Posts in District Courts

More Mandamus Maneuvering at the CAFC in Latest Venue Transfer Win for Apple

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today granted Apple’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking the court to direct the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer a case brought by BillJCo, LLC to the Northern District of California. BillJCo owns six patents directed to beacon technology, with Bill Johnson and his son Jason Johnson, who lives in Waco, Texas, named as inventors or co-inventors. The suit was brought against Apple for infringement based on its iBeacon protocol. Apple argued that it “researched, designed, and developed the accused technology from its headquarters within the [Northern District of California]; that evidence and witnesses would likely be in Northern California; and that neither BillJCo nor this litigation had any meaningful connection to Western Texas.”

Patent Filings Roundup: Petitions on Key Dupe Patents Denied Under Fintiv; Taxidermy Patent Filings Stuffed

It was a slow week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and a fast one in the district court, with 82 new patent complaints and 85 terminations, but just 18 patent filings at the PTAB. Those few filings were mostly a battery company challenging Maxell patents, a few bigger NPE cases, and Apple and Samsung filing against assertor Smart Mobile Technologies from the middle of last year. Askeladden had a petition denied on the merits, Microchip Technology had a petition denied on General Plastics, and The Hillman Group got four inter partes reviews (IPRs) denied under Fintiv, guaranteeing they will head to trial in the Eastern District of Texas; more below.

Hyatt Returns to SCOTUS with Request to Clarify Standard for Summary Judgment, APA Scope of Review Provisions

Gilbert Hyatt, an inventor who has been granted more than 70 patents and has filed more than 400 applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Justices to weigh in on his challenge of a policy he alleges the USPTO implemented in the 1990s to categorically deny him issuance of any additional patents. Hyatt has been embroiled in litigation with the USPTO for decades and won a previous Supreme Court appeal in 2012.  

LG’s Recent Infringement Fight Against TCL Could Take Some Tips from DivX’s Approach

On April 21, 2022, LG Electronics Inc. filed suit against Chinese television manufacturer, TCL, through several of its affiliates and related entities, in the Eastern District of Texas for patent infringement. See LG Electronics, Inc. v. TCL Electronics Holding Ltd. et al, Case: 2:22-cv-00122 (EDTX). The patents relate to display hardware, wireless transmission technology, and user interface controls. Several of TCL’s 4-Series, 5-Series, and 6-Series TVs are accused of infringement. The patents asserted by LG are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,982,803, 9,080,740, 9,788,346, 10,334,311 and 10,499,431. LG requests a jury trial, seeks a permanent injunction, and a finding that the infringement is willful (for enhancement purposes) and exceptional (for the awarding of attorneys’ fees).

CAFC Clarifies Infringement Analysis and Vacates a Finding of Noninfringement for Hulu

On May 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the claim construction and decision of the United States District Court for the Central District of California to exclude evidence relating to damages but vacated its infringement determination and remanded a case alleging that Hulu, Inc. infringed Sound View Innovations, Inc.’s patent for data streaming technology. Sound View is the owner of expired U.S. Patent No. 6,708,213 (the ‘213 patent), which discloses “methods which improve the caching and streaming of multimedia data (e.g., audio and video data) from a content provider over a network to a client’s computer.” In June 2017, Sound View sued Hulu, alleging that its “Hulu Streaming Video on Demand products” infringed six Sound View patents, though only claim 16 of the ‘213 patent remained at issue on appeal.

Patent Filings Roundup: FintivDenials Over WD of TX, ITC Schedules; Vector Capital-Funded Semi Campaign Hits an IPR Wall

This week saw 60 district court patent complaints, 76 terminations, 26 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) petitions (some post grant reviews [PGRs] in there), and two new Fintiv denials—one PGR and one inter partes review (IPR). Gesture Technology had a handful of IPRs instituted against its asserted portfolio; lots of dismissals from relatively high-profile semiconductor cases suggest either a group or cheap RPX settlement; and a number of older assertion campaigns seemed to wrap up with terminations.

Mailer’s Remorse: Notice Letters and Personal Jurisdiction for Declaratory Judgment Lawsuits

There are many reasons why patent holders might want to put potential infringers on notice of their rights. Such communications can serve the salutary goal of encouraging settlement of disputes without resort to lawsuits. And under some circumstances, notice may be legally necessary under 35 U.S.C. § 287 to enable a patent holder to recover damages for infringement. But a patent holder might be reluctant to do this if providing such notice can subject it to personal jurisdiction for a declaratory judgment suit in a remote and inconvenient forum.

