Request to Join Summary Judgment Motion Based on Alice Four Weeks Before Trial Denied as Untimely

December 17, 2014

Four weeks prior to trial, defendant Cerner Corporation ("Cerner") filed a motion to join a summary judgment motion filed by a defendant in a related case involving the same patents. In the summary judgment motion in the related case involving Allscripts, Allscripts argued that the plaintiff's (RLIS) patents claim ineligible subject matter under section 101 of the Patent Act.

The motion in the related case was filed in May 2014 and gained strength after the Supreme Court's decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int.'l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014). Yet, Cerner did nothing. As explained by the district court, "[i]n fact, the Court held a lengthy motions hearing on October 1, 2014. Many of the numerous motions argued that day were joined by both Cerner and Allscripts. Rather than asking to join Allscripts' section 101 motion, Cerner made a tactical decision to sit on the sideline while Allscripts argued the Alice issue to the Court."

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Dismissal Based on Petitioner's Prior DJ Action Cannot Be Waived

December 16, 2014

In a covered business method review filed by petitioner GTNX, Inc., the petitioner sought review of four patents owned by patent owner INTTRA, Inc. The PTAB instituted trial on all four patents following the patent owner's preliminary response. Notably, in its preliminary response the patent owner did not raise that the reviews were barred under 35 U.S.C. § 325(a)(1) based on petitioner's prior invalidity challenge of the patents in a declaratory judgment action before a United States District Court. After the parties briefed the issue to the Board, the Board vacated its Decisions on Institution and terminated the CBMs based on the petitioner's prior declaratory judgment action.

In its precedential SecureBuy decision, the Board noted that "§ 18 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Pub. L. No. 112-29, 125 Stat. 284, 329-31 (2011) ("AIA") "provides that covered business method patent review proceedings shall employ all the statutory standards and procedures of a post-grant review (i.e., 35 U.S.C. §§ 321-29), except for those expressly excluded." 35 U.S.C. § 325(a)(1), which is not expressly excluded by § 18 of the AIA, states:

(1) POST-GRANT REVIEW BARRED BY CIVIL ACTION.--A post-grant review may not be instituted under this chapter if, before the date on which the petition for such a review is filed, the petitioner or real party in interest filed a civil action challenging the validity of a claim of the patent.

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With Motion for Summary Judgment Pending Against It, Plaintiff Requests District Court to Order Parties to Mediation and District Court Grants Summary Judgment Motion Instead

December 15, 2014

Princeton Digital Image Corp. ("Princeton Digital") filed a patent infringement action against Hewlett-Packard and Hewlett Packard filed a summary judgment motion. With the summary judgment motion pending, Princeton Digital filed a letter with the district court requesting that the district court order a mediation between the parties pursuant to Local Civil Rule 83.9.

The district court also received a letter from Hewlett-Packard opposing Princeton Digital's mediation request, arguing that their outstanding motion for summary judgment should be determined first.

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Oral Assignment Ineffective to Convey Patent Rights and Subsequent Assignment too Late to Save Complaint from Dismissal with Prejudice for Lack of Standing

December 10, 2014

The plaintiff, Freed Designs, Inc. ("Freed Designs"), filed a patent infringement action defendant Sig Sauer. Robert Freed is the sole inventor of the '764 Patent, titled "Grip Extender For Hand Gun." Freed is also the sole owner and President of Plaintiff Freed Designs. Plaintiff alleged that Sig Sauer makes, sells, and offers to sell magazine extenders that infringe the '764 Patent. Sig Sauer answered the complaint and raised an affirmative defense of lack of standing. Sig Sauer then moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing.

After the action was filed, Freed executed an "Assignment of the Invention and Patent Application" transferring to Free Designs his "entire right, title, and interest in and to" the '764 Patent. A few months later, Freed executed another assignment titled "Assignment of Rights, Title and Interest in Invention." This second assignment was styled as a nunc pro tunc assignment, purporting to have an effective date of August 16, 2005 (the issue date of the '764 Patent).

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Daubert Motion Denied Where Defendant Had "Salubrious Fodder" for Cross-Examination If Plaintiff's Expert Used Wrong Source Code

December 8, 2014

Defendant Adobe Systems ("Adobe") filed a Daubert motion seeking to limit the testimony of plaintiff EveryScapes' expert, Dr. Maja Bystrom ("Dr. Bystrom"), for three reasons.

