Posts Tagged ‘Patent Infringement’

Unwired Planet LLC v. Apple Inc.

April 9th, 2017 Alexander No comments

This case, involving two huge tech companies, takes place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Unwired Planet is seeking $33 million in damages from Apple for infringement of its wireless, location and voice recognition patents. Unwired Planet asserts that the $33 million is equitable in light of the fact that Apple is seeking $400 from Samsung in a similar proceeding. On the other hand, Apple contends that the damages it was seeking in the Samsung case is irrelevant to the case at bar. Judge Chhabria granted Apple’s motion in limine, agreeing with Apple.

Judge Chhabria ordered Unwired Planet to reveal documents in its infringement case with Samsung and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Upon discovering this, Tracey B. Davies of Gibson Dunn, attorney for Apple, asserted that Unwired Planet’s witnesses were presenting figures “directly contrary” to information they offered during the case. In addition, Davies contended that Apple was not able to depose those involved in the case, thereby substantially prejudicing Apple. Although Judge Chhabria has not seen Apple’s sanction bid, his “preliminary reaction” is to reject it.

Furthermore, Judge Chhabria mentioned that he will not excuse jurors during jury selection just because they are Apple consumers.

For more information, see Law360.

Apple Hit With $22M Verdict In Acacia Patent Trial

September 18th, 2016 Alexander No comments

A jury recently found that Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads infringe a patent on wireless communication technology owned by Cellular Communications Equipment LLC, a subsidiary of major patent licensing firm Acacia Research Corp.  The jury ordered Apple to pay $22.1 million in damages.

That patent was originally issued to a Nokia Corp. engineer and then acquired by Cellular Communications Equipment. It covers technology for managing the resources used to send data over a communications network and increasing the efficiency of communicating.

Apple argued that it does not infringe and that the patents are invalid as obvious or because the applicant omitted inventors from the patent.

In addition to Apple, the suit named as defendants the mobile carriers that resell Apple devices and configure them to make them compatible with their networks: AT&T Mobility LLC, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Solutions Inc., Boost Mobile LLC and T-Mobile USA Inc.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell granted the carrier’s motion to sever the claims against them and stay them until completion of the trial against Apple, finding that the claims are peripheral to the claims against Apple.

The carriers can only be liable for patent infringement if Apple is found to infringe, but if Apple were found liable and ordered to pay damages, Cellular Communications Equipment cannot recover damages from the carriers because it is barred from receiving a double recovery for the same sales.

For more information, see Law360.

Dow Can’t Shake $456M Plant Patent Arbitration Loss

January 31st, 2016 Alexander No comments

U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson confirmed that Dow broke a license agreement over four patents for genetically modified cotton and soybean crop products, awarding Bayer Cropscience AG $455.5 million plus interest.

Bayer initially sued Dow in January 2012, contending that Dow violated its intellectual property by selling vectors used to make plants and seeds containing a genetic modification that inhibits the effects of the herbicide Bialaphos.

Dow claimed it never breached the agreement and that because the deal was not terminated correctly, it remained in effect.  Dow also claimed that because the four patents at issue were either invalid or not infringed, it did not require a license for them.

Dow had argued the arbitration was “fundamentally flawed,” saying it wrongly determined Bayer’s patents were valid, that Bayer properly closed out its agreement with Dow, that Dow infringed the patents and that Bayer should receive the award as compensation.

Bayer shot back in November that Dow was merely trying to use the district court venue as a way to take a second bite at the apple, fighting out the issues again.

Judge Jackson found no evidence to sustain Dow’s “very heavy burden” to vacate the award, and that Dow’s contention that it should be vacated on public policy grounds was also unpersuasive.

Judge Jackson said, “a motion to vacate an arbitration award is not an appropriate avenue to relitigate the entire case,” Judge Jackson wrote. “After reviewing the voluminous submissions of the parties and the extensive record in this case … the court finds absolutely zero basis to vacate the award.”

“Ultimately, the most pressing public policy concern at this point in this matter is the public policy in favor of the arbitration process,” Judge Jackson wrote. “The policy supporting fair, competent and judicially respected arbitration proceedings is about as strong and compelling a public policy that our federal courts embrace.”

“To vacate the award on this record would be fundamentally inapposite to our nation’s public policy,” he added.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

Alice Kills 3 MicroStrategy Data Storage Patents

August 1st, 2015 Alexander No comments

Three three data storage patents owned by MicroStrategy Inc. have been ruled invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling for claiming only abstract ideas. This was good news for accused infringer Apttus Corp., MicroStrategy’s rival in the business intelligence software industry.

MicroStrategy alleged that Apttus’ contract management software infringed three patents covering an intelligence server system, a method of providing business intelligence Web content and a system of remotely manipulating analytic reports.

Alice held that abstract ideas implemented using a computer are not patent-eligible. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. noted that recent high court rulings have put limits on what can be patented. As a result, patents like MicroStrategy’s, which were granted before those rulings were issued, are now doomed, since “many inventors drafted their patents for an age of patent law that no longer exists.”

