Law360 covered Steptoe's Federal Circuit win for American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. in an article titled "Fed. Circ. OKs American Axle's PTAB Win Over Neapco Patent." On March 10, the Federal Circuit affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that invalidated a vehicle drive shaft patent challenged by American Axle finding that "substantial evidence" supported the board's characterization of prior art.
In a nonprecedential opinion, a three-judge panel upheld the PTAB's decision in March 2020 that Neapco Drivelines LLC's patent for a "vented slip joint assembly" was invalid for being anticipated or obvious due to a combination of earlier patents.
The companies are also fighting before the US Supreme Court over a bitterly divided Federal Circuit decision invalidating a different American Axle patent for claiming only a natural law.
In its December certiorari petition, authored by a Steptoe patent litigation team led by IP co-chair Jay Nuttall, American Axle urged the high court to review the current state of patent eligibility law under Section 101 of the Patent Act, saying that "the entire patent system is desperate" for more clarity from the justices on patent eligibility.
In addition to Nuttall, the Steptoe IP team that represents American Axle in these matters include partners John Abramic and Kate Johnson, and associates Chris Suarez and Robert Kappers.
The full article can be read at Law360 (subscription required).