Posts Tagged: "patent infringement"

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.

Supreme Court Case Could Deprive Inventors & Businesses Ability to Commercialize Inventions

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.; faculty and student inventors, the public, and American industry have an enormous stake in the Court’s decision. The appeal pits university patent administrators against university inventors. If the administrators win, university inventors will have no invention rights—not in the work they do at the university, and not in the work they do in the community. This is a crucial juncture for every researcher who has ever or might someday work in federally funded research. Likewise, it presents a tipping point for innovative industry and anyone with a vested interest in American research.

Complaint Dismissed: Paul Allen’s Patent Trolling Complaint Against Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Others Hits Snag

If the remainder of her decision is any evidence as to what she was thinking, it seems pretty clear to me that if she were forced to have addressed that issue she would have said that as a result of Twombly and Iqbal the model patent infringement complaint no longer satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. She also found unpersuasive the argument that since Twombly and Iqbal are not patent infringement cases they offer no appropriate guidance or insight.

Article One Partners Launches Public Review of NTP Patents

Article One Partners announced yesterday that patents held by NTP Incorporated are the focus of three new requests for research, which Article One Partners refers to as Patent Studies. NTP was made famous for its litigation against BlackBerry maker Research-in-Motion (RIM) that resulted in a settlement north of $600 million. New litigation by NTP has expanded the assertion of patent infringement to other top players in the mobile and smartphone industry, which is prompting Article One Partners to engage their global community of researchers by challenging them to identify evidence predating the patents in question and which can be used to invalidate one or more of the patent claims owned by NTP.

US Supreme Court Accepts Microsoft Appeal in i4i Case

Earlier today the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Microsoft Corporation v. i4i Limited Partnership, with Chief Justice John Roberts taking no part in the decision or petition. This comes only days after the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant reexamination of the patent in question. Given Microsoft doesn’t even have strong enough prior art to provoke a reexamination by the USPTO it seems absurd to think they could have been victorious even if the district court reviewed the patent claims de novo and without any presumption.

Preparing for Future Litigation Before Your Patent Issues

This strategy is tried and true, and any company with a serious patent portfolio and an eye toward enforcing that portfolio through licensing or litigation has followed this strategy. What you do is look at what your competitors are doing, or what that big target prospective licensee is doing, and you write a claim that exactly covers what they are doing. Then you add that specific claim to your continuation. As long as your original disclosure supports that claim you are entitled to add the claim. So if you are a serious inventor, a would-be patent troll or a business of any size with designs on licensing or litigating, you absolutely cannot cut corners at the time of filing the first, foundational patent application. You want the kitchen sink in that first patent application because if the path proves commercially viable you will want to milk the disclosure for many patents, and you will want to be able to argue convincingly that whatever claims you add later are actually covered by your initial patent application.

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Others for Patent Infringement

On Friday, August 27, 2010, Interval Research Corporation brought a patent infringement lawsuit against a who’s who of tech companies in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, specifically suing AOL, Inc., Apple, Inc., eBay, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google Inc., Netflix, Inc., Office Depot, Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples, Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and YouTube, LLC.…

Google Briefly Punishes Oracle by Removal from Google Search

Late yesterday Oracle announced in an exceptionally brief and direct press release that it has filed a lawsuit against Google. But someone at Google didn’t find this amusing and seemingly tampered with Google’s search algorithm and database by eliminating Oracle altogether. This was brought to my attention earlier today and then confirmed at approximately 3:00pm Eastern Time. By approximately 6:00 pm Eastern Time things seemed back to normal with Google search, someone apparently getting wind that some intentionally harmful and malicious behavior was engaged in by someone somewhere.

News & Notes: Volume 1

It is great to know that settlement has been achieved, and incredibly newsworthy to learn that the victorious party was “pleased with the outcome.” But really, sometimes I do stumble across rather interesting press releases that are newsworthy. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to write about everything I would like to. So I thought I might start a News & Notes column that collects some interesting news items that could be of interest, but which probably don’t warrant detailed treatment or analysis. With that in mind… here goes…

Patent Trolls Just a Cost of Doing Business for Big Tech

As so many run to condemn patent trolls and would like to compromise the integrity and strength of all patent rights to combat what they perceive as bad actors, I wonder whether patent trolls are really a drag on the high-tech industry. Are patent trolls really costing the industry, or is the industry making much ado about nothing? One theory holds that the tech industry is treating the patent troll phenomenon as nothing more than a nuisance, and a nuisance that is not worth doing anything about. I have for a long time stated that there are obvious strategies that could be employed, but they are ignored in favor of doing nothing. But earlier today I heard an interesting twist. What if they simply don’t want to do anything and they view the patent troll matter as simply a cost of doing business?