Posts Tagged: "patent infringement"

Canon Sued for Infringing Noise-Reduction Camera Patent

On Friday, September 21, 2012, Canon, Inc. (NYSE: CAJ) was sued for patent infringement by Yama Capital, LLC, which is a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Delaware.  The complaint, which alleges Canon infringes U.S. Patent No. 6,069,982 (“the ‘982 patent”) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The ‘982 patent was originally assigned to Polaroid. According to the complaint, Canon has known about the patent for at least 10 years and believes there is infringement based on certain statements contained in the Canon EOS System Summer 2012 brochure. Specifically, the complaint asserts: “Canon’s website boasts that its digital cameras include noise reduction that produces clear images when shooting in low light at high ISO speeds and advertises its infringing noise-reduction technology as a product differentiator.”

Apple v. Samsung: Jury Verdict Lacks Sufficient Detail To Support Enhanced Damages

The relative paucity of design patent jurisprudence regarding the legal remedy of damages and the equitable remedy of an accounting for the infringer’s profits, makes clear that while an award of damages for patent infringement may be enhanced under 35 U.S.C. § 284 for willful infringement, and award of profits under 35 U.S.C. § 289, may not be enhanced under Section 284. While this distinction may appear important to one who wishes to obtain an enhancement of the damages award for willful infringement, the jury verdict form in Apple v. Samsung leaves one clueless as to whether the monetary award for infringement of 18 Samsung devices was an award of damages, an award of profits, or some combination of the two.

Mirror Worlds v. Apple: Apple Operating System Does Not Infringe

Mirror Worlds also alleged that Apple induced its customers to infringe claim 13. The infringement theory in play here is called inducement and is found in 35 U.S.C. § 271(b): a party who “actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as an infringer.” Inducement, however, requires that there be a showing of an underlying act of direct infringement. This does not require that Apple themselves engaged in direct infringement, otherwise direct infringement and inducement would be one and the same theory, which they are not. Nevertheless, in order for there to be inducement each and every step of the claim in question must be performed.

GE Wins at Federal Circuit in Mitsubishi Wind Turbine Case

On Friday, July 6, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in General Electric Co. v. ITC. The Federal Circuit, per Judge Newman with Chief Judge Rader and Judge Linn, did not give GE a total victory, but victory enough over Mitsubishi. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the original decision of the ITC, and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the decision. Ultimately, the Federal Circuit ruled that claim 15 of the ‘985 patent, correctly construed, covers the domestic industry turbines. Of note, the CAFC continues to interpret “connected to” and “coupled to” as not requiring physical separation.

Valid but Not Infringed, Merck’s Loses Blockbuster Nasonex®

Last week, on Friday, June 15, 2012, Merck (NYSE: MRK) announced the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Judge Peter G. Sheridan) ruled against the company on the issue of patent infringement in its suit against Apotex Inc. According to Merck, global sales of Nasonex® in 2010 topped $1.2 billion. See Merck News. A variety of Internet sources place the Nasonex® market share of the inhaled steroid market at 47%. Therefore, this patent loss some 6 years before the Nasonex® patent expires is a big deal.

Goliath vs. Goliath: Yahoo and Facebook Sue Over Patents

The meat of the litigation revolves around patents. For decades patents have been a significant part of intellectual property law, but in recent years they have proven problematic in the development of new software and the technological innovations. Patents will now be at the heart of a cold war between two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Yahoo, which owns about 1,000 patents, is suing Facebook over 10 patent infringements ranging from Internet advertising methods and privacy controls. One of the patents is described as “optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage.” Yahoo had warned Facebook that they would sue if the social network did not agree to license the patents in question, saying that multiple other major companies had complied. Yahoo was true to their word, and called Facebook’s bluff.

Tenth Circuit Finds Patent Infringement Insurance Coverage Under “Advertising Injury” Clause

Therefore, no one should read this decision as stating a general rule that patent infringement is covered under “advertising injury” provisions in a typical insurance contract. Rather, the decision should be read as saying that it is possible, based on these peculiar facts, that coverage could exists for this particular patent infringement claim under the advertising injury provisions. Essentially, reaching this determination on summary judgment without full consideration was deemed inappropriate.

Android Woes: IV Sues Motorola Mobility for Patent Infringement

So here we are, many years later and IV’s philosophy seems to have changed. No longer is litigation a poor way to monetize patents, but rather IV sees itself as having a responsibility to litigate. The self-righteousness of IV’s claims is why they engender such distrust, even bordering on hatred. For so long they came in peace and now that they have the leverage they seem to be playing a different tune, and using patent litigation with greater frequency. They accumulated patents over time, sometimes getting as much as $50 million from companies like Google, eBay, Sony, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and others, ostensibly for the purpose of obtaining a defensive patent position. Oh how the tables have turned.

