Posts Tagged: "infringement"

Managing and Protecting a Brand in the Age of Social Media

In 2016 social media users reached 2.3 billion. With an audience made up of consumers, competitors and industry influencers, social media is a melting pot of opportunity and risk. Social platforms have quickly become a go-to platform for engaging with customers. If used correctly, companies have the potential to build an online persona that stands out and drives commercial success… When big brands enforce their trademark rights against potentially infringing smaller entities, the David-and-Goliath-type battle can help to alienate the consumer market. Brands such as M&Ms are now using online personas – developed on social media – to gently enforce trademark rights.

Mentor Graphics v. Synopsys: Affirmed-in-Part, Reversed-in-Part, Vacated-in-Part, and Remanded

Various Synopsys parties and EVE-USA, Inc. (collectively “Synopsys”) sued Mentor Graphics, seeking a declaration that Mentor’s ’376, ’531, and ’176 patents were invalid and not infringed. Mentor counterclaimed for willful infringement of those three patents, and also asserted infringement of two more (the ’526 and ’109 patents). The court consolidated the case with another involving a fourth patent owned by Mentor (the ’882 patent)… A jury does not have to further apportion lost profits to patented features of a larger product after applying the Panduit factors, which implicitly incorporate apportionment into the lost profit award. Claim preclusion applies when a claim was asserted, or could have been asserted, in a prior action. It does not bar allegations that did not exist at the time of the earlier action.

Disney MagicBand wireless communication devices targeted by patent lawsuit filed in E.D. Tex.

Perhaps not your typical or average patent, the ‘443 patent has some 135 patent claims, which relate to a proximity authorization unit, a proximity service unit, a method of using the proximity authorization unit, or a system for implementing the proximity authorization unit. The majority of the claims, however, are drafted specifically to cover the devices (i.e., the proximity authorization and service units)… This is not the first time that Disney’s MagicBand wireless communication products have been the target of patent infringement litigation. In April 2015, radio frequency system developer InCom Corporation of Sutter, CA, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (C.D. Cal.) alleging that Disney’s MagicBands infringed upon InCom patents covering audience tracking system technologies. Last August, the two companies agreed to settle the case after InCom had alleged that Disney sold about 10 million MagicBands at $12.95 each after being notified of the potential infringement.

Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit, Confirms that One is Still the Loneliest Number

In yet another reversal of the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court yesterday held that liability under § 271(f)(1) of the Patent Act requires more than one component part of a multicomponent patented invention to be shipped abroad for assembly, no matter how important or critical that one component may be. Life Techs. Corp. v. Promega Corp.,(U.S. Feb. 22, 2017) 580 U.S. ___, slip opinion at *8 (No. 14-1538)… Writing for the Court, Justice Sotomayor rejected the case-specific approach of the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court analyzed the ambiguous term “substantial” in the full context of the statute. Based on this context approach, the Court reasoned that “substantial” is best understood in a purely quantitative sense, as opposed to the qualitative importance of the component approach championed by Promega.

Northern District of California revises local patent rules, requires damages disclosures early and often

Damages discovery in patent cases is usually contentious, expensive, and non-uniform in application by the courts. The patent owner, on one hand, wants to discover all possible revenue streams for settlement and resource allocation. The accused infringer, on the other hand, wants to minimize disclosure, because of the sensitivity of financial information and the belief that the suit is meritless. And the courts are caught in the middle. Compounding these issues, fulsome damages contentions typically are not defined until expert reports are presented, meaning the parties (and the court through a Daubert motion) will not know whether there is sufficient basis for the damages sought until late in a case.

Water Balloons, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the PTAB

The Federal Circuit, while deciding a preliminary injunction was properly granted, addressed the PTAB decision in its oral arguments and in its decision. In oral arguments Judge Moore stated, “You have to be able to say substantially, ‘cause there’s a million patents that use the word substantially.” And in their written decision the Federal Circuit explained: “We find it difficult to believe that a person with an associate’s degree in a science or engineering discipline who had read the specification and relevant prosecution history would be unable to determine with reasonable certainty when a water balloon is “substantially filled.”

Infringe at Will Culture Takes Hold as America’s Patent System Erodes

Perhaps when the Senate Banking Committee convenes to consider the nomination of Wall Street attorney Jay Clayton as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission they should ask about efficient infringement and the infringe at will culture. What is your position, Mr. Clayton, on the legal obligation of a public company to shareholders? Should publicly traded companies inform shareholders that patent assets are worthless, or at least worth less, given the legal and regulatory climate in America? Should publicly traded companies systematically infringe and ignore all patent rights? Should publicly traded companies be using billions in shareholder monies to aggressively collect patent assets while they are simultaneously using millions to lobby against the viability of patents? What exactly do shareholders have a right to know?

