Posts in District Courts

CAFC Denies VoIP-Pal Petition for Mandamus Relief in Suit with Twitter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today denied VoIP-Pal.com, Inc.’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking it to direct a California district court to vacate its decision in favor of Twitter, Inc. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order on November 2, 2021, refusing to grant VoIP-Pal’s motion to dismiss Twitter’s request for a declaratory judgment that its products do not infringe VoIP-Pal’s U.S. Patent No. 9,935,872. VoIP-Pal’s patents relate generally to a system for routing communications over Internet Protocol networks, and the company has been engaged in litigation with Twitter, Apple, Amazon and others for several years now.

Patent Filings Roundup: Heavy District Court Docket Sees Fortress Biotech ANDA Litigation; WePay Expands GUI Design Patent Assertion Against Major Online Payment Systems

It was another heavy week in the district court with over 100 new patent complaints filed, 64 terminated (mostly file-and-settle), and an average 26 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) cases (one post grant review and 25 inter partes reviews). It was also another week with about half of all parties briefing Fintiv, but no denials, begging the question, “Why are parties being forced to brief it in the first place?” Intel and Xilinx combined to cancel a number of litigation-funded chip patents from Arbor Global Strategies and FG SRC LLC [the latter funded by Freeman Capital Partners]; a number of Fortress-funded subsidiaries were challenged; another 29 IP Edge subsidiary suits; some interesting pharmaceutical action; and companies WebRoot and OpenText, inc. have launched a new assertion campaign against Trend Micro, Kapersky Labs, CrowdStrike, and Sophos on cybersecurity products.

Stinging CAFC Dissent from Denial of Biogen Rehearing Petition Accuses Majority of Muddying Written Description

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today denied rehearing and rehearing en banc to Biogen International, which had petitioned the court following a November decision  affirming a district court ruling that Biogen’s patent for a method of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) was invalid for lack of written description. Three judges split from the majority, with Judges Lourie, Moore and Newman dissenting on the denial of en banc rehearing. Judge O’Malley had dissented from the November panel decision, but she retired on March 11, 2022, and only participated in the decision on panel rehearing.

Arbutus and Genevant Sue Moderna in First Significant Patent Infringement Lawsuit in the mRNA Space

In the first major patent infringement lawsuit in the mRNA space, on February 28, 2022, Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (“Arbutus”) and Genevant Sciences GmbH (“Genevant”) sued Moderna, Inc. and ModernaTX, Inc. (collectively “Moderna”) in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The plaintiffs have alleged that Moderna infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 8,058,069, 8,492,359, 8,822,668, 9,364,435, 9,504,651, and 11,141,378 directed to lipid nanoparticle (“LNP”) delivery technology through, inter alia, sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and booster products.

Federal Circuit Further Defines the Scope of Patent Venue

Recently, in In Re: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) further defined the level of control a defendant must exercise over an in-district agent to establish patent venue – i.e., where a case can be filed. The Federal Circuit held that the requisite control a principal must establish over its alleged agent in order to establish venue is “interim control”: day-to-day control over the manner of carrying out the specific actions for which the alleged agency relationship exists. Accordingly, in reversing the lower court, the Federal Circuit held that the dealerships in question were not agents of Hyundai or Volkswagen for the purposes of selling cars to consumers and providing warranty services. 

CAFC Corrects Albright on Transfer Again, Granting Mandamus to Volkswagen and Hyundai

Just as some sources had begun to speculate that Judge Alan Albright had received the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC’s) message on transfer—in light of a slew of decisions reversing his refusals to move cases out of his court—the CAFC yesterday granted two more petitions for mandamus relief, holding the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas clearly abused its discretion in not granting a change of venue.

In December 2020, StratosAudio, Inc. (Stratos) filed patent infringement complaints in the Western District of Texas against Volkswagen and Hyundai (the Petitioners) which are incorporated in New Jersey and California, respectively. The two cases were consolidated on appeal. Since both Volkswagen and Hyundai reside outside of the Western District of Texas, the two companies moved to dismiss or transfer the cases under 28 U.S.C. §1406(a) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3).

Eighth Circuit Overturns Injunction for Harassment Allegedly Inspired by Patent Troll Rhetoric

On March 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a ruling in Tumey v. Mycroft AI, Inc. in which the appellate court overturned the Western District of Missouri’s grant of injunctive relief to Tumey, a patent attorney representing a plaintiff asserting patent claims against Mycroft. The Eighth Circuit found that Tumey had not met the requisite standard of proof to show that Mycroft had engaged in cyber attacks and harassing phone calls targeting Tumey and his family to support injunctive relief. The appellate court also remanded the case with instructions to reassign the case to a different district court judge.

Patent Filings Roundup: Realtor Files IP Edge Declaratory Judgment in Hawaii After Demand Letter; Dog Collar IPR Instituted Over Lengthy Fintiv Arguments; IP Edge Files Another 25+

It was a banner district court week, with 104 patent filings and 64 cases terminated, mostly file-and-settle non-practicing entity (NPE) litigation, and 26 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) cases, including Nokia challenging NPE TQ Delta, LLC; Dexcom, Inc. filing against Abbot Diabetes Care Inc.; and Samsung filing against the Fortress IP-funded Netlist, Inc. In a week where IP Edge filed almost 30 new district court cases, one letter recipient filed a declaratory judgment (DJ) action…. This isn’t the first time this year a party has DJ’d IP Edge (a relative rarity given how small the sums involved are), suggesting either that smaller companies are getting fed up or that their campaigns have been broadly applied.