A Winning Patent Infringement Defense: Reexamination Creates Intervening Rights, Erases $29.4 Million Verdict

Companies accused of patent infringement are increasingly looking at patent reexamination at the Patent Office as an attractive avenue for challenging the patent’s validity. Reexamination offers a number of well-known advantages as a forum for such validity challenges over District Court, among them the absence of a presumption of validity and a lower burden of proof. Less well-known, however, is the potential for reexamination to eliminate an accused infringer’s liability for past damages – even if the PTO confirms the validity of a patent in reexamination, the accused infringer might be entitled to “intervening rights,” effectively eliminating past damages, if the patent owner amends its claims to distinguish its invention over the prior art. This possibility of “intervening rights” received a big boost last week with the CAFC’s decision in Marine Polymer Techs. v. HemCon, finding that such rights may be created even without an amendment of the claims if the patent owner presents arguments in reexamination that “effectively amend” the claims.

Chief Judge Rader: “We Need to Tolerate A Little Injustice”

During his contemporaneous, unscripted speech, Chief Judge Randall Rader made several remarks about the access to justice that raised some eyebrows. On Friday we were told that we need to tolerate the injustice of certain rules that might lead to an unfair result, but then on Saturday morning during the Judges’ panel we were told that rules of thumb couldn’t and shouldn’t apply to the law of damages. Rader on one hand was saying that certainty and relatively bright line rules are necessary to control the process of litigation, but then on the other hand saying that a flexible, case-by-case approach needs to be what we pursue. In short, it seems to me that Judge Rader wants to have his cake and eat it too! I dissented in person, and I dissent here and now.

Groupon Sued for Patent Infringement

SellerBid, Inc. brought the patent infringement lawsuit (see complaint) demanding a jury trial, against Groupon and others on July 20, 2011. Somewhat surprisingly, the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District of Virginia is famously known by attorneys everywhere as “the Rocket Docket,” thanks to how fast cases go from filing to trial. Expect the defendants to seek to remove the case and the Eastern District of Virginia to be sympathetic to the defendants if there is any reason to suspect that SellerBid was merely attempting to manufacture jurisdiction and venue.

What To Do If You Are Sued for Patent Infringement

Despite the gathering storm, some businesses would prefer to pretend that patent infringement is not a problem for them and they won’t be sued. The graph below shows that since 1980 the number of patent lawsuits filed has only gone up, with a record number (3,301) being filed in 2010. Add the frequency of the “dime a dozen” threatening letters sent by those seeking to extract licensing payments to the number of lawsuits filed and you can readily see that patent infringement litigation, and the associated threats thereof, are a growth industry. Here is what you need to know when you get sued or get that threatening letter.

The Impact of the CAFC’s Joint Infringement Conundrum on Protecting Interactive Technologies

The conundrum created by the Federal Circuit’s joint infringement doctrine and its impact on protecting interactive computer-based technologies got worse last week with McKesson Technologies, Inc. v. Epic Systems Corp. McKesson Technologies involved a patented interactive electronic method for communicating between healthcare providers and patients about personalized web pages for doctors. Judge Linn’s majority opinion (and a “thin” at majority at that) ruled that, because the initial step of the patented method was performed by the patient while the remaining steps were performed by the software provided by the healthcare provider, there was no infringement, direct, indirect, joint or otherwise of the patented method.

A New Doctrine of Equivalents? CAFC Defines “Use” Under §271

I wonder why we are discussing the definition of “use” under § 271(a) at all. It would seem that the Federal Circuit is potentially broadening the definition of “use” under § 271(a) in a manner that expands direct infringement to start to include those types of things that normally would have been infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. Of course, the Supreme Court in Festo together with the Federal Circuit in Honeywell International Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation have eviscerated the doctrine of equivalents to the point of its non-existence. Perhaps Centillion v. Qwest, NTP and other cases yet to come will breathe new life into the theory under the guise of a direct infringement “use” of a system under § 271(a).

Microsoft Wins at CAFC, 25% Reasonable Royalty Rule Dies

While the Federal Circuit ruled that Microsoft did infringe and the patent claim in question (claim 19 of U.S. Patent No. 5,490,216) was valid, it was Microsoft who was the big winner here. The damages awarded by the jury to Uniloc were $388 million, which was set aside by the district court, a ruling that the Federal Circuit affirmed. The Federal Circuit also agreed there was no willful infringement. So while Uniloc has won at least something from Microsoft as a result of its infringement of a valid patent claim, it seems like it will be far less than the $388 million, particularly given the Federal Circuit threw out the 25 percent rule and said the entire market value rule was not applicable in this case.


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