October 2011 Archives

Defendants Proximity to Delaware Leads to Transfer Out of the Eastern District of Texas

October 31, 2011

Plaintiff filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a number of defendants in the Eastern District of Texas. Defendants moved to transfer the case to either the Central District of California or the District of Delaware.

Plaintiff maintains its principal place of business in Connecticut and is incorporated in Delaware. The defendants are incorporated in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and Germany and maintain their principal place of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, California, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. None of the defendants have any facilities within Texas. Plaintiff identified a number of independent care facilities that operate the accused product within the Eastern District of Texas. Plaintiff also obtained declarations from five medical professionals within the Eastern District's subpoena power who specialize in the use of the accused products.

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Continuing Infringement Justifies Award of Supplemental Damages

October 28, 2011

ActiveVideo filed a patent infringement action against several Verizon entities asserting that Verizon infringed certain of ActiveVideo's patents. After a three week jury trial, the jury found that Verizon infringed asserted claims of four of the patents and awarded ActiveVideo $115,000,000 in damages. After the verdict, ActiveVideo sought an award of prejudgment infringement, post-judgment interest and post-discovery damages for the continuing infringement. Verizon opposed the motion.

In addressing the issue of damages for continuing infringement, the district court stated that "[w]here a patent infringer is found to have infringed one or more patents, the 'patentee is entitled to damages for the entire period of infringement and should therefore be awarded supplemental damages for any period of infringement not covered by the jury verdict'" (citations omitted). ActiveVideo asserted that it was entitled to an award of supplemental damages because the discovery provided by Verizon only accounted for information through March 2011 and did not address the period from April 2011 to August 2011 when the jury returned its verdict. Verizon opposed the motion by contending that ActiveVideo waived any entitled to the supplemental damages because it failed to request them in the amended complaint or in the final pre-trial conference order.

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Bounced Check Almost Leads to the Abandonment of a Patent

October 26, 2011


The United States District Court for the District of Delaware recently ruled on the issue of whether a bounced check for the issuance of a patent could constitute abandonment of the patent. In this patent infringement action, defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as a result of the bounced check. The district court denied the motion.

It was undisputed that during the prosecution of the patent, that the applicants original check to cover the issue fee bounced, which led to the patent office notifying the applicants of the payment deficiency and seeking withdrawal of the patent from issuance. As a result, defendants contended that the patent was abandoned under 35 U.S.C. § 151 for failure to timely pay the required issue fee. Plaintiff's contended that the bounced check was properly resolved with the USPTO and that the Patent Office never officially withdrew the patent from issuance. Plaintiffs also noted that the Patent Office accepted payment of all required maintenance fees for several years.

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Sanctions Awarded Against Teva Pharmaceuticals for Continuing to Press Inequitable Conduct Defense and Counterclaim After Therasense

October 24, 2011

Pfizer filed a patent infringement action against Teva Pharmaceuticals ("Teva") over a patent that claims the use of certain chemical compounds claimed as a method to treat erectile dysfunction. During the case, Teva filed a motion to amend its answer and counterclaims to alleged a defense and counterclaim for inequitable conduct. The district court granted the motion, but noted that it was a close case.

Several months later, Teva moved to amend its answer and counterclaim to change its allegations supporting the inequitable conduct claim. The district court denied the requested amendment on the ground of prejudice and futility because the amendment was late and would prejudice Pfizer and the individuals named in the proposed amendment and because the amendment failed to make any plausible showing of but-for materiality.

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The Battle Over Android Continues: Google Succeeds in Striking Part of Oracle's Expert Report

October 19, 2011

In August 2011, Google filed a motion to strike portions of the opening and reply expert reports of Oracle's expert on patent infringement. Google argued that much of the report was not supported by Oracle's infringement contentions as required by the Northern District of California's local patent rules. The district court noted that Patent Local 3-1 "requires detailed disclosure of a party's patent infringement contentions. "Although Oracle supplemented its disclosures on two occasions after Google raised objections, Oracle declined to supplement a third time despite Google's contention that they were still inadequate. Oracle was also warned that if the disclosures later proved to be inadequate to support its infringement theories, there would be no chance to cure the defects.