The Equitable Defense of Laches: SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products

The equitable defense of laches has been a useful tool for defendants in intellectual property litigation for over a hundred years, but a recent case in the U.S. Supreme Court could potentially remove the defense in patent infringement cases. In SCA Hygiene Products AB v. First Quality Baby Products LLC, the Supreme Court must decide whether the doctrine of laches bars patent infringement claims filed within the six-year statutory limitation period established under 35 U.S.C. § 286 of the Patent Act… Based on oral arguments, it is expected the Court will reverse the Federal Circuit’s decision and conclude that laches do not apply to patent infringement cases brought within the six-year damages period.

Don’t Feed the Trolls: Practicality in View of the FTC’s Report on Patent Assertion Entities 

The Norwegian fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff” was far ahead of its time and the moral of that story has a very relevant, modern application. In short, the story introduces three goats that want to cross a river to eat some luscious grass. To do so, however, the goats must first cross a bridge; under which lives a fearsome troll, who is so territorial that he eats anyone who dares to cross it. By working together, the goats are able to plot against the troll, and ultimately knock him off of the bridge. After knocking the troll off the bridge, the three goats lived happily ever after. So, if these goats can figure out how to get rid of trolls, why can’t sophisticated companies do the same?

Trump targeted in copyright infringement action over Skittles tweet filed by former refugee photographer

Trump, no stranger to lawsuits himself, can now count U.S. district courts as the latest venue where his position could be on the decline. A suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (N.D. Ill.) lists Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Mike Pence and a series of 10 Does as defendants in a copyright infringement action. At the center of the lawsuit is a picture of a bowl of Skittles, which was used for a now-infamous metaphor for the Syrian refugee crisis. The copyright infringement action was brought by David Kittos, a British photographer, who claims that the Skittles tweet published by Donald Trump Jr. used a copyright protected image created by Kittos.

Claims broad enough to encompass mental processes are unpatentable abstract ideas

The Court reasoned that the claims were limited to straightforward steps that a skilled artisan could perform mentally and that the inventors admitted to doing so. The claims, on their face, do not call for computer implementation, and Synopsys did not advance a claim construction requiring a computer. Additionally, complex details in the specification are insufficient to transform broad claims from an abstract idea into patentable subject matter. Given the breadth of the claims, the Court declined to decide if a computer-implemented version of the invention would be patentable under § 101.

Why should litigation costs of the infringer be relevant to determine if a license is fair or just a nuisance?

Why should the costs of the tortfeasing infringer be relevant in determining whether the extracted value from a settlement is fair? The fact that law firms charge a lot of money to defend patent infringement cases, and don’t particularly have any incentive to settle cases early, somehow translates into certain settlements being for nuisance value without any consideration of whether the settlement is a fair value for the rights trampled upon by the infringer? The FTC has quite a lot of explaining to do, because it seems they picked an arbitrary number that is a function of what attorneys ordinarily charge infringing defendants through discovery. I don’t see how that is a function of the value of the innovation, or how it says anything about the merits of the infringement case, the damages case, or the tactics of the patent owner. In fact, it seems as if the $300,000 figure is completely irrelevant.

Federal Circuit presumes inventorship correct even when considering standing

Drone sued Parrot for indirect infringement of two patents relating to remote-controlled drones… The Federal Circuit sided with Drone and refused to substantively examine inventorship, where Drone’s claim to title was not otherwise in dispute. Inventorship of an issued patent is presumed correct, and Parrot provided no persuasive reason why the Court must litigate inventorship as part of the standing analysis. Alternatively, Parrot may challenge inventorship as an invalidity defense, but doing so under the guise of standing is improper.

Federal Circuit Clarifies ‘Inventive Concept’ as Applied to Computers

This case concerned the subject matter eligibility of patents under 35 U.S.C. § 101, for a computer-related invention. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that two patents were ineligible, and reversed the court’s decision that one patent was eligible. All three patents at issue were held to be drawn to abstract ideas, and none of them had a patentable inventive concept… There was no inventive concept because the ’142 claims provided only generic computers performing generic functions. The proper inquiry is whether each step in a claim does more than require a generic computer to perform generic computer functions, not whether the prior computers already applied that concept.

Supreme Court to Weigh In on Extraterritorial Scope of Patent Law and Laches

On the heels of a busy term last year, the stage is set for the Supreme Court to review two more important issues regarding utility patents during the October term. The first issue involves one aspect of the Federal Circuit’s decision in Promega Corp. v. Life Technologies Corp., 773 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2014) — i.e., whether a party who supplies a single, commodity component of a multi-component invention from the United States can be liable for infringement. The second issue arises from SCA Hygiene Prods. Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Prods., LLC, 807 F.3d 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc), to determine whether laches remains a viable defense to patent infringement with respect to pre-litigation damages in certain circumstances.