“Patentees relied on a low bar when writing applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but since Bilski, Mayo and Alice, the rules have changed,” he said. “Unfortunately for the patentees, this results in ineligible patents.

Judge Gibney ruled that all three patents were directed at the abstract idea of report generation and data storage and do not include any elements that transform the idea into something patent-eligible.

With regard to one of the patents, which says it refers to data warehousing, the judge wrote that “this can mean nothing else but data storage, a concept that is absolutely an abstract idea.”

He rejected MicroStrategy’s arguments and claimed that doing something on a computer does not make it patent-eligible if it would not be eligible without a computer.

“Large amounts of data existed before the use of computers and the Internet,” he wrote. “The patent describes how individuals can gather information and identify trends within that data, just as people have done for many years.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

Fed. Circ. Affirms Attys’ $200K Sanction In Patent Case

July 18th, 2015 Alexander No comments

Two law partners were hit with a $200,000 sanction over their client’s deposition testimony in a patent infringement case against Citrix Inc.

In a one-line order, a three-judge panel affirmed the $200,000 in sanctions U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch ordered attorneys David Fink and Timothy Johnson pay Citrix in September. In his ruling, Judge Zloch held that the two law partners and their client, had acted “unreasonably and vexatiously” and multiplied the proceedings.

The issues boiled down to the client’s deposition testimony in 2002, which Citrix alleged Fink and Johnson, of Houston-based Fink & Johnson, knew was false and unnecessarily extended the proceedings. The sanctions award was a “reasonable approximation” of the money Citrix spent as a result of their conduct.

The client initially filed a lawsuit in 2002 accusing various Citrix products of infringing two of his patents.  When he was subsequently deposed, the client testified, that he couldn’t name a single Citrix product and authorized the filing of the lawsuit without knowing whether Citrix had actually infringed his patents.

Citrix said Fink later conceded that the client’s deposition testimony was false and that he had discussed Citrix and a prefiling investigation with the client before filing the complaint.

Citrix attorney Timothy Rousseau of Goodwin Procter LLP stated that if the testimony had been corrected immediately, as opposed to seven months later, the lawsuit would have been in a very different place. At least, he said, the company would have known that a prefiling investigation had been done.

Instead, he said Citrix pursued frivolous discovery and court motions to get to the bottom of a deposition from the client that seemingly offered no reason for the suit.

“This was all part of Citrix trying to find out why the suit was filed,” he said. “We were rebuffed by a false answer and had to pursue further proceedings.”

For more information, see Law360.

Judge Mistakenly Nixed Microsoft Patent Suit

May 18th, 2015 Alexander No comments

A Washington federal judge has revived part of an antivirus patent suit against Microsoft Corp. by Cap Co., a Korean company, admitting that she dismissed the entire case by mistake last month after only resolving some of the claims.

CAP Co. sued Microsoft last year, alleging that the Windows operating system infringes three patents for antivirus and firewall software. The complaint alleged that Microsoft directly infringed, contributorily infringed and induced its customers to infringe, as well as that the infringement was willful.

Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington granted CAP Co.’s motion for reconsideration after an order dismissing its entire infringement suit against Microsoft with prejudice.

While she granted Microsoft’s motion to dismiss CAP Co.’s indirect and willful infringement claims last month, her decision did not address the direct infringement claims in the complaint. Nevertheless, she then issued an order dismissing the case in its entirety.

She said that CAP Co. “correctly points out that the court mistakenly conflated their ‘willful infringement’ claim … with their ‘direct infringement claims.’”

Microsoft’s “motion to dismiss did not attack the sufficiency of the direct infringement claims and they should have been left intact by the court’s previous ruling,” the judge wrote.

She therefore withdrew her previous order dismissing the case but denied CAP Co.’s motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of the indirect and willful infringement claims.

In her decision last month, the judge wrote that CAP Co.’s complaint failed to meet the pleading standards for induced, contributory and willful infringement. Induced infringement requires a showing that Microsoft “specifically intended” their customers to infringe, but “there is no question” that the complaint didn’t do that, the judge said.

A complaint alleging contributory infringement must show that the accused product has no substantially noninfringing uses, and she said that saying that Windows has no use other than to infringe CAP Co.’s patents “borders on a frivolous allegation.”

Finally, she said that the willful infringement allegations failed because CAP Co. failed to show that Microsoft knew of the patents. She said she was dismissing the claims with prejudice because the plaintiff had an opportunity to address the deficiencies but failed to do so.

The decision did not mention the direct infringement claims, and CAP Co. argued in its motion for reconsideration that its complaint easily satisfies the pleading standard for direct infringement, which require little more than a statement that the plaintiff owns a patent and that the defendant infringes.

“As direct and willful infringement have entirely different pleading standards, CAP Co. requests the court to withdraw its judgment dismissing CAP Co.’s direct infringement claims,” the company wrote.

Microsoft filed a response conceding that the direct infringement claims should not have been dismissed, even though it said the other claims were properly dismissed.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

Apple Gets Partial Fed. Circ. Win In Sony-Nokia Patent Case

March 19th, 2015 Alexander No comments

The Federal Circuit recently cleared Apple Inc. of infringing three smartphone patents held by a company formed by Sony Corp. of America and Nokia Corp., but sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings on another patent.

