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Eric Caligiuri advises domestic and international clients through complex intellectual property disputes. Mr. Caligiuri’s practice at Weintraub Tobin focuses on patent and trade secret litigation in federal district courts, California state courts, and before the International Trade Commission (ITC).

In Thaler v. Commissioner of Patents, case number VID 108 of 2021, in the Federal Court of Australia, an Australian Federal Judge became the first known jurist to rule that inventions developed by artificial intelligence can qualify for patent protection.

The case involved a patent application from Dr. Stephen Thaler, a researcher who runs a Missouri company called Imagination Engines. An artificial intelligence system, which has been described as a device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience (DABUS), was named as the inventor by Dr. Thaler. DABUS was the inventor of two inventions, a type of improved beverage container and a type of flashing beacon meant to be used in emergencies.
Continue Reading Australian Judge Rules Inventions Developed by Artificial Intelligence Can Qualify for Patent Protection

5-4 Opinion Offers Judicial Workaround by Giving More Oversight to the USPTO Director

In U.S. v. Arthrex, case number 19-1434; Smith & Nephew v. Arthrex, case number 19-1452; and Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew, case number 19-1458, the Supreme Court of the United States recently held that Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges are unconstitutionally appointed.  But, the Court also held that providing the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with more oversight over PTAB rulings will remedy the unconstitutionality of the PTAB judges.


Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds PTAB Judges Unconstitutional

In Hytera Communications Corp. Ltd. v. Motorola Solutions, Inc., 1-17-cv-01794 (NDOH 2021-04-29, Order) (Donald C. Nugent), the District Court denied defendant’s motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285, determining plaintiff’s litigation positions were not baseless even after a granting of summary judgment of noninfringement that “was not a close call.”  

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On March 16, 2021, U.S. Circuit Judge Evan J. Wallach for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals announced he plans to take senior status on May 31, 2021.  This semi-retirement is set to create the first vacancy at the Federal Circuit in almost six years.  The Federal Circuit handles all appeals of patent cases from Districts Courts in the U.S., and appeals from various government agencies.  Thus, the Federal Circuit is the only one of the thirteen federal courts of appeal whose jurisdiction is determined entirely on the subject of the lawsuit it hears, rather than on the geographical location from which the appeal originated.  This means the Federal Circuit can hear appeals from every District Court in the United States as long as it has subject matter jurisdiction. The only court in the United States with more authority over patent related issues in the United States Supreme Court.

The Federal Circuit was the only federal court of appeals that did not have any vacancies during President Donald Trump’s administration.  In fact, President Trump nominated and succeeded in putting a judge in every other appellate court during his four years in office, including fifty-four judges on the federal appeals bench.  However, the Federal Circuit remained untouched, and in fact currently has eight Democratic-President appointed judges, and four Republican-President appointed Judges.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Set to Have First Vacancy in Six Years

In The Sherwin-Williams Company v. PPG Industries, Inc., 2-17-cv-01023 (WDPA 2021-01-21, Order), the court had to decide whether Plaintiff The Sherwin-Williams Co. (“Sherwin”) should be bound by its prior admission to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) during vacated reexamination proceedings.  

During one of the reexamination proceedings, Sherwin admitted that certain prior art (“Perez”) disclosed a BPA-free coating, although it contended that its patents were valid for other reasons.  Subsequently, the entire reexamination proceeding was terminated without any action on the merits.  
Continue Reading District Court Finds Patentee’s Prior Statement Regarding Prior Art A Binding Admission