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Posts Tagged: "Eastern District of Texas"

CAFC Grants Mandamus on Netflix Motion to Transfer Out of Gilstrap’s Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) today granted Netflix, Inc.’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus to transfer a case brought against it by CA Inc. and Avago Technologies from Judge Rodney Gilstrap’s Eastern District of Texas court to the Northern District of California. The Order is the latest in a series of decisions from the CAFC censuring Texas courts for their refusal to transfer cases. In today’s ruling, the CAFC said the district court’s denial of transfer was a clear abuse of discretion and ordered the court to transfer the case, but did not address Netflix’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of venue.

CAFC Affirms Eastern Texas Rulings of Noninfringement for Telecom Companies

On October 12, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued two related precedential opinions affirming the decisions of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, holding that neither Verizon Wireless and Sprint Communications nor Nokia Solutions infringed Traxcell Technologies LLC’s patents. raxcell sued Verizon and Sprint for infringing four of its patents, all of which share a specification and a 2001 priority date. The four patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 8,977,284 (the ‘284 patent), 9,5,10,320 (the ‘320 patent), 9,642,024 (the ‘024 patent), and 9,549,388 (the ‘388 patent). In a separate suit, Traxcell sued Nokia for infringing the ‘284, the ‘320, and the ‘024 patents.

The claims of three of the four patents at issue—the ‘284, 320, and ‘024 patents (collectively the SON patents)—are related to self-optimizing network (SON) technology for making “corrective actions” to improve communications between a wireless device and a network.

Let’s Put this Myth to Bed: The Eastern District of Texas is Not Plaintiff-Friendly

Over the last several days, the Wall Street Journal has reported on numerous federal district court judges that it says have violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by not recusing themselves in cases where they, or their spouse, held a pecuniary interest. The Journal reporting finds that, in most cases, the judges seem to have mistakenly believed that if they or their spouses owned stock in a company and their portfolio was blindly or privately managed by a money manager without input or knowledge, they did not need to recuse themselves. That, however, is not the standard according to the Office of Administrative Courts. The judge identified as the one who most frequently failed to recuse himself was Rodney Gilstrap, Chief Judge of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Judge Gilstrap is well known throughout the country as the jurist with who, over the last decade, has had the largest docket of patent infringement cases, including virtually every patent case filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

Drafting Lessons from a 101 Loss in the Eastern District of Texas

On March 30, Judge Sean D. Jordan of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, issued a rather atypical Order, at least for the Eastern District of Texas. A defendant prevailed on a motion to dismiss. See Repifi Vendor Logistics, Inc. v. IntelliCentrics, Inc., Civil No. 4:20-CV-448-SDJ. Those familiar with patent litigation know that, over many years, the Eastern District of Texas has been a notoriously favorable venue for patent owners to pursue patent infringement lawsuits against alleged infringers. One of the things that has made the Eastern District of Texas so compelling from the patent owner perspective is the extraordinary reluctance of judges to rely on procedural motions to dispose of lawsuits in favor of defendants. It is no exaggeration to say that virtually everything that is filed in the Eastern District of Texas will go to trial unless it settles, which can raise the pressure on defendants to settle, sometimes for nuisance value alone.

Tillis, Michel and Iancu Back Ericsson in Heated International FRAND Dispute with Samsung

In the latest phase of an international dispute between Samsung Electronics and Ericsson, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Judge Paul Michel and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu have filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) supporting Ericsson and urging the CAFC to affirm the district court’s order granting an anti-interference injunction. That order enjoined Samsung from taking any action to interfere with Ericsson’s U.S. FRAND (“fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” terms) lawsuit against Samsung in the Texas court.

Ericsson Wins Anti-Interference Injunction Against Samsung in Texas FRAND Case

Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas yesterday issued an order enjoining  Samsung Electronics from taking any action to interfere with Ericsson’s U.S. FRAND (“fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” terms) lawsuit against Samsung in his court. Samsung had filed a lawsuit on December 7, 2020 in the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court of China but did not provide notice to Ericsson of the action. “Unaware of the Chinese Action,” according to Judge Gilstrap’s order, Ericsson filed a complaint against Samsung on December 11, 2020 in the Texas court, alleging that Samsung breached its obligation to license its Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on FRAND terms, and “notified Samsung of its Complaint in this Court that same day.” Samsung subsequently asked the Wuhan court to issue an “anti-suit injunction” (ASI) to prevent it from seeking relief relating to the SEPs at issue anywhere else in the world. The Wuhan Court issued the ASI on December 25 for the “duration of the Chinese Action and until a future judgment in that Action becomes effective.” The Wuhan Court gave Ericsson notice of the ASI after it had issued on December 25. Ericsson thus asked the Texas Court for an emergency temporary restraining order (TRO) on December 28, which the court granted.

Judge Rader Champions Chinese Courts, Samsung Responds to Ericsson in ED of TX/China FRAND Suit

In contrast to his one time colleague, former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader earlier this month filed a Declaration supporting Samsung Electronics in its Opposition to Ericsson, Inc.’s Application for Anti-Interference Injunction relating to Samsung’s lawsuit in the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court of China. Retired Federal Circuit Judge Paul Michel recently filed an amicus brief supporting Ericsson in the case and calling into question the procedures of the Wuhan court.