In a complex, mixed ruling, the appeals court sided with Apple on some issues, while agreeing on other issues with plaintiff MobileMedia Ideas LLC, a patent licensing firm formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA LLC.

MobileMedia accused Apple’s iPhone of infringing four patents related to camera phone and phone call technology. The Federal Circuit reversed both of the district court’s findings that Apple infringed and affirmed that the third patent was invalid. However, it agreed with MobileMedia that the district court’s noninfringement finding on the fourth patent was based on an incorrect claim construction and vacated that ruling.

The Federal Circuit said that the district court wrongly found infringement of two patents. The two patents are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,427,078, which covers a notebook computer that includes a camera unit, and 6,070,068, which covers the display of call handling options like “hold” and “disconnect” on a mobile phone display.

With regard to the ’078 camera phone patent, the appeals court said that because the iPhone’s camera module has no internal memory for storing data, it does not infringe the patent, which describes a “means for processing and for storing” information.

“Although MobileMedia contends that the ‘main memory of the iPhone’ is the camera unit’s means for storing, this ‘main memory’ is not located within the iPhone camera module, which is what [the patent] requires,” the Federal Circuit wrote. “Therefore, we reverse the district court’s judgment that Apple infringes.”

With regard to the ’068 call handling patent, the appeals court held that it was invalid as obvious and reversed the finding that Apple infringed.

The two patents that the district court found Apple did not infringe are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,253,075, which covers a way of rejecting an incoming call when the user is already on a call, and RE 39,231, which covers a way of permitting a user to stop a ringtone for an incoming call without notifying the caller.

The Federal Circuit held that the lower court correctly found that the ’075 call rejection patent was obvious. However, it found that the judge misconstrued the claims of the ’231 ringtone patent.

For more information, see Law360.

Smartflash Hits Apple With Patent Infringement Suit Again

March 2nd, 2015 Alexander No comments

Smartflash LLC filed suit, once again alleging infringement of three patents that recently won them a $533M victory against Apple Inc., this time on newer products, and adding four additional patents related to the Apple Store Kit.

The company claims that Apple is indirectly infringing by inducing infringement by product assemblers, resellers, app developers and publishers, digital content publishers and end-user customers.

Smartflash says Apple induces the alleged infringement with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 — which can access the iTunes Store or any version of the App Store app — its internal servers involved in operating the iTunes Store, its App Store, and other servers involved in the payment function of the iTunes Store, App Store or content via iCloud, as well as servers involved in Apple’s iAd Network.

“This lawsuit is intended to make sure that those products are adequately accounted for,” Cassady, an attorney for Smartflash, said.

“Apple has known these components to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of the patents-in-suit and that these components are not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial non-infringing use,” the complaint says. “Alternatively, Apple believed there was a high probability that others would infringe the patents-in-suit but remained willfully blind to the infringing nature of others’ actions.”

When Smartflash sued Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. in May 2013, accusing them of infringing six anti-piracy patents, the tech companies argued that the patents were invalid as abstract under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice standard on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. They had argued the patents, which describe a system to pay for and download digital content, simply described paying for something to gain access to it, a “building block” of the modern economy.

However, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap adopted the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell, who found that the patents cleared the Alice hurdlw because although controlling access to data based on payment was abstract, the claims had meaningful limitations that transformed the idea into something patentable.

The patents addressed a problem created by the Internet: how to protect copyrighted material from being copied without permission, while still letting allowed users to access it quickly and permanently.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box To Pay $5M For Infringing Open Text Patents

February 23rd, 2015 Alexander No comments

A federal jury recently returned a nearly $5 million verdict against Box Inc. and its co-defendants in a suit that alleged it sold editing software that infringes Open Text SA’s file synchronization patents.

The jury found for Open Text, concluding that Box directly infringed three patents, that it contributed to infringement and induced infringement of three patents.

Furthermore, the jury found Box’s co-defendant, Carahsoft Technology Corp., contributed to and induced infringement. The jury concluded that the defendants hadn’t proven the claims at issue in the patents were anticipated by earlier technology.

In the trial, Open Text accused Box of infringing three patents, all of which relate to file synchronization. Open Text was forced to go to trial without damages expert Krista Holt’s testimony on royalty rates after U.S. District Judge James Donato found that her conclusions lacked quantifiable support and amounted to “‘I like it, I like it not’ petal-plucking.”

The defendants must pay $4.9 million in a lump sum to cover damages for past and future use of the technology covered by the patents, although the plaintiffs had sought much more.

Open Text told the jury Box should pay up to $11 million in royalties for selling editing software that infringes on the patents. Open Text said Box Edit software had some 37 million users, and that Open Text was asking for lump-sum royalty on just a fraction of that.

Box contended that Open Text hadn’t used the patents because it knew they were invalid, and that the patent office hadn’t seen some key portions of other programs that would have shown prior art.

For more information, see Law360.