Posts in District Courts

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.

CAFC Schools District Court on Claim Construction Again

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) vacated and remanded a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada denying Power Probe’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar future sales of Innova Electronics Corporation’s Powercheck #5420 device. The CAFC held that the district court erred in its preliminary claim construction, particularly in determining that “detecting continuity and measuring continuity are mutually exclusive.”

CAFC Orders New Damages Trial for Roche, Clarifies Standard for Patent Damages Limitations Period

On April 8, in a mixed and split precedential decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed, reversed, vacated, and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the district of Delaware in a patent infringement suit brought by Meso Scale Diagnostics (Meso) against Roche Diagnostic Corporation and BioVeris Corporation (collectively Roche). Judge Pauline Newman dissented. Meso brought suit claiming that Roche violated exclusive license rights belonging to Meso by both direct and induced infringement of their patents. The CAFC affirmed the district court’s findings on the direct infringement claim, reversed the induced infringement finding, vacated the awarded damages, and remanded for a new trial on damages.

Patent Filings Roundup: Magentar Launches Tenth and Eleventh Campaign; Joao Entity Hits State Healthcare; Board Terminates Eight Petitions Pre-Institution Over Patent Owner Objections

A normal week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and a heavy week in the district courts saw 100 new patent complaints filed and 30 petitions before the Board; there were 79 district court terminations as well, as cases settled quickly and a number of withdrawals or refilings continue in and out of the Western District of Texas. Intellectual Ventures—hearing footsteps from the Federal Circuit’s mandamus of Judge Albright transferring automotive cases out of his jurisdiction for lack of venue over car companies—has refiled Eastern District of Texas complaints against car companies in the Northern District of Texas, presumably because those companies have factories or some other serious presence there.

PTAB Denies OpenSky’s Request for Rehearing But VLSI Cases Highlight Broader PTAB Problems

On March 28, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied petitioner OpenSky Industries’ request for rehearing of an earlier decision denying institution of inter partes review (IPR) of one of two VLSI patents supporting a massive $2.2 billion infringement damages verdict in U.S. district court. The ruling is the latest chapter in a series of challenges to VLSI’s patent claims, which has forced VLSI to run a gauntlet arguably demonstrating that the PTAB fails to function as the alternative forum for speedy validity resolutions originally envisioned by Congress when it passed the America Invents Act (AIA) into law back in 2011.

CAFC Overturns Win for Nintendo Based on District Court’s Incorrect Claim Construction Analysis

On April 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed and remanded a summary judgment decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in an infringement suit brought by Genuine Enabling Technology (Genuine) against Nintendo Company and Nintendo of America (collectively “Nintendo”) for allegedly infringing certain claims of Genuine’s U.S. Patent No. 6,219,730 (‘730 patent). The CAFC reversed the district court’s summary judgment decision because the district court erred in its construction of “input signal” and should have construed the term to mean “a signal having an audio or higher frequency.”

Patent Filings Roundup: Intel Cancels Qualcomm Claims on Remand; New Rideshare, Cloud Storage NPE Campaigns Launched

Some new assertion entities popped up this week, including a high-stakes campaign filed by LS Cloud Storage Technologies LLC (a Waco vintage, if from 2016) on a couple of data-sharing patents (one very old, one somewhat new, U.S. 6,549,988 and U.S. 10,154,092). There was also a new ride-sharing NPE campaign from Fare Technologies LLC (another older LLC with apparent ties to monetizers) against Uber and Lyft on just one patent, RE46727. By the numbers: the district courts saw 70 new patent complaints and another 106 terminated cases this week; the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had their now-usual 25 petitions. 

ED of Texas Adopts Magistrate’s Claim Construction in Finding No Infringement of Debit Card Patents

On March 16, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division adopted the Report and Recommendation (R&R) of a magistrate judge and granted two motions of non-infringement for Simon Property Group L.P. (Simon) and Blackhawk Network, Inc. (Blackhawk). AlexSam, Inc. filed suit for patent infringement against Simon and Blackhawk, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,000,608 (the ‘608 patent). AlexSam asserted that “[t]he ‘608 Patent covers a variety of important technologies relating to the debit card industry,” and “[t]he multifunction card system disclosed in the ‘608 Patent enabled consumers and retailers to use existing point-of-sales devices, the existing banking infrastructure, and a bank identification number (BIN) to perform financial transactions.”

Patent Filings Roundup: Fintiv Files Against Paypal; PPC Broadband Patents Challenged Based on Successful Reexams; Last CBM Decision Issues

It was a rather light week at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with just 17 new petitions (the lowest in recent memory), with district court patent filings at 69—a few more than usual—and 60 more terminations. Samsung lost a series of five chip inter partes reviews (IPRs) at institution against an LED Wafer Solutions LLC (apparently associated with Oso IP) on the merits (they and Seoul Semiconductor were the only two plaintiffs yet sued); PPC Broadband got some IPRs from Amphenol based in large part on family members having been cancelled earlier in reexam on the same grounds; Raymond Anthony Joao entity Beteiro LLC filed a few further cases; Caselas, another of his entities, has now sued upwards of 40 banks on five patents of similar progeny; and there were lots of file-and-settle terminations in the district court, per usual. And what I believe is the final covered business method review (CBM) to be filed and pending has concluded with the claims being cancelled. The claims there were directed to currency trading systems.