July 25, 2013

Model Order

In assertion, patent holders sling whatever they can at whoever they can. Par for the course of exploitative capitalism. But, as part of their war on patents (excepting those owned by large corporations), the CAFC issued a "model order" instructing trial courts to summarily dismiss seemingly redundant claims. Beside the sheer denial of legal right, this order contradicted Tafas v. Doll (CAFC 2009), which explicitly set no limit on claim assertion.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:13 PM | Litigation

January 16, 2013

Incompetence Personified

In Smith & Nephew v. Arthrex, Oregon district court Judge Michael W. Mosman displayed his bias and incompetence once again. A plutocratic conservative, his sympathy is always for corporations accused of patent infringement. This case has gone through three trials, owing to Mosman's inability to decently construe claims or act impartially. When a jury found in Smith's favor, Mosman simply overturned it as a matter of law, without any opinion. A CAFC panel reversed and remanded for yet another round. (CAFC 2012-1265)

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:27 PM | Litigation

December 11, 2012

Mootness

The overbearing bumbling of the CAFC is ceaseless. In Nissim v. Clearplay (CAFC 2012-118), a panel majority reverses a district court's dismissal of overseeing a settlement as moot, while the dissent points out that "the district court was never, and is not now, obligated to retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. This is particularly true here because the court determined that continuing to assert jurisdiction would not foster judicial economy." The majority opinion is rife with specious logic, misapprehension of fact, bias, and has no meaningful basis in law. For example, after pointing out "that the [district] court was exasperated with the parties," the CAFC majority claims that its own opinion "does not depend on a court's opinion of the litigants or of counsel." How disingenuous: to assert that something which bothers does not matter a whit; especially when the upshot of the ruling is to simply remand for further annoyance, while reminding the district court that it may do as it pleases, as long as it minds its tone.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:17 PM | Litigation

November 21, 2011

Kentucky Bluegrass

The Federal bench is well stocked with judges too stupid to rule prudentially, instead indulging their bias. Case in point: Stephen Byrne v. Wood Herron & Evans (WHE). Grass trimmer inventor Byrne sued Black & Decker for infringement in Eastern Kentucky, getting mowed down in summary judgment on non-infringement. The district judge showed himself a rube in thrall to the corporation by using a plain dictionary for claim construction rather than follow Phillips v. AWH. Byrne then sued his firm, WHE, for not getting him the patent coverage he deserved. The judge then showed blatant bias to the attorneys.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:10 PM | Litigation

April 29, 2011

Domination Abomination

Fabled economist Adam Smith, inventor of "the invisible hand" of capitalism, held the commonplace mentality of Enlightenment thought: that commerce promoted more civilized behavior; that virtuous behavior was actually promoted by self-interest. For Smith, liberation was had in commercial society by replacing feudal relations with the cash nexus: contractual relations that limit the entitlement of men to dominate one another; Smith forgetting entirely that, under capitalism, slavery simply got codified as mercantile. Patents are an entitlement, though not to dominate. Unless your behavior is Microsoftian - a behavior form, if civilized, nonetheless has Mr. Smith spinning in his grave.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:09 PM | Litigation

February 7, 2011

Justice Backstop

Patent practitioners should be grateful for the CAFC. It is the backstop to lunacy at lower depth, as district court judges are a random draw of competence. Prior to the CAFC, the same observation could be applied to patent appeals courts, as they were taken at the different districts. It was the cacophony of conflicting precedent that led to the CAFC's creation in 1981. But patent cases are not the only realm where the CAFC provides a sanity check.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:18 PM | Litigation

January 12, 2011

Divorced

Divorce involves paperwork. In this case, Juris Zanis Pupols divorced himself from reality long before he filed his patent application for "controllable reciprocating Ac/Dc powered specialty products for life enhancement," which he abandoned for failure to pay the requisite application fee. He petitioned to revive "on account of unavoidable delay." Alas, the claimed delay was not to have lost his mind and just found it. That, at least, would have gotten a laugh, if not sympathy. Instead, Pupols got taken seriously, and not sympathetically enough. At least to Pupols' way of thinking.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:47 PM | Litigation | Comments (13)