As part of Patent Local 3-1, Oracle was required in its infringement contentions to include a chart that identified where each limitation of each asserted claim is found within each accused product. Google asserted that two of the functions, vfork() and clone() were not identified in the claim charts, but that Oracle's expert relied on them to satisfy certain of the claim limitations in the patents-in-suit. The district court agreed with Google on the limitation for the "process cloning mechanism": "Oracle's operative infringement contentions did not identify the vfork() or clone () functions as satisfying the 'process cloning mechanism' limitation of Claim 6. This is not disputed. Oracle therefore may not now rely on those functions as satisfying that claim limitation."

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Failure to Offer Evidence of Acceptable Non-Infringing Alternatives in Summary Judgment Precludes Later Offer at Trial

October 19, 2011

Plaintiff filed a patent infringement action and subsequently filed a partial motion for summary judgment. In the partial motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff contended that there were no acceptable and available, non-infringing alternatives to the claimed inventions during the relevant damage period. The district court granted the motion.

Prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a motion in limine to preclude the defendant from introducing at trial evidence or argument that tubal ligation was an acceptable non-infringing alternative during the damages period. With one caveat, the district court granted the motion.

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Google's Proxy War with Apple Continues as Google Backs HTC

October 17, 2011

In the International Trade Commission ("ITC") proceeding between Apple and HTC, Google (as well as T-Mobile) have filed briefs supporting HTC. These "friends of the court" briefs are often filed to aid the decisionmaker (in this case the ITC) in reaching a conclusion that is not only helpful to the party in the dispute but also is helpful to the party filing the brief. Google's filing is no different and is obviously made to protect its Android system and platform.

The position taken by Google and T-Mobile is that the public interest will be harmed if Apple is successful in its lawsuit before the ITC as Apple would be able to prevent HTC from selling phones that compete with Apple's iPhone. Such an injunction, Google argues, would also result in negative impacts to United States' consumers, such as potential higher prices and a lack of choice in the phones and features that consumers will ultimately have available for purchase.

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Doubling of Ongoing Royalty Rate Justified by Taiwan Company's CEO's Comments to the Press

October 12, 2011

Plaintiff Mondis Technology LTD. ("Mondis") filed a patent infringement action against Chimei Innolux Corp. ("Chimei"). The case proceeded to trial before a jury and the jury found a number of claims valid and infringed by Chimei. The jury also found several claims invalid and not infringed by Chimei. With respect to three of the patents, the jury found that the infringement was willful and awarded damages in the amount of $15 million. The district court then determined whether ongoing royalties and supplemental damages for 2011 sales should be awarded.

The district court began by noting that the jury did not have all of the sales data for the first and second quarters when it rendered its damage award. Because a patentee is entitled to damages for the entire period of infringement, the district court determined that Mondis was entitled to an award of supplementary damages. After determining the appropriate amount of sales, including non-U.S. sales that eventually wind up in the United State, the district court applied the royalty rate determined by the jury (which was .5% for monitors and .75% for televisions) and awarded an additional $1.97 million in supplementary damages.

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Inducing Infringement Claims Dismissed Where Plaintiff Failed to Allege Intentional Inducement

October 12, 2011

Plaintiff sued defendant for patent infringement for direct and indirect infringement for the commercial sale and/or use of the defendant's asset tracking solutions product. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the ground that plaintiff failed to identify an infringing instrumentality and also failed to allege facts of indirect infringement.

Defendant's first argument, that plaintiff failed to identify the instrumentality accused of infringement, was disregarded by the district court. The district court found that plaintiff had identified the accused instrumentality by naming the Asset Tracking Solutions product. The defendant's argument that it did not sell or make such a product was a factual dispute that could not be resolved on a motion to dismiss. The district court also found that plaintiff's allegations complied with Form 18 and therefore this part of the motion of the motion to dismiss was denied.

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Apple and Samsung Preliminary Injunction Battle Heats Up As Court Rules on Discovery Dispute

October 10, 2011

The ongoing patent battles between Apple and Samsung continue to pick up speed and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. During the summer, Apple filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on certain of its patents and the district court ordered limited initial discovery for the topics raised by the preliminary injunction motion. The hearing on the motion is set for October 13, 2011.

As part of the discovery, Apple sought documents pertaining to the comparison of any Apple product or feature, the redesign of the Galaxy Tab following the release of the iPad 2, consumer surveys regarding the products at issue, marketing and consumer confusion. Apple also sought a deposition of Samsung pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) on the same topics as the documents requested. Samsung resisted discovery on certain of these issues and Apple moved to compel.

