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March 6, 2012

Graph Off

GraphOn had patents on network database transactions valuable enough for MySpace to get the jump with a DJ action. Craigslist and Fox Network piled in. These upstanding companies had enough credibility with the district court judge to invalidate the patents in summary judgment without so much as a decent claim construction. On appeal, a CAFC panel lamented the slack claim work, but affirmed with nothing more than handwaving dismissal of GraphOn's objections to being railroaded.

MySpace and Fox Audience Network and Craigslist v. GraphOn (CAFC 2011-1149) precedential; Judges Newman, Mayer (dissent) and Plager (author)

Patents in suit: 6,324,538; 6,850,940; 7,028,034; 7,269,591.

Here's cartoon jurisprudence at work. What a whitewash.

Ordinarily we would expect the district court to conduct a complete assessment of the claim language... Even so, such a discussion is not necessarily a prerequisite to the grant of summary judgment.

"Where the record adequately supports the judgment, the district court does not have an obligation to recite every detail of its reasoning." Lexion Med. LLC v. Northgate Techs, Inc., 641 F.3d 1352, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2011).

Enough said.

While no meritorious reasoning need be applied, the panel opinions were not content-free. Judge Mayer went off the rails in wanting to invalidate the patents via ยง101. The majority rebuffed it as lacking "judicial restraint." Not to mention that such a ruling would have been sua sponte at the appeal level, with no previous consideration.

There was this gem of tautological admission.

When it comes to explaining what is to be understood by "abstract ideas" in terms that are something less than abstract, courts have been less successful.

Simply put, individuals and small companies are not allowed to own valuable patents in this country. The courts will take them away to preserve the status quo plutocracy. They will be invalidated and thus put into the public domain. This case is exemplary of many others in the past few years.

Posted by Patent Hawk at March 6, 2012 10:18 PM | Prior Art