, the Federal Circuit found the term “settling speed” has been misconstrued by the board and thus rendered the claims anticipated by an older patent. Judge Newman wrote a strong dissent, “[t]he court today rewrites the claims of the ’688 patent, adopting a ‘claim construction’ that states the invention more broadly than did the patentee. The court then holds its broadened claims anticipated by the prior art, on which the patentee has provided an improvement that is not shown in the prior art.”