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Sterne Kessler’s long-standing appellate practice has served the intellectual property litigation needs of its clients for most of the firm's 38 year history. Its practitioners have been involved in many of the seminal patent law cases to reach the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court over the past 30+ years. That includes direct involvement in cases such as Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, KSR v. Teleflex, and Phillips v. AWH Corp. as well as serving as lead counsel in In re Beauregard, and In re Wands.

Sterne Kessler at the Federal Circuit

While we have a long track record and experience base at the Federal Circuit, our work there has grown considerably in recent years. As we have done with PTAB Litigation, Sterne Kessler has become a leader in Federal Circuit appeals involving IPRs/CBMs under the America Invents Act (AIA). With the recent explosion of Federal Circuit appeals from those proceedings, Sterne Kessler has emerged as a 'go-to' firm for appeals from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Our attorneys have been lead counsel most recently for clients such as Google, Global Tel*Link, Spectrum Brands, K/S HIMPP and Level 3 Communications, as well as for Ricoh, Xerox and Lexmark as they take on the well-known patent assertion entity MPHJ. Those cases cover a wide range of technologies and complex legal issues. All told, we are currently lead counsel on dozens of Federal Circuit appeals.

In addition to our direct work at the Federal Circuit, our appellate team monitors the Court closely. We track every Federal Circuit argument involving IPR/CBM appeals; we analyze every IPR/CBM appeal docketed with the Court; and we maintain a database of appealed issues and how they are being adjudicated. Those statistics provide us added insight into trends and significant issues as they are developing at the Court.

Sterne Kessler at the Supreme Court

Sterne Kessler has been co-counsel on three cases before the Supreme Court, including the seminal Alice case. Our Supreme Court experience includes co-counsel roles on:

  • KSR v. Teleflex, addressing the fundamental question of when an invention is “obvious” and therefore not patentable;
  • Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, addressing patent eligible subject matter under § 101 particularly as related to software; and
  • Microsoft v. I4I, affirming that issued patents are “presumed valid” under a “clear and convincing” standard.

In addition to playing a direct role in these cases, Sterne Kessler has worked on behalf of numerous clients and industry groups to prepare amicus briefs in relation to intellectual property cases before the Supreme Court.

(1) Success Stories


    Invalidation Victory Upheld by Federal Circuit

    Sterne Kessler secured a favorable ruling before the Federal Circuit after handling post-grant review proceedings that culminated in the invalidation of all but a handful of claims across six patents owned by a competing entity. Our appellate team secured two Rule 36 affirmances and one precedential split, with a very strong dissent in our client's favor.

  • Spectrum Brands Inc.

    Obviousness Finding Upheld by Federal Circuit

    As part of a patent dispute concerning Spectrum's Rayovac brand of batteries, Sterne Kessler obtained cancellation of a battery patent asserted by their competitor Eveready Battery Company in an inter partes reexamination on obviousness grounds at the PTAB. Eveready appealed the PTAB’s decision and, following briefs and oral argument, the Federal Circuit found "substantial evidence" supporting the PTAB's findings.

  • Level 3 Communications

    Defending Practicing Entities

    When a patent assertion company aggressively attempted to broadly assert its patent against numerous entities, Sterne Kessler secured favorable results before both the USPTO and the Federal Circuit. After cancelling all claims in an inter partes review, Sterne Kessler successfully defended the USPTO’s cancellation of the patent, obtaining a Rule 36 summary affirmance of the USPTO’s decision.

(4) Sterne Kessler Welcomes Litigators John Christopher Rozendaal & Michael Joffre to the Firm

Sterne Kessler Welcomes Litigators John Christopher Rozendaal & Michael Joffre to the Firm
A Case Study:

Sterne Kessler Welcomes Litigators John Christopher Rozendaal & Michael Joffre to the Firm

Sterne Kessler is pleased to announce that John Christopher (J.C.) Rozendaal and Michael Joffre have joined the firm as directors.


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