Posts Tagged ‘patent protection’

FedEx Nabs Inter Partes Review Of Shipment-Tracking Patent

December 11th, 2014 Alexander No comments

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent board recently opted to institute inter partes review of a shipment-tracking patent held by licensing company IpVenture Inc., finding that FedEx Corp. has a decent chance of showing that IpVenture’s claims are either obvious or anticipated.

The USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board panel ruled that FedEx had a shown a “reasonable likelihood” of establishing that all 30 claims in IpVenture’s tracking patent would be anticipated or obvious in light of prior art. The panel therefore instituted inter partes review of the tracking patent.

FedEx filed for inter partes review of the tracking patent in May, arguing that a 2002 patent application publication that disclosed a system for tracking packages had anticipated 16 claims of IpVenture’s patent. The rest of the claims were obvious in light of a combination of the 2002 application and two patents issued in 2005 and 2007, FedEx argued.

In response, California-based patent licensor IpVenture claimed that FedEx’s petition hadn’t given the correct claim construction and had failed to show that the two cited patents were actually prior art.

But the panel said  that IpVenture hadn’t explained how any of FedEx’s arguments are incorrect due to “allegedly faulty claim constructions” and hadn’t pointed to any claim limitations that aren’t disclosed in the 2002 application publication.

The panel also found that the two cited patents qualified as prior art for the purpose of figuring out whether to institute a trial after noting it believed the correct priority date for the challenge claims wasn’t earlier than March 26, 2003.

A FedEx spokesman stated that the company welcomes the PTAB’s decision as it believes it bolsters its case.

“We believe the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to institute review of IpVenture’s patent supports FedEx’s position that there is no merit to the allegations in the related patent litigation,” the spokesman said.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

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.

The future of IP in the land of Piracy

July 9th, 2010 Alexander No comments

Shifting gears from news of China’s domestic growth, I would like to comment about another trend in the Greater China region: The rise of IP in the land of piracy.

Ownership of patents demonstrates the might of corporations and symbolizes the extension of national power. Yesterday, Chi Mei Innolux launched simultaneous lawsuits against Sony in China and the U.S.

Chi Mei Innolux and Sony’s patent lawsuits against each started when Sony first launched their attack against Chi Mei earlier this year. Chi Mei was unwilling to take a passive stance and counterattacked Sony. Anyone knowledgeable about patent infringement knows that Chi Mei’s tactic forces Sony to settle for a cross-licensing result.

The lawsuit signifies the OEM LCD panel industry’s evolution from simple assemblers to establishments of IP.  Recently, LG Display (LGD) of Korea sued AUO of Taiwan for patent infringement. AUO counter sued LGD and prevailed against LGD.  This precedential victory vindicates Taiwan’s OEM LCD panel industry from its historically lax attitude towards IP.

I have been in the IP business long enough to warn those who still believe IP is meaningless in Asia or that Asian corporations do not care about IP that things are rapidly changing.  The rise of IP in Asia, as I have personal experienced, and increasing numbers of Asian companies seeking IP protection will play a huge part in the redistribution of global economic power.