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Federal Circuit Issues Precedential Opinion in Favor of Client Geox SpA

OutDry Technologies Corp. v. Geox SpA

June 16, 2017PDF

On June 16, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion affirming the USPTO’s invalidation of all claims of a patent on a process for waterproofing leather, following inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The decision was a complete victory for Rothwell Figg client Geox SpA over the patent owner, Outdry Technologies Corp. (“Outdry”), a division of Columbia Sportswear Co. OutDry had previously filed a lawsuit claiming that shoes manufactured by Geox infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,855,171 (“the ’171 patent”). Although OutDry withdrew its complaint, Geox later filed an IPR petition challenging the ’171 patent at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Rothwell Figg successfully represented Geox in both the IPR proceedings and the Federal Circuit appeal.

The Federal Circuit agreed with the Board’s decision, finding that every claim of the ’171 patent would have been obvious over the prior art. The Court affirmed the Board’s claim construction, and found there was a reason to combine the cited prior art references.

In affirming the Board’s decision, the Federal Circuit explained when it is appropriate for the Board to adopt a party’s arguments while still providing an adequate explanation of the Board’s reasoning to facilitate judicial review. Slip Op. at 7-10. The Court held that “the Board articulated Geox’s arguments with evidentiary support and expressly adopted them to find there would have been a motivation to combine. The Board sufficiently explained why it found that Geox’s arguments supported finding a motivation to combine.” Slip Op. at 10. The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the Board’s finding that every claim of the ’171 patent was invalid as obvious.

Geox SpA was represented in the Federal Circuit appeal by Rothwell Figg attorneys Steven P. Weihrouch, Soumya P. Panda, and Jennifer P. Nock. Steve Weihrouch and Soum Panda also represented Geox in the IPR proceedings.

Read more in IP Law360's article, which can be found here.