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Patent Exhaustion Leads to Dismissal of Video Compression Patents Alleged Against Certain DirecTV Products

October 7, 2011

Multimedia Patent Trust ("MPT") filed a patent infringement action against several defendants, including DirecTV and Vizio, which alleged infringement of multiple patents related to video compression technology. DirecTV and Vizio answered the complaint an alleged affirmative defenses of patent exhaustion and license.

The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion and license. DirecTV contended that its licensed suppliers made authorized sales pursuant to a 2002 license and a 2009 license and that these authorized sales exhausted MPT's patent rights . MPT argued that even though DirecTV's manufacturers are licensed, the manufacturers' sales of certain products exceeded the scope of the license. In response, DirecTV argued that patent exhaustion applied because DirecTV's licensed suppliers' sales to DirecTV were authorized sales, and authorized sales exhaust a patentee's rights to sue others who subsequently use or sell the same article that allegedly infringes the patents.

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Methods Claims for E-Mail Processing Survive a Challenge to Patentability Under Bilski

October 5, 2011


Plaintiff, Innova Patent Licensing, LLC ("Innova") filed a patent infringement action against Alcatel-Lucent Holdings ("Alcatel") for a patent claiming methods for using a mail processing program to scan electronic messages to obtain additional information. Alcatel challenged the patent on the ground that it did not claim eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and moved to dismiss.

The court stated that "[u]nder the patent laws, certain broad categories of subject matter are eligible for patent protection," and cited the language from Section 101 (" Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title") and the United States Supreme Court's decision in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218, 3225 (2010) ("in choosing such expansive terms modified by the comprehensive 'any,' Congress plainly contemplated that the patent laws would be given wide scope").

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Despite Therasense's Heightened Standard, Another Inequitable Conduct Claim Survives Summary Judgment

October 4, 2011


It appears that the announced death of inequitable conduct claims may have been premature. As described below, yet another court allowed such claims to survive summary judgment.

A court in the Northern District of Illinois denied summary judgment on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment of no unenforceability. Citing the Federal Circuit's recent decision in Therasense v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 2011 WL 2028255 (Fed. Cir. May 25, 2011), the court reiterated the new, heightened standard for proving inequitable conduct that to prevail on such a claim, "the accused infringer must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the applicant knew of the [prior art] reference, knew that it was material, and made a deliberate decision to withhold it." Slip Op. at 15. Moreover, "merely proving that the applicant should have known of the reference's materiality is insufficient. Though a district court may infer intent from indirect and circumstantial evidence, in order to meet the clear and convincing evidence standard, the specific intent to deceive must be 'the single most reasonable inference able to be drawn from the evidence.'" Id. Finally, the accused infringer must prove that the omitted reference is but-for material by showing that the PTO would not have allowed the claim had it been aware of the undisclosed prior art. Id.

The accused infringer claimed that the patentee engaged in inequitable conduct during the prosecution of the patent-in-suit by improperly adding new matter by: (1) submitting an incorrect English translation of the international application; (2) representing to the USPTO that no new matter had been added to the substitute specification filed with the USPTO; and (3) representing that the substitute specification had been provided as required by the Examiner and omitting the proper substitute specification.

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Mark Your Products/Packaging or Lose Your Past Damages

October 3, 2011

Plaintiff filed a patent infringement action against several defendants. After the district court's Markman decision, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment regarding patent infringement and the scope of damages. After denying the parties' respective cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court addressed the defense motion for a limitation on damages due to plaintiff's failure to properly mark his device.
The defendant argued that even if it did infringe the patent-in-suit, plaintiff would not be entitled to any damages for any infringement between the issuance of the patent and the filing of the complaint because plaintiff failed to mark his product with the patent number.

As the district court noted, "[a] patentee may only recover damages for patent infringement that occurs after the patentee provides notice to an accused infringer under 35 U.S.C. § 287(a)." Notice can be satisfied either by constructive notice or actual notice. Constructive notice is satisfied if the patentee marks the product consistently and continuously with the word patent or "pat." and the patent number or, if the product cannot be marked, the product's packaging can be marked. Actual notice is satisfied by an affirmative communication from the patentee regarding a specific charge of infringement by a specific accused product or device.

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