Fresh From the Bench: Latest Federal Circuit Court Case
CASE OF THE WEEK
LG Electronics Inc. v. Immervision, Inc., Appeal Nos. 2021-2037, -2038 (Fed. Cir. 2022)
In this week’s Case of the Week, the Federal Circuit considered how to treat a prior art reference in which the alleged teaching of a claim element would be understood by a skilled artisan not to be an actual teaching, but rather an error of a typographical or similar nature. The Court affirmed a pair of inter partes review decisions finding that the challenged claims were not shown to be unpatentable as obvious, because the alleged prior art teaching on which petitioner/appellant LG Electronics relied was shown by substantial evidence to be a copy-and-paste error that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have disregarded or corrected.
The claims at issue concerned methods of capturing digital panoramic images that purported to improve resolution of particular sectors of the image, and included limitations requiring an objective lens with a particular non-linear image point distribution. In arguing that the claims were obvious, LG relied on a United States patent (Tada) directed to wide-angle lens systems using aspherical lenses.
Koninklijke Philips v. Thales USA, Inc., Appeal No. 2021-2106 (Fed. Cir. 2022)
In this case, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction sought by appellant Thales to prevent appellee Philips from pursuing an International Trade Commission (ITC) action seeking an exclusion order. Thales had sought the injunction with a breach of contract counterclaim after the parties failed to negotiate a license to Philips’ standard essential patents. The Court found that Thales failed to meet its burden of establishing a likelihood of irreparable harm. In reaching this conclusion, the Court explained that “Thales did not present any evidence that it lost customers, had customers delay purchases, or struggled to acquire new business because of the ongoing ITC proceedings.” Rather, Thales relied on arguments of a potential loss of business, citing only evidence of a few customers who “voice[d] concerns.” The Court explained that such “speculative harm does not justify the rare and extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction.” Thus, the Court affirmed, finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Thales’ motion for a preliminary injunction.