Posts in District Courts

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 Creates Federal Jurisdiction for Trade Secret Litigation

There is now federal jurisdiction for trade secret theft. The DTSA creates a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation that largely mirrors the current state of the law under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which has been adopted by 48 states. The DTSA uses a similar definition of trade secrets, and a three-year statute of limitations, and it authorizes remedies similar to those found in current state laws. The DTSA will not preempt existing state law, which will preserve and afford plaintiffs’ options in regards to whether to file federal or state claims and which court to select.

Groupon lawsuit calls IBM “a relic” but IBM R&D invests more than Groupon’s total revenues

Groupon’s complaint and spokespersons have been widely reported that labels IBM as a “dial-up dinosaur” and “a relic of once-great 20th Century technology firms” that is now resorting “to usurping the intellectual property of companies born this millennium.” But IBM spends $5 billion annual on R&D investment, which outpaced Groupon’s total 2015 revenues of $3.1 billion. It’s seems a tough argument to make that a tech firm that invests more money in R&D than the other company earns in a year is somehow a “relic” that is only “usurping” the innovation of this millennium.

PTAB’s Factual Findings Were Sufficient, Standard Was Improper

The Court noted that decisions related to compliance with the Board’s procedures are reviewed for abuse of discretion. As far as the “reasonable expectation of success” requirement, the Court noted that the Board improperly looked to whether one would reasonably expect the references to operate as those references intended once combined. The Court held that this was the incorrect standard, and instead one must have the motivation to combine with the expectation of achieving what is claimed in the patent-at-issue. The Court held, however, that while the Board conflated the reasonable expectation of success standard and motivation to combine, it nonetheless made sufficient factual findings to support its judgment that the claims at issue were not invalid.

WhatsApp end-to-end message encryption draws political ire in U.S. and abroad

In the world of messaging services, the cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp enjoys the enviable position of being the world’s most popular messaging service, eclipsing one billion monthly active users as of this February. Owned by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), WhatsApp’s user base even outpaces that of Facebook’s flagship messaging service Messenger. Over on Capitol Hill, WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging services has been drawing strong language from those perceiving the technology as a possible security threat.

‘Science’ publishes biased patent trolling article, regurgitating Harvard patent hatred

Pre-litigation review of cases to weed out instances of patent trolling sounds like a great idea, but what more weeding out do the authors want? Since the Supreme Court decided Alice v. CLS Bank nearly 70% of all software patents have been invalidated by district courts as being patent ineligible, which is almost always done at the motion to dismiss stage. Furthermore, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) institutes 80% of the challenges to patents they receive. Indeed, it seems that over the past 5 years with nearly every court decision and piece of legislation more rights are taken away from patent owners, patents are no longer presumed valid and district courts are disposing of an alarmingly high number of patent infringement cases on motions to dismiss. It is enormously ignorant to suggest changes to “U.S. IP policy” that would make it more difficult for patent owners. Only those unfamiliar with industry reality could make such a recklessly suggestion. Of course, familiarity with the industry is unfortunately not a prerequisite for academics hell-bent on reaching the wrong conclusion.

IP litigation report shows downward trends in patent, file sharing copyright and IPR cases

One aspect of the recent Lex Machina report that should jump out to anyone who has closely followed the patent litigation sector over the past few years is that the high percentage of all patent cases filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.) has dropped significantly. During 2015, E.D. Tex. received 43 percent of all patent infringement cases filed in American district courts. This dropped off steeply to 30 percent, or 291 cases filed, during 2016’s first quarter.

Congressman Issa calls patent trolls and plaintiffs interchangeable during ITC hearing

The Subcommittee is Chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has been an outspoken advocate for the need for more patent reform in order to provide relief from those he believes are abusing the patent litigation system — those sometimes called patent trolls. Indeed, from the start of the Thursday’s hearing, the debate regarding patent infringement at the ITC was couched in the language of the patent troll debate. For example, during his opening statement Congressman Issa rather imperiously stated: “for purposes of my opening statement ‘plaintiff’ and ‘troll’ will be interchangeable.” Issa, himself a patent owner, was forced to litigate against companies that pirated technology covered by his patents. As a patent owner forced to sue at numerous infringers, it would seem that Congressman Issa believes that patent owner and inventor Issa was a patent troll.

