Deceased Federal Employee's Daughter's Claim For Death Benefits, Plus IP Matters

By FindLaw Staff on September 10, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tri-Star Elec. Int'l, Inc. v. Preci-Dip Durtal, SA, 09-1337, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of standing under Federal Rule of Civil procedure 12(b)(1), in a patent infringement suit.  In affirming, the court held that the assignment transferred ownership to Tri-Star of California and thus, the Tri-Star Delaware corporation has standing to bring this suit.


Spine Solutions, Inc. v. Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA, Inc., 09-1538, involved a suit for infringement of a patent related to intervertebral implants used to replace discs between vertebrae in the spinal column that have degenerated or become diseased.  The court affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for JMOL that the asserted claims of the '071 patent are invalid for obviousness, and the denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment of invalidity for failure to comply with the written description requirement.  The court also affirmed the district court's grant of plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment dismissing defendant's 35 U.S.C. section 112 defenses and the district court's construction of the term "operative engagement."

However, the court reversed and remanded the district court's denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement and its grant of summary judgment of infringement with respect to O-Maverick, and instructed the district court to enter judgment of noninfringement with respect to O-Maverick.  The district court's denial of defendant's motion for JMOL of lost profits is reversed and jury's award of lost profits damages is vacated and remanded for the court to determine any additional reasonable royalty to which plaintiff might be entitled, as well as the district court's denial of defendant's motion for JMOL of no willfulness and the enhanced damages and attorney fee awards vacated.  Lastly, the matter is remanded for the district court to modify the terms of the permanent injunction by deleting the extraterritorial portion.

Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. v. Matrix Laboratories, Ltd., 09-1511, involved a patent infringement suit, related to 1-biphenylmethylimidazole compounds and their use as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) for the treatment of high blood pressure.  In affirming the district court's decision sustaining the validity of a patent under 35 U.S.C. section 103, the court held that the district court did not err in holding that defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of obviousness because defendant failed to show that one of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to select the '902 ARBs as lead compounds or, even if they had, that the skilled artisan would have been motivated to modify the '902 compounds to synthesize the claimed invention.

Byrum v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 09-3264, involved a deceased federal employee's daughter's claim to death benefits, which were assigned to the daughter after the employee's husband was found civilly liable for the employee's death.  In vacating and remanding the Merit Systems Protection Board's affirmance of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) denial of the claim on the ground that petitioner was not the spouse of the deceased, the court held that the petitioner is seeking all available death benefits attributable to her mother's services, and specifically including both the lump sum and the annuity provided under section 8442(b).  The court also held that, pursuant to a Texas court's turnover order, the employee's husband assigned to petitioner all available death benefits to which he may have had a claim under FERS, including both the lump sum and the annuity in section 8442(b).  The court held that by not deciding the claim for benefits as submitted, OPM failed to carry out its statutory duty to petitioner and her deceased mother and the Board compounded the problem by affirming the OPM's reconsideration decision on narrow grounds and declining to address the issues raised by petitioner.

Baseload Energy, Inc. v. Roberts, 10-1053, involved a plaintiff's action seeking a declaratory judgment that defendant's patent related to a flying wind turbine was invalid and unenforceable.  In reversing the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the terms of the parties' 2008 settlement agreement barred all claims between the parties, the court held that the language of the settlement agreement did not release either claims of infringement of the patent or the accompanying defenses of invalidity or unenforceability.

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