Restaurants Take Aim at Google, Alleging Deceptive Online Ordering Scheme

The operators of a number of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill franchises have filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California on behalf of a nationwide class of restaurants claiming that Google, LLC has engaged in deceptive practices and misappropriation of their goodwill and tradenames by directing consumers to Google-operated pages for online ordering and delivery. The complaint explains that Google changed the way it displays restaurant search results in 2019, confusing customers into ordering through Google-designed ordering buttons and pages, thereby robbing the restaurants of direct online orders. Instead, customers are fooled into ordering through delivery service providers Google has contracted with, which charge exorbitant fees to the restaurants, says the complaint.

Patent Filings Roundup: Joao Sub Hauls Shipping Industry into Albright’s Court; IP Investments Sub Targets Realty Companies with IV Patents

With 69 new district court patent filings and 24 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) challenges (all inter partes reviews), it was a now-routine end-of-the-month filing spree for IP Edge subsidiaries, with 23 new complaints by such entities. The PTAB dockets continue to be dominated by cases against litigation-funded entities like Magentar Capital’s Scramoge, Fortress IP’s VLSI and Jawbone, and WSOU, plus the seemingly now-regular trickle of cases between Apple and Ericsson. Big-ticket assertor Agis Software disclaimed challenged claims in an IPR brought by Google and Samsung, thus cancelling the claims; and some ANDA-related litigation kicked off before various district courts.

Fifth Circuit Says Auto Parts Suppliers Have No Article III Standing to Bring Antitrust Claims Against SEP Holders

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Monday vacated and remanded a district court decision that had dismissed Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.’s suit against several standard-essential patent holders and their licensing agent, claiming violations of federal antitrust law and state law. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed with prejudice Continental’s Sherman Act claims for lack of antitrust standing and, alternatively, for failure to plausibly plead certain elements. Continental appealed, but the Fifth Circuit said Continental’s claims should have been dismissed for lack of Article III standing because it had not proven that the SEP holders had “denied Continental property to which it was entitled and that Continental thereby suffered a cognizable injury in fact.”

Patent Filings Roundup: All Nokia Phones Banned in Germany over Fortress Claims; IPR Proceeds over Arigna’s ITC Fintiv Arguments; Hashicorp Unloads on IP Edge Sub Invincible; PacSec Throws Up a Hail Mary

It was a typical week in terms of overall patent filing numbers, with 31 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings, 56 district court complaints, and some 50-odd terminations; continued filings of inter partes reviews (IPRs) against Ericsson by Apple in their sprawling 5G fight; a Raymond Anthony Joao sub brought a 33-patent complaint (mostly expired) on shipping tracking; Fortress entities were on the receiving end of a few IPRs; and in Europe, a Fortress entity secured an injunction against Nokia over all Nokia-branded smartphones in the country, a huge blow for Nokia there. Unrelatedly, there was a hastily-filed errata filed in the Cal Tech opinion at the Federal Circuit with major estoppel implications (that Dennis Crouch has already well-covered).  Let’s get to it. 

Publishers Win Preliminary Injunction Against Maryland Law that Requires Licensing Digital Works to Libraries

Publishers scored a win yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland when the court granted their request for a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Maryland Act, which essentially calls for compulsory licensing of electronic literary works to libraries on “reasonable terms”. The law went into effect on January 1, 2022. The lawsuit was brought by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) against the state of Maryland and charged that the Maryland Act was preempted by the U.S. Copyright Act. The Maryland Act requires publishers to 1) offer to license copyrighted electronic literary products, such as eBooks and digital audiobooks, to public libraries, and (2) to ensure the terms of such licenses are fair. The goal was to avoid up-charging and stringent licensing restrictions on libraries.

Patent Filings Roundup: Qualcomm Dragged into Waco by Magentar on IoT Chips; Board Skips Merits in Denial

Happy belated Valentine’s Day; there were 74 district court terminations last week (mostly file-and-settle flotsam); 36 Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) filings (bolsted by Qualcomm indemnification filings and some medical device action); and 56 district court patent filings this week, in a mid-month lull before certain entities have to hit their end-of-month quota; let’s get to it.

Word Salad, Fact Confusion, and Lawyering: One Take on ParkerVision v. Qualcomm

Last month, I followed a hearing in a case called ParkerVision v. Qualcomm in Federal Court in the Middle District of Florida and reviewed the court briefs. This patent infringement case is potentially one of the largest of the year and is related to very important technology that miniaturized radio frequency (RF) transceivers, thus paving the way for the invention of the smartphone. Lawyer arguments in these hearings are very interesting, and you can learn a lot about the law. You can also learn how lawyers distort and twist the facts by confusing the court with word games, something I call word salad. Courts are pretty good at figuring out word games in most subject matter, but technology is foreign territory to many courts, so a well-tossed word salad can bring about an unjust decision.