January 11, 2011

How to Bamboozle A Judge

Claim construction ought to be formulaic: take the plain meaning of crucial claim terms, in view of the specification and prosecution history, absent prosecution disclaimer (which would narrow claim scope). "Courts must not import limitations into the claims" is a hoary axiom. Yet that is exactly the formula to bamboozle a district court judge, as part of a two-step to noninfringement. With much practice as defendant, Microsoft seems to have mastered this dance, to a tune to which judges are sometimes legally tone deaf. It particularly helps when a patent holder, in the claim construction dance, has two left feet.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:50 PM | Litigation | Comments (7)

January 5, 2011

Saddle Up

Rattlesnakes still saunter by the side of the road in east Texas, but the biggest of them all doesn't want to be there: Microsoft. Continuing its crusade against the local cottage industry of patent lawyers and barbequed jurisprudence in EDTX, Microsoft got another case uprooted, this time to its home turf in western Washington. This after the limey plaintiff had bothered with the ruse of a shell company in Tyler Texas. The convenience of witnesses, notably corporate defense witnesses, places a heavy thumb on the scales to transfer. (CAFC 10-m944; precedential)

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:07 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

January 3, 2011

Trash

Reader of minds Sigmund Freud once observed, "most people are trash." So it is with litigators, sworn officers of the Court, that practice character assassination, and judges, the Court incarnate, that buy into it. Fortunately, some judges see through it. TXED Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham granted a new trial in Commil USA v. Cisco Systems, "based on statements made by defense counsel during trial regarding the Jewish faith of one of plaintiff's owners and its client representative, including references to dietary rules and the trial of Jesus."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:35 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

October 3, 2010

Ordinary & Extreme

The childishness of corporations is no better illustrated than in patent litigation, where, instead of coming to cross-license, the little boys fight it out in court. For their fat fees, lawyers egg this sort of thing on. So it was with Extreme Networks and Enterasys. Then again, what would you expect of a company whose imagination runs so vacant as to name itself "extreme." In this battle, Enterasys held the short straw at district court: asserted 5,195,181 & 5,430,727 were found not infringed in summary judgment. Enterasys's expert excluded from testifying was salt in the wound. Appeal was but slight relief from the grief.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:50 PM | Claim Construction | Comments (2)

September 25, 2010

Snoop & Tell

Computer Cache Coherency Corporation's ("CCCC") sued Intel and Via for infringing 5,072,369, which claims a cache that has a "SNOOP signal telling." The inevitable claim construction controversy was over whether the tell was a processor must-do, or a processor may-do. CCCC ignored the abstract and specification to argue the tell as a hint, not a command. The district court held the tell as a command. From that CCCC conceded non-infringement, but in denial (someone always is), appealed the claim construction. Affirmed (CAFC 2010-1040). Non-precedential, but the CAFC summary judgment dictum is worth retelling:

This court approves summary judgment when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. This court reviews a grant of summary judgment of non-infringement without deference. O2 Micro Int'l, Ltd. v. Monolithic Power Sys., 467 F.3d 1355, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2006).

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:52 PM | Litigation

May 4, 2010

Black Hole Swab

Allegra D. Hemphill was granted 4,557,720 for a "vaginal swab." "Ms. Hemphill has prosecuted a number of actions and appeals based on the '720 patent, none of which has been successful." She tried again in 2007 against Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble for their sanitary napkins products. Ms. Hemphill unmistakably disclaimed sanitary napkins during prosecution. DC district court enjoined her from any further suits against the defendants. The appeals court affirmed (CAFC 2010-1047, nonprecedential). Another case showing that their are no junk patents, only junk people.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:01 PM | Litigation | Comments (8)

July 27, 2009

Last Hurrah

Martin Reiffin was a former patent attorney at IBM, who pulled a patented claim to multithreading out of the PTO 15 years after his original application filing date of 1982. A seriously vile junk patent. He then sued Microsoft over Word's spelling checker. With lack of spec support for his claims in his '82 brew, and new matter pulling his effective filing date to 1994, Reiffin lost first in court, leaving but a reexam for residue. Still, he doggedly and shamelessly pursued it. Today the last dog died, as his CAFC appeal over reexam flew south, leaving only droppings behind. A disgraceful man got his due.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:54 PM | Litigation | Comments (14)

July 8, 2009

Fishy

The single claim of 4,781,930 is a method of immersing fresh fish filet in vegetable oil, draining the oil off, sprinkling crumbs on it, then freezing it. If that sounds nasty, the patent case behind it is even nastier. Alfred and Paul Fraser, acting pro se, sued 11 companies over the expired patent. For the Frasers, upon a trip to the supermarket, having oil in the list of ingredients of a frozen fish product was enough to accuse infringement.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:20 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

July 6, 2009

Exceptional?