First, Adobe sought to exclude the testimony that the Mok3 Perspective Clone Brush practiced claims of EveryScape's patent, partly because Dr. Bystrom allegedly relied on the wrong source code in reaching her opinions about Mok3. As explained by the district court, "[t]he admission of expert testimony, as the parties are well aware, is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Newell Puerto Rico, Ltd. v. Rubbermaid, Inc., 20 F.3d 15, 20 (1st Cir. 1994). "[C]ourts must be cautious - except when defects are obvious on the face of a proffer - not to exclude debatable scientific evidence without affording the proponent... adequate opportunity to defend its admissibility." Cortes-Irizarry v. Corporacion Insular de Seguros, 111 F.3d 184, 188 (1st Cir. 1997)."

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Plaintiffs' Motion for Protective Order Denied But Cautions Defendant That Sanctions Will Be Awarded If Defendant Fails to Convince the Court That a Protective Order Should Not Be Entered

December 3, 2014

In this patent infringement action, Plaintiffs' filed a motion for a standard protective order to prevent the defendant from sharing confidential information. The district court denied the motion because the motion was not in the form of a joint stipulated as required by the local rules.

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PTAB Refuses to Vacate Holding that Patent Claims are Invalid Despite Petitioner's "Abandonment" of the CBM

December 2, 2014

In an IPR petition filed by petitioner Salesforce.com, the petitioner sought review of patent owner, VirtualAgility, Inc.'s U.S. Patent No. 8,095,413. The PTAB instituted trial on November 19, 2013, the Patent Owner filed its Patent Owner Response on January 28, 2014, the Petitioner then filed its Reply on April 11, 2014, oral argument was held on July 14, 2014, and a Final Written Decision was rendered on September 16, 2014. In the Final Written Decision, the Boart held that Petitioner has proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that claims 1-21 of the '413 patent are unpatentable.

As a result, on November 18, 2014, the Patent Owner filed a Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. At the same time, the parties filed a Joint Motion to File Settlement Agreement as Confidential Business Information. Subsequently, on November 21, 2014, the Patent Owner requested authorization to file a motion to vacate the Final Written Decision and to terminate the proceeding after the Final Written Decision was vacated. After hearing from the Patent Owner, the Board denied its request.

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Premature Motion to Stay Pending Inter Partes Review Denied Where Patent Trial and Appeal Board Had Not Yet Granted the Petition for Review

December 1, 2014

Reflectix, Inc., Innovative Insulation, Inc., TVM Building Products, Inc., Energy Efficient Solutions, LLC, and Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.'s (collectively, "Defendants") filed a motion to stay pending and Inter Partes Review ("IPR") that was filed with the Patent Trials and Appeals Board ("PTAB"). The plaintiff opposed the motion to stay on the grounds that the IPR had not yet been granted for review by the PTAB.

In analyzing the motion to say, the district court noted that "it has the inherent power to control its own docket, including the power to stay proceedings. See Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997) ('The District Court has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to control its own docket.'). How to best manage the court's docket 'calls for the exercise of judgment, which must weigh competing interests and maintain an even balance.' Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55 (1936)."

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Motion to Strike "Errata Sheets" to Deposition Testimony Granted Where Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses Changed Answers from "No" to "Yes"

November 26, 2014

In this patent infringement action, the defendant filed a motion to strike the "errata sheets" to deposition testimony of two of plaintiffs' expert witnesses, Neill Luebke and Robert Sinclair. The plaintiff opposed the motion to strike.

As explained by the district court, "[t]here is an old joke that only lawyers and house painters can change black to white, and vise versa. In a sense, that is the situation this motion presents. Defendant complains that the plaintiffs' witnesses Luebke and Sinclair submitted errata sheets regarding their respective depositions which starkly changed the substance of their testimonies. For example, in several instances, Sinclair changed his deposition answer from 'no' to 'yes.' In other places, a somewhat tenuous answer of, 'I believe not,' was changed to a dogmatic and emphatic 'yes.' Similarly, Luebke changed, 'I don't believe so,' to 'yes,' and 'At the present time, I have not,' to 'Yes.' And there are other examples."

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PTAB: Patent Owner / Inventor Cannot Proceed Pro Se

November 25, 2014

In an IPR petition filed by petitioner Shire Development LLC, the petitioner sought review of patent owner, LCS Group, LLC's U.S. Patent No. 8,318,813. In its mandatory statement, the patent owner timely designated outside counsel to represent it in the IPR proceeding. Subsequently, the designated counsel for the patent owner sought authorization to withdraw from representation. According to the patent owner's counsel, the inventor desired to represent himself in the proceeding.

The Board denied the request of the patent owner's counsel on the grounds that the patent-at-issue is assigned to a juristic entity, i.e., a legal entity that is not a natural person, LCS Group, LLC, which also is designated as the real party-in-interest. Under 37 C.F.R. § 1.31 (2012), because the real party-in-interest in this proceeding is a corporation, a juristic entity, it can only appear through counsel.