Finjan patent lawsuit against Symantec back on track after patents escape IPR

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNJN), the parent of wholly-owned subsidiary Finjan, Inc., announced several weeks ago that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the final rulings on attempts by Symantec Corporation’s (NASDAQ: SYMC) to invalidate 8 different Finjan’s patents through inter partes review (“IPR”). In total, Symantec filed 11…

Federal Circuit guidance is needed because district courts are misapplying Alice

The District Court’s errors in the Broadband iTV decision are a paradigmatic and telling manifestation of certain of the manners in which district courts are misapplying the two-step Alice test in order to invalidate patents, creating something of a fait accompli at the outset of the filing of an Alice motion. Most notable is the alarming trend of certain district court Section 101 Alice invalidations that purport to resolve questions of law but that, upon closer scrutiny, only nominally invoke Section 101 to improperly sidestep the work of Sections 102, 103 and 112 of the Patent Act. The problem in so-doing is that district courts are utilizing the summary legal analysis permissible under Section 101 when, in fact, they should be undertaking the factually-intensive analysis required by Sections 102, 103 and 112. This sleight of hand has resulted in what is becoming a systematic invalidation of patents on a far lesser “legal” showing rather than the rigorous factual showing mandated by the Patent Act.

Rovi sues Comcast for infringing electronic program guide patents

On April 1, 2016, Rovi Corporation (NASDAQ: ROVI), a pioneer in the field of electronic program guides, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Comcast in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. The lawsuit alleges that twelve years ago Comcast took a license to Rovi’s patent portfolio, but that license expired on March 31, 2016, without being renewed. Rovi says that Comcast has failed to remove any of its products and services from the market and also continues to provide those products and services, all of which are now infringing because of the expiration of the patent license agreement.

Patent litigation report shows Samsung overtaking Apple as top defendant in 2015

2015 is the second straight year in which the list of top plaintiffs has been led by eDekka LLC, a patent holding company, which at times has been accused of exhibiting trolling behaviors… Atop this list was the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.), which between 2005 and 2015 has awarded more than $2.1 billion in compensatory damages over the course of 2,169 cases filed. Following behind them was the U.S. District for the Southern District of California (S.D. Cal.), U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.), and followed in fourth place by E.D. Tex. Median damages for cases terminating between 2000 and 2015 showed a different story, however, as that list was topped by the District of Delaware, which had a median award of $10.46 million in 40 cases with damages. The Eastern District of Texas follows in second with a $7.68 million median damages award and in third is the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (E.D. Va.), with a median award of $2.98 million. After that, there’s a steep drop and every other district is showing a median damages award of less than $1 million.

President Obama nominates Karen Gren Scholer to Eastern District of Texas

Karen Gren Scholer has been nominated to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. If confirmed, Scholer, who was born in Tokyo, Japan, will become the first Asian American to serve as a federal district court judge in Texas or any of the courts encompassed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a territory that encompasses Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Bulletproof TransData patents get trial date in GE patent infringement dispute

What makes this particularly noteworthy, however, is the fact that in the nearly six years since the lawsuits were originally filed, these TransData patents have collectively prevailed in thirteen separate patent validity challenges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with all asserted claims remaining intact. What is further interesting about this case is that is that not only have each of the patents survived multiple reexaminations, but each has also had a request for inter partes review (IPR) denied by the PTAB.

Nomadix prevails in patent infringement suit over Internet networking for hospitality industry

The availability of high speed Internet access (HSIA) is a major factor determining consumer satisfaction when staying in hotel or resort lodgings, and it’s this market where Blueprint RF has been stepping into Nomadix’s IP territory. “It’s fairly widely known that Nomadix has patents protecting this technology,” said Doug Muehlhauser, a partner at the Knobbe Martens law firm and the lead litigation counsel for the Nomadix infringement case. Both he and Mark Lezama, another Knobbe Martens litigation partner, were able to offer us more insight into the legal case. This kind of infringement case is exactly why the patent system exists, Muehlhauser said. “People should really be acknowledging the value of this technology, but some participants in the market are not willing to do that,” he said.

Hoverboard raid at CES the result of effective patent enforcement

Future Motion launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the earliest prototypes of the OneWheel on January 6th, 2014. Within 24 hours, the project had already collected 40 percent of the funds it needed for the next phase of development. Within three days, it had secured 85 percent of its funding request and it only took a total of four days to reach the $100,000 pledge goal that Future Motion had initially set out to achieve. All told, Future Motion received a total in excess of $630,000 within 25 days and was able to meet stretch goals for LED lighting systems and mobile app development.