Ericsson Wins Temporary Restraining Order Over Samsung in ED TX FRAND Litigation

Earlier today, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a temporary restraining order against Samsung in a FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing rates) lawsuit filed by Ericsson on December 11, 2020. The Order gives Samsung until January 1, 2021 to file any opposition to the continuation of the temporary restraining order, and gives Ericsson until January 5, 2021 to respond if, or more likely when, Samsung, files an objection. At first glance to the trained eye this seems shocking, but as is so often the case in the world of standard essential patents (SEPs) and FRAND, there is much more than meets the eye.

The New Patent Texas Hold’Em: Before Going All In, Attorneys Should Know that Marshall and Waco are Different Decks

As a jury consultant with a wide breadth of experience across the country, I am often asked about the favorability of certain venues, but I was surprised two years ago at the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) Bench Bar conference when an attorney friend of mine quietly asked what I thought about Waco as a venue for patent cases. I nearly spit my coffee out: “Waco?  That’s a terrible idea!”  “Why?” he questioned, “Isn’t it a small town just like Marshall or Tyler?” I proceeded at length to explain why the Waco division and Western District of Texas (WDTX) is dramatically different than the Marshall division and EDTX. I simply chalked the question up to a one-off inquiry, until I was asked the same question again multiple times from other attorneys at the last EDTX Bench Bar. It was at the last EDTX conference that all the questions fell into place, when I heard about Judge Albright’s intent to prepare a new patent docket in Waco.

Google Wins Mandamus at Federal Circuit in EDTX Venue Dispute

The Court believed the time was now appropriate to address this issue through a writ of mandamus noting that several similar cases had now been heard in various district courts with conflicting results. The Court identified two issues that should be addressed: (1) whether a server rack, a shelf, or analogous space can be a “place of business,” and (2) whether a “regular and established place of business” requires the regular presence of an employee or agent of the defendant conducting business. Finding that a defendant must have regular, physical presence of an employee or other agent of the defendant conducting the defendant’s business at the alleged “place of business,” the Court concluded that the Eastern District of Texas was not a proper venue for this case because Google does not have an employee or agent regularly conducting its business within the District.

First Jury Verdict on Section 101 Inquiry Post-Berkheimer Finds Asserted Claims Routine and Conventional

On September 12, a jury verdict form  entered in an Eastern District of Texas patent infringement case found in favor of defendant Jack Henry & Associates on its defenses of noninfringement and invalidity regarding patent claims asserted by plaintiff PPS Data. According to information provided to IPWatchdog, the verdict marks the first time that a jury has invalidated a patent under Section 101 since the February 2018 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Berkheimer v. HP Inc., where the appellate court held that factual questions underlie the Section 101 inquiry.

VirnetX Accuses Apple of Seeking ‘Indefinite Delay’ with Latest Motions in Nine-Year Litigation

On August 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the case between VirnetX and Apple/ Cisco, and separately denied Apple’s request for rehearing en banc in its appeal from the U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruling awarding VirnetX nearly $440 million. In response, Apple quickly filed motions to stay and vacate those decisions, and requested leave to petition for a second rehearing. Most recently, on August 15, VirnetX filed its reply to Apple’s motions, arguing that the tech giant is merely trying to delay the case in order to give priority to continuing PTAB hearings.

Federal Circuit Struggles to Parse SEP Licensing Rates in TCL Communication v. Ericsson

On August 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in TCL Communication v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, an appeal stemming from an action for declaratory judgment filed by TCL in the Central District of California. Among the various aspects of the district court proceedings being examined on appeal are the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rates set by the court for Ericsson’s standard essential patent (SEP) portfolio for cellular technology as well as whether the court abused Ericsson’s Seventh Amendment rights by entering a release payment based on factual issues that weren’t tried by a jury.

Huawei/CNEX and the Role of Trade Secrets in the U.S.-China Trade War

In late May, news reports surfaced regarding allegations of trade secret theft committed by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies that had been made in an Eastern District of Texas case. The claims targeted an executive working for Huawei who is accused of participating in a scheme to misappropriate trade secrets from California-based semiconductor startup CNEX Labs. The recent filings mark a new turn in the case, which was originally filed in 2017 by Huawei when it accused CNEX of committing trade secret theft and poaching employees in an effort led by a former Huawei employee and CNEX co-founder. CNEX Labs might be a startup, but it has been attracting venture capital funding for its cloud software and solid-state drive controller products from major names in the tech industry, including Dell and Microsoft. While Huawei has made its own allegations against CNEX, news reports indicate that Huawei’s attempt to access a closely guarded research project by working through a Chinese university professor isn’t an isolated incident. In fact, such activities may be a major factor behind the company’s rapid rise in recent years.

Cray Wins Summary Judgment Against Raytheon Following Successful Venue Transfer Post-TC Heartland

On April 15, U.S. District Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin issued an opinion and order in Raytheon Company v. Cray, Inc. granting summary judgment of non-infringement to defendant Cray on two supercomputer patents that had been asserted by Raytheon. The order is the likely conclusion to a case that became an important part of the debate on proper venue in patent cases after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland, and aspects of how this case played out after venue was transferred point to the importance of that particular decision on U.S. patent litigation.