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District Court Declines to Award Supplemental Damages for Pre-Verdict Damages Even Though Defendant Did Not Produce All of Its Financial Documents

November 24, 2014

After a jury trial in which TransPerfect was awarded damages, TransPerfect moved for an award of supplemental damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284 on the theory that the jury did not award it damages for infringement that occurred after December 31, 2011. TransPerfect contended that the jury's damage award of $1,006,002 failed to account for its post-2011 damages because the defendant, MotionPoint, failed to produce any financial records later than 2011.

TransPerfect contended that the parties' experts were therefore unable to examine any post-2011 financial information and the jury could not have included these damages in its verdict.

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PTAB Gives Guidance Regarding What Constitutes A Printed Publication

November 21, 2014

In an IPR petition filed by petitioner C&D Zodiac, Inc., the petitioner sought review of patent owner, B/E Aerospace, Inc.'s U.S. Patent No. 8,590,838, directed to space-saving aircraft enclosures, including lavatories, closets, and galleys. The petition challenged the validity of claims under Section 102 and 103 based on, among other things, a publication entitled McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Customer Configuration Summary (Oct. 1978) referred to as an "Orange Book," presumably because of its orange cover.

The Board granted the petition based on multiple grounds, including the obviousness of the claims in view of a prior art patent to Betts and the Orange Book. Critical to the Board's holding was its determination that the Orange Book satisfied the printed publication requirement for prior art purposes.

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Daubert Challenge to Damage Expert Denied Where Contested Matters Were for Cross-Examination and Not Proper for Exclusion

November 19, 2014

In this patent infringement action, Apple challenged the opinions of the plaintiff's damage expert on several bases, including the determination of a royalty rate based on the price of third-party applications.

First, Apple contended that the expert's, Mr. Bratic's, "analysis is deficient and unreliable because MTEL's technical expert categorically stated that he never evaluated any third party apps." The district court rejected this challenge as the technical expert, Dr. Nettleton, asserted that he did, in fact, have conversations with Mr. Bratic over the course of "two, possibly three, phone calls in fact." The district court also stated that "Apple's complaint that Mr. Bratic is merely 'parroting conclusions' also fails, as even Apple acknowledges that Mr. Bratic 'must ... rely on a technical expert to support his opinion concerning the functionality of the selected third-party apps' since he is not himself a technical expert." Although the district court was sensitive to the "credibility concerns" raised by Apple, it stated that cross-examination was "the ideal vehicle with which to address such concerns."

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Motion to Reconsider Claim Construction Order on Indefiniteness after Nautilus Denied Where District Court Found Term Definite

November 17, 2014

Defendant Stealth Cam, LLC ("Stealth Cam") requested that the district court reconsider its Claim Construction Order holding that the term "extending parallel" was not indefinite.

The district court first noted that under the local rules a party must show "compelling circumstances" to obtain permission to file a motion to reconsider, D. Minn. L.R. 7.1(j), and that a motion to reconsider should not be employed to relitigate old issues, but rather to "afford an opportunity for relief in extraordinary circumstances." Dale & Selby Superette & Deli v. U.S. Dept. of Agric., 838 F. Supp. 1346, 1348 (D. Minn. 1993).

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Motorola: Inventor's Ex-Spouse's Co-Owns the Patent-in-Suit

November 13, 2014

In the matter pending in the Western District of Texas, Katrinecz, et al. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, Motorola moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In its complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that Motorola infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,284,872 entitled "Low power, low cost illuminated keyboards and keypads." The '872 patent lists Plaintiffs Katrinecz and Byrd as the inventors. In April 1997, the plaintiffs conceived of a keyboard invention and during the summer of 1997 they developed prototypes. In October 1997, they engaged attorneys and filed their first patent application for the invention on August 26, 1998.

During this time, on August 11, 1998, Katrinecz and his spouse executed a Marital Settlement Agreement dissolving their nine-year marriage. The Florida State court rendered a Final Judgment Dissolving Marriage on September 17, 1998. Motorola contended that the invention of the '872 patent was developed during the marriage and thus should be considered personal property subject to equitable distribution upon dissolution of the marriage. Motorola further asserted that "when a marital settlement agreement fails to address personal property, that property is co-owned by both spouses by operation of law upon entry of final judgment dissolving the marriage." Consequently, because the Agreement did not expressly address the disposition of the rights to the invention, Motorola argued that the rights became co-owned by the inventor and his ex-spouse upon entry of the final judgment on September 17, 1998. Because the ex-spouse co-owned the patent when it issued and because she was not a party to the action, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and must dismiss the case.

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