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Posts Tagged ‘GPNE’

Boston IP Firm Wants GPNE’s $100M Malpractice Suit Dismissed

November 11th, 2015 Alexander No comments

Occhiuti & Rohlicek LLP urged a Massachusetts federal court to dismiss a $100 million malpractice suit brought by GPNE Corp. over a lapsed Japanese data communications patent, arguing the complaint fails to make specific claims or include an English translation of the patent.

The firm said the suit fails by including a copy of GPNE’s allegedly abandoned and infringed high-speed data transmission patent only in Japanese, which leaves Occhiuti unable to even answer the complaint properly; and by failing to make any allegations that are subject to relief.

GPNE’s complaint includes no specific claims of what has been infringed due to the firm’s alleged failure to ensure the payment of Japanese patent fees and of how GPNE has been specifically damaged, Occhiuti explained.

“In a legal malpractice case, a plaintiff must prove a breach of duty, causation and damages, [and] because GPNE is claiming that it lost the right to bring infringement litigation, it must establish the causation and damage elements through a ‘trial within a trial’ in a malpractice case,” Occhiuti said in its dismissal motion. “This requires it to prove actual infringement and damages resulting from the infringement, and it allows O&R to defend on the grounds of lack of infringement and invalidity of the claims.”

GPNE alleges that Occhiuti is to blame for allowing the company’s data transmission patent to go abandoned by telling GPNE to not pay the renewal fee to the Japanese Patent Office. As a result, the company has lost out on 200 claimed inventions and 5 percent royalty fees from Japanese sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, which purportedly infringe the patent.

Occhiuti said that GPNE’s claim of negligence, malpractice and $100 million in damages “is not plausible on its face,” because there is no indication that the company took any steps to enforce its patent when iPhone, iPads and LTE technology “generally were developed.”

“It stretches credulity for GPNE to contend that now the patent has lapsed, every iPhone and iPad in Japan infringe[s] its claims,” Occhiuti said. “Here there is no factual support for these allegations.”

For more information, see Law360.



Apple Triumphs in GPNE’s $94M Patent Trial

November 8th, 2014 Alexander No comments

Apple Inc. triumphed in GPNE Corp.’s $94 million patent trial when a California federal jury unanimously found that Apple’s iPhones and iPads did not infringe two data-communications patents. On the down side, Apple failed to convince jurors that those patents are invalid.

The jury, comprised of seven women and one man, reached its verdict in the two-week trial after less than a day of deliberations. Their only question was whether a decision on a patent’s validity or invalidity would “apply only to Apple, or to the patent in general.”

Apple championed the verdict in a statement slamming GPNE as a “patent troll.”

“We are pleased the jury in California saw through GPNE’s attempt to extort money from Apple for 20 year old pager patents that have expired, wasting time for everyone involved,” Apple said. “GPNE is a patent troll with no active business other than patent litigation. They have sent more than 300 demand letters in the past year to everyone from truckers and farmers to roofers and dairies threatening costly legal entanglements if these small businesses didn’t pay them off — this isn’t right.”

GPNE’s attorney was disappointed in the jury’s decision, but is not giving up hope. “It was a hard fought trial with a tough claim construction in a case in which our firm was hired a few months ago. We strongly believe the judge will address the underlying legal issues in post-verdict motions,” he said.

At the start of the trial, GPNE’s attorney said Apple’s mobile devices infringe inventions that date back to 1993 but were updated in GPNE’s Patents that were assigned in 2010 and 2009. Both describe how a mobile device can “reserve” space to send out a message on a cellular network.

“These are very valuable patents that enable people who use iPhones and iPads to communicate and transmit lots of data,” GPNE’s attorney said said. “But Apple isn’t paying for it … Apple’s use of GPNE’s property without permission is why we’re here.”

In a previous blog post, we mentioned how GPNE is a Honolulu, Hawaii-based company and was born out of two other companies, first Pioneer Tech Development Ltd. and later Digicomm Ltd. GPNE chairman invented the technology described in the patents in the early 1990s while trying to come up with a reliable way to communicate between mobile devices in Hawaii, where cell reception was poor and mountains often got in the way.

The invention allowed devices to maximize their use of the airwaves while seamlessly transmitting data, which could minimize both the need for more infrastructure and the costs associated with that infrastructure, she said. But recently, GPNE discovered that a number of mobile companies, including Apple, were using its technology. Other companies such as Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola have licensed GPNE’s patents.

GPNE’s damages expert, studied GPNE’s licensing agreements with other mobile-phone makers, including Samsung and HTC, and learned those companies had paid royalties of roughly $1 per phone to license the company’s patents. Apple sold nearly 94 million allegedly infringing iPhones and iPads, leading GPNE to conclude that Apple should pay $94 million in damages.

Apple’s attorney argued that its iPhones and iPads don’t infringe GPNE’s patents because the inventions only cover mobile communications from pagers, which are named specifically in both patents. Two-way paging systems function differently from cellphone systems, providing more powerful signals that can reach places mobile phones can’t, such as basements and elevators.

While Apple’s attorney was stymied at trial by Judge Lucy Koh for calling GPNE a “patent troll” he found other ways to describe the company to the jury.

“It’s a company that doesn’t make anything. It’s a company that doesn’t sell anything,” he said, noting that GPNE sent roughly 300 letters to a variety of companies, threatening to sue for patent infringement if the targets didn’t license GPNE’s patents. “That’s legal. What are they interested in? Are they just trying to get money?”

For more information, see Law360.



GPNE Seeks $94M In Damages From Apple

October 23rd, 2014 Alexander No comments

Apple Inc. bashed GPNE Corp.’s $94 million damages demand as “extreme” and “unreasonable” during closing arguments in GPNE’s trial accusing Apple of selling almost 94 million iPhones and iPads that infringe two data-communications patents. Apple went on to tell the jury that Apple did not infringe any of GPNE’s patents and it should not pay anything.

The patents in question describe how a mobile device can “reserve” space to send out a message on a cellular network. GPNE invented the technology described in the patents in the early 1990s while trying to come up with a reliable way to communicate between mobile devices in Hawaii, where cell reception was poor and mountains often got in the way.

“Apple respects patents, and it respects innovation. It will not capitulate to a company that’s stretching its patents. It’s not right, and it’s not fair,” Apple’s attorney argued.

Apple’s attorney further stated that other companies that licensed GPNE’s patents paid a fraction of what the company says Apple owes for allegedly infringing its patents. Those companies that took licenses did so because GPNE had threatened them with “costly legal entanglements” if they refused.

GPNE’s damages expert testified that he had studied some of GPNE’s licenses with other companies that make and sell mobile devices, including Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp., and determined that they had paid a license of approximately $1 per device.

Much of Apple’s defense in the trial has focused on the fact that GPNE’s patents described pagers, not the smartphones and tablets accused in the lawsuit. GPNE’s attorneys contend that the mentions of pagers in the patents are meant only as an example of a mobile device that sends and receives data.

“Would we have had a trial over the past two or three weeks if it were as simple as whether or not this is about a pager?” GPNE’s attorney argued. “Our patent expert showed how Apple’s devices contain each and every element of each and every asserted claim.”

For more information, see Law360.