Liqwd, Inc. v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., No. 18-2152 (Fed. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Liqwd’s patent, titled “Keratin Treatment Formulations and Methods,” relates to formulations and methods of treating hair, skin, or nails by mixing compounds with a coloring or bleaching formulation to achieve a repairing or strengthening effect. The described formulations contain polyfunctional compounds referred to as “active agents” that may be maleic acid, salts thereof, or other compounds. L’Oreal sought post-grant review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which found that certain claims were obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103 in light of prior references. The Board found that L’Oreal used Liqwd’s confidential information and copied Liqwd’s patented method but disregarded its factual finding in concluding that the copying involved was legally irrelevant. Federal Circuit vacated. Objective indicia “‘may often be the most probative and cogent evidence’ of nonobviousness” and copying by a competitor is a relevant consideration in the objective indicia analysis. The proponent of objective evidence offered to show nonobviousness, such as copying, must show that a nexus exists between the evidence and the claimed features of the invention.