We will be discussing two Federal Circuit cases during our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, July 2, 2012. Brief synopses are presented below.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. v. Cadbury Adams USA LLC, Case No. 2011-1140, 2011-1150 (Fed. Cir. June 22, 2012) (attached).

This suit involved infringement assertions between two competitors in the chewing gum industry.  Cadbury contended that Wrigley infringed its Patent No. 5,009,893, which claims chewing gum containing a combination of menthol and a coolant known as WS-3, while Wrigley contended that Cadbury infringed its Patent No. 6,627,233, which claims chewing gum containing a combination of menthol and a coolant known as WS-23.

In the district court, Cadbury obtained summary judgment of anticipation and obviousness of the ‘233 patent, while Wrigley obtained summary judgment of noninfringement of the ‘893 patent.  Both parties appealed.  The Federal Circuit affirmed both holdings stating that Wrigley’s WS-23 coolant and menthol combination did not infringe Cadbury’s patent under the doctrine of equivalents.  Additionally, Wrigley’s patent was held invalid as anticipated by U.S. Patent No. 5,688,491 (Shahidi), and obvious in view of the prior art, particularly because there were no unexpected effects of the WS-23 coolant and menthol combination.

In Re Mouttet, Case No. 2011-1451 (Fed. Cir. June 26, 2012) (attached).

In 2006, Mouttet filed a utility patent application for a “Crossbar Arithmetic Processor,” disclosing a computing device for processes such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using nanoscale materials in a crossbar array with conductive wires. The examiner rejected all claims as obvious and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences affirmed. On appeal, although all the claim elements were in the prior art, Mouttet argued teaching away and non-combinability of the prior art references, specifically a change in operating principle.  The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision, stating that substantial evidence supports the conclusion that the claimed invention would have been obvious to one having ordinary skill in the art.

All are invited to join us in our discussion during the SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, July 2, 2012 at Noon in our Westlake Village office. This activity is approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit. If you will be joining us, please RSVP to Noelle Attalla by 9 am Monday morning.