Posts in District Courts

Bad News for the Redskins Trademark – Registration Exempt from First Amendment Scrutiny

Last Wednesday the Eastern District of Virginia issued its opinion and order on cross-motions for summary judgment in Pro-Football v. Blackhorse, the case in which the National Football League (NFL) appealed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) precedential cancellation of the REDSKINS trademark on Lanham Act 2(a) disparagement grounds. The long and short of it is, it didn’t turn out well for the Redskins, who will almost certainly appeal the decision, which affirmed the TTAB’s 2014 cancellation.

Safeway defeats Kroy IP Holdings on summary judgment in EDTX patent case

After two and a half years of hard-fought litigation, Kroy IP Holdings has been defeated in a patent case brought against grocery retailer Safeway, Inc. In two comprehensive opinions issued May 29 by Judge William C. Bryson—a senior Federal Circuit judge sitting by designation in the Eastern District of Texas—the court granted Safeway’s motions for summary judgment and invalidated Kroy’s U.S. Patent No. 7,054,830 on several grounds. Not only did Judge Bryson find the ‘830 patent to be abstract and ineligible for patent protection, he also found the patent to be anticipated and obvious in view of Safeway’s cited prior art. Judge Bryson entered judgment for Safeway the same day, and ruled that as the prevailing party, Safeway is entitled to its costs.

Vocal minority cannot keep PATENT Act from passing Senate Judiciary

At the end of a three-hour long hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary this Thursday, June 4th, S.1137, the proposed legislation known as the PATENT Act, was approved to move to the floor of the United States Senate by a 16-4 vote of the Senate committee. Proponents of the bill lauded the bipartisan support which brought the bill committee approval. Interestingly, a small but vocal bipartisan minority has developed, a couple of whom have pledged to continue debate aspects of this legislation which they fear will pose a threat to American innovation.

Senate Judiciary divided on PATENT Act even if it is a step in the right direction

Given the collective bias of the witness panel, it is hardly surprising that on the issue of the PATENT Act there was a clear, positive consensus in the witness panel. But there is no such consensus within the industry and those voices were brought to the table by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chris Coons (D-DE), two of the sponsors of the STRONG Patents Act that has been debated in Senate committee as recently as March. Durbin, who pointed out that “this panel is divided between people who love the bill and people who really love the bill,” read part of a strongly worded letter submitted by the National Venture Capital Association who is worried that the PATENT Act, as worded currently, could hurt investment.

Tesla unveils energy storage for a sustainable home, retains open source stance on patents

Tesla’s Powerwall batteries will come in two varieties: one a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) version for a weekly cycle unit designed for backup applications, the other a 7 kWh unit for everyday use. The batteries can be installed in groups of up to nine, providing a maximum of 90 kWh hours of backup energy (or 63 kWh of energy available daily). The dimensions of the Powerwall battery are about four feet tall and nearly three feet wide; its slender 7.1 inches of depth and sleek design gives it a form which fits neatly on most walls, inside or out. It can be installed in an afternoon and does not need major home rewiring. The 10 kWh model costs $3,500 ($3,000 for the 7 kWh version) although a homeowner must pay for installation and an inverter if the property includes solar panels.

A modest patent portfolio doesn’t stop Amazon Web Services from earning $5.16 billion

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has just cleared up the picture over its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the company’s forecast looks sunny. The corporation recently announced its first quarter earnings for 2015 and financial pundits were flabbergasted to see just how profitable AWS has been for Amazon, earning $5.16 billion in revenue over a recent 12-month period and growing…

3D Conversion Patents take Center Stage in Hollywood Visual Effects Case

Two of the biggest post-production/3D-conversion companies are preparing for battle in a patent infringement suit that is sure to create enemies and allies in the world of film post-production. Prime Focus Creative Services Canada filed a patent infringement suit against Legend3D in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In the March 30, 2015 complaint, Prime Focus World requested a jury trial, an injunction banning Legend3D from performing the patented process, a finding of willful infringement and unspecified monetary damages. Each company has some of the biggest blockbusters in recent memory.

Decrease in patent litigation questions need for patent reform

In 2014 there were 1,070 fewer patent lawsuits filed than during 2013. Furthermore, the number of patent cases filed in 2014 was lower than the number of cases filed in 2012 by some 433 cases. Therefore, the stories of continued run away litigation seem to be greatly exaggerated. Given the dramatic decrease in patent litigation it seems entirely premature for Congress to be considering additional patent reform at this early stage.

Case Challenging Constitutionality of Inter Partes Review Continues to 4th Circuit

Inter partes review proceedings unconstitutionally assign to an Article I executive branch tribunal matters reserved for Article III Judges that make up the Federal Judiciary. This is in violation of Separation of Powers principles, which is particularly problematic given that we are talking about property rights being stripped from patent owners by administrative law judges in a proceeding designed to be a district court alternative. These administrative tribunals also adjudicate patent validity without a jury, in violation of patentees’ Seventh Amendment rights.

District Courts should have more discretion to enhance patent damages

Infringers should not be able to arrogantly and recklessly violate patents for years but ultimately pay only the same amount they would have paid the patent owner for a license in the first place. Currently, however, that is the situation that exists, because an infringer can avoid being stuck with enhanced damages if the infringer’s attorneys, for the first time in the litigation, raise a newly-devised (but ultimately incorrect) argument that the patent is invalid or not infringed, even if this was not the actual reason why the infringer refused to take a license years earlier.

Patent reform should focus on complaint sufficiency, not substantive patent law

Congress won’t accomplish much, if anything, if it gets mired in the substance of patent law during the inevitable patent reform cycle in the 114th Congress. Similarly, vilifying all innovators as if everyone who owns a patent is somehow evil and a patent troll will only work to divide the industry, and likely divide enough Senators to make getting anything enacted a virtual impossibility. But if Congress decides to focus on process, procedure and non-substantive patent matters like fraudulent and misleading demand letters, real reform is not only possible but likely. Further, by focusing on process and procedure anything that does get done would improve the patent system, won’t harm innovators and would strike a significant blow against the business model employed by the abusers.

Working toward settlement where reasonably possible

It’s important, particularly for technology companies in fast moving industries, to keep their eyes focused on the future and competing in the marketplace rather than focused on the past and competing in the courtroom, other than in a small number of cases where that focus really is absolutely necessary… When we deal with nonpracticing entities in mediation, we have to take them seriously. They are the parties to the lawsuit. They operate the kinds of businesses that they operate. They take positions and have underlying interests that need to be acknowledged as real and sincere. And the parties opposing the nonpracticing entities have to deal with them straight up and sometimes make some difficult decisions as to whether to settle and how much money to pay.

A Big Change in the ANDA Litigation Paradigm: Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics

For those of you that do ANDA litigation, as well as other types of patent litigation, you know that ANDA litigation is very different. How a judge reacts to a particular motion in ANDA litigation is not necessarily how he or she might deal with the same motion in an electrical, mechanical or software case. Because of this substantial difference, Lex Machina decided to separately tag over 2,500 ANDA cases filed since January 1, 2000. Thus, for the first time, litigators can make decisions based solely on reviewing the ANDA cases that a specific judge has handled.