Patent Law and the Supreme Court: Patent Certiorari Petitions Denied in 2018

Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 101, establishes the broad categories of subject matter that are patent-eligible and has been construed to exclude abstract ideas. Section 101 is directed to the patent as a whole and does not impose substantive requirements beyond delineating the patent-eligible subject matters—requirements such as specificity and enablement are dealt with in other provisions of the Patent Act. In this case, the district court and court of appeals agreed that the patents-in-suit are directed to an innovative technological architecture that improves the functionality of online media streaming. But both courts nevertheless concluded that the patents’ claims are directed to an abstract idea—and are therefore ineligible under Section 101—because the asserted claims, read in isolation, do not describe with sufficient specificity how to achieve the innovation. In reaching that conclusion, the courts expressly ignored the detailed description of the inventions in the rest of the specification and refused to consider proffered evidence demonstrating how the inventions solved existing technical problems and added significant innovative concepts to the prior art. The questions presented are: In order to clear the threshold eligibility determination under 35 U.S.C. § 101, must a patent include in its claims a sufficient level of specificity such that the claims, read in isolation, fully describe the nature of the innovation and the means of achieving it? Does a court’s determination that a claim is ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because it is not directed to an inventive concept that was previously unknown in the art require resolution of underlying factual questions that, when disputed, cannot be resolved on a motion to dismiss? Cert. petition filed 7/27/18 (full docket here). Petition denied 10/15/18. CAFC Opinion, CAFC Argument
Oleksy v. General Electric Co., No. 18-303 Questions Presented: The date on which a district court judgment becomes final is critical to the federal appellate process. A number of critical deadlines for filings and submissions are computed from the date a district court’s judgment is final. Recognizing the importance of defining whether a judgment is a final judgment, this Court set forth specific criteria for making this determination. In United States v. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co., 356 U.S. 227 (1958), this Court held that the use of specific words is not required for a judgment to be final. The circumstances must show that the district court had an intention to terminate the case. Following this precedent, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that in patent cases for a judgment to be final a dismissal of an invalidity counterclaim need not be express. A district court can effectively dismiss a counterclaim. However, in the present case, a judgment was held not be final because an invalidity counterclaim was not expressly dismissed. It is therefore important that this Court grant the petition to review the following questions: Whether this Court should exercise its supervisory power to assure that precedents are followed and reverse a decision that the district court judgment was not final because a counterclaim was not EXPRESSLY dismissed even though this counterclaim was effectively and necessarily dismissed by the district court? Whether Due Process Rights of the Petitioner Were Violated When the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Without Opinion District Court’s Decision That Was Clearly Inconsistent with Precedents? Cert. petition filed 9/5/18 (full docket here). Petition denied 10/12/18. CAFC Opinion, CAFC Argument
Advanced Audio Devices, LLC v. HTC Corp., No. 18-183