SDNY Finds Patent for Processing Financial Transaction Data Invalid Under 101

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Block, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss a complaint brought by AuthWallet, LLC against it for failure to state a claim. The district court found that the claims of AuthWallet’s patent were invalid because they claimed patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. AuthWallet’s U.S. Patent No. 9,292,852 relates to systems and methods for processing financial transaction data. Block provides online platforms, products, and services that facilitate financial transaction data. Specifically, Block offers mobile payment options that provide a means for customers to earn and redeem rewards for multiple vendors. In its complaint, AuthWallet alleged that Block’s payment platforms infringe on one or more of claims of the ’852 patent, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. Specifically, AuthWallet alleged that Block put the inventions claimed by the ’852 patent into service (i.e., used them) and, therefore, Block benefited financially and commercially.

California Court Holds Pinterest’s Display of User-Uploaded Works Near Ads are Protected by DMCA Safe Harbor

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California this week ruled that the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects Pinterest from a photographer’s claim that the platform infringed his copyrights by displaying his works alongside advertisements in the form of “promoted pins.” Harold Davis, an artist and professional photographer, claimed that Pinterest infringed 51 of his copyrighted works. In one example, Davis’ work, “Kiss from a Rose,” was displayed next to a promoted Pin for an art print called “White Tea Roses by Neicy Frey,” which Davis contended constituted unauthorized commercial use of his work.

Patent Filings Roundup: Third VLSI Trial on Fintiv-Denied Patents Postponed Over COVID Outbreak; Funded Single-Patent Semiconductor Campaign Files in ITC, District Courts; 225 Anonymous Platform Defendants Sued on Single Patent

My 40th birthday this week brought another litigation explosion (I assume no causation), with 120 new suits, double the average, though a spike is common at the ends of months and quarters; the new filings are dominated by filings by IP Edge, DynaIP, IP Valuation, and to a far lesser extent, Leigh Rothschild’s subsidiaries. There were a typical 30 inter partes reviews (IPRs) and no discretionary denials last week, coupled with an average 79 terminations in district court. A new abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) Paragraph IV suit was launched—GE Healthcare challenging the three remaining patents over their ANDA application to bring a generic Lexiscan® drug to market, against brand Astellas and Gilead. New funded semiconductor litigation and further trial postponements in VLSI rounded out this week.

Patent Filings Roundup: Litigation Finance Disclosures in Delaware Standardized; Impossible Burger Patent Challenged; Slew of Discretionary Denials

With an average 33 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (one post grant review, the rest inter partes reviews[IPRs]), a relatively high number (89) of district court terminations (including some high-profile settlements), and a somewhat low number (63) of suits this week, we are rolling into May. Chief Judge Connolly of the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Delaware  filed a standing order in all of his cases requiring litigation funding disclosures; there were more filings by more Magentar entities (who, by last count, are up to 15 high-profile litigation funded campaigns), and more IPR counters; and still more IPRs (22 or 23) in the Israeli-based Bright Data assertion campaign. The patents there are a range, but are based, broadly, on Internet connectivity.

CAFC Continues Its Censure of Albright on Transfer Analyses

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) on Friday directed Judge Alan Albright’s Waco Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to transfer a case brought by CPC Patent Technologies PTY Ltd against Apple to the Northern District of California. The CAFC said the district court erred in weighing the convenience of the witnesses factor as only slightly favoring transfer, noting that the court has historically rejected the view that this factor should be based solely on the distance the witness would have to travel.

Patent Filings Roundup: Fintiv Denial in Light of NPE Suit Against Healthcare Co.; More Institutions in Troubled, Funded ParkerVision Campaign; Universal Studios Sued by German Ride Company

Patent filings were average this week, with 21 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) petitions and 77 district court patent complaints filed (and 67 terminated). In the district courts, Joao, Cedar Lane, and DynaIP campaigns added a fair number of defendants, some interesting competitor-competitor cases cropped up, and Wepay Global Payments LLC continued its single-design-patent campaign, adding Wells Fargo. This week also saw a few discretionary denials, as detailed below.

Jump Rope Systems Asks CAFC for Initial En Banc Rehearing Challenging Collateral Estoppel Ruling in XY v. Trans Ova Genetics

On April 19, exercise equipment developer Jump Rope Systems filed a petition  with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) seeking an initial hearing en banc to challenge a consent judgment  entered in a patent infringement case filed in the Southern District of Ohio. Jump Rope Systems is asking the full Federal Circuit to overturn its own decision in XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, L.C. (2018), arguing that preclusive effect cannot be given to invalidity determinations issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) because XY conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court rulings on collateral estoppel doctrine.

Netflix Scores as California Judge Says Broadcom’s Dynamic Resource Provisioning Patent Claim is Abstract under Alice

Last week, U.S. District Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California issued a judgment on the pleadings invalidating claims from one of 12 patents asserted by semiconductor and software developer Broadcom against streaming video provider Netflix. The ruling is the latest setback for Broadcom in its enforcement campaign against Netflix’s use of patented server technologies to support streaming media services that are cutting into Broadcom’s market for semiconductors developed for use in set-top boxes.