Microsoft licensed encryption patents from TecSec. The negotiated license included a proviso, initiated by Microsoft, called the "Reserved Scenario," that would let it pay a lower royalty for not using a particular technology: encryption of less than an entire file (sub-file encryption). Microsoft represented to TecSec that it was not using sub-file encryption. Microsoft then publicly announced that it would. Microsoft attorney Kevin Luo wrote TecSec to let them know that the products mentioned, InfoPath and .NET 2.0, "were publicly distributed prior to the Agreement."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:46 PM | Litigation

July 3, 2009

Gift from the Dead

5,761,645 claims a "system for enabling delivery of insurance gift payments" to beneficiaries. Owner Equitable Life & Casualty Insurance has sued rival American National Insurance over it, as part of an ongoing enforcement campaign. Other insurance companies have been taken to task over '645, and settled. The patent is likely invalid, for mixing claim types (system and method), as well as its obviousness.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:40 PM | Litigation | Comments (5)

June 26, 2009

Rich-Media Invalidity

Another junk patent is on the prowl. How Neil Balthaser was allowed 7,000,180, claiming methods for creating and editing rich-media, is beyond rational explanation. There is a ton of prior art invalidating the patent. Balthaser has a four suits in East Texas with a slew of defendants. Network Solutions just settled, terms undisclosed.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:40 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

June 21, 2009

Ink Spilled

Printer makers follow the razor blade business model: the razor is a loss leader to the highly profitable blades. So, with inkjet printers, the lucre accrues from selling the ink. To wit, Seiko Epson has just sued six inking infringers over its ink cartridge patents. Epson recently won a tentative ruling at the ITC over a few parties in its suite attack against two dozen companies from China, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea and the U.S. Epson has filed five suits in the recent past, four in the District of Oregon, a somewhat sleepy but quite competent district for patent adjudication.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:17 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

June 19, 2009

Unspooled

Emsat has a patent enforcement campaign against wireless providers such as Sprint Nextel, Verizon, Alltel, AT&T and T-Mobile. The claimed technology is an FCC requirement: determining the location of cell phones, one (the required) use being for emergency response networks. Sprint prompted a reexamination, and won a stay on that basis. In their case, AT&T and T-Mobile sought a stay for the same reason, expressing confidence: "It is highly likely that the re-examination by the PTO of the patents-in-suit will substantially narrow or even eliminate the issues confronting the parties and court in the instant cases." "Highly likely" turned to mush. The PTO balked at the reexam, for all but a few claims not asserted. Emsat had been so confidence that it hadn't even opposed the stay. Sometimes silence is golden.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:27 PM | Litigation | Comments (5)

June 7, 2009

Litigation Bible

The "Patent Case Management Judicial Guide" is a stellar compendium covering all aspects of patent litigation, not just judicial case management. Professor Peter S. Menell at U.C. Berkeley School of Law headed this collaborative effort. Highly recommended. And a free download!

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:53 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

June 4, 2009

Double Coverage

Heather Knox has a 36C breast size, and isn't shy about sharing that fact with the world. "I'm 40. Gravity has taken its toll on me. Even at 30, gravity had taken its toll on me." Ms. Knox wanted anti-gravity support, so she combined a push-up bra with a full coverage bra, and burst a seam with 7,074,108. After getting '108 in July 2006, Ms. Knox allegedly presented her idea to Victoria's Secret's head bra designer, in January 2007. No licensing came of it. But Victoria's Secret now has a bra for sale, the BioFit 7-Way, with a two-piece sling design that bears striking resemblance. Victoria's Secret now also has a patent suit. Ms. Knox appears not shy at all.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:52 PM | Litigation | Comments (4)

June 2, 2009

Replay

TiVo bludgeoned EchoStar with its patents, winning at trial in 2006 and on appeal in 2008. EchoStar wouldn't settle, and TiVo got a temporary injunction. EchoStar supposedly developed a workaround. But TiVo alleged it was a faux workaround. A bench trial in February has resulted in a ruling today from East Texas Judge Folsom that EchoStar is in contempt of court, with an order that the company stop using TiVo technology (aka permanent injunction). And, oh yeah, add $103 million plus interest through April 2008 for additional damages, on top of the $105 million previously awarded. The cost of contempt of court will be tallied and tacked on at a later date.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:56 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

May 29, 2009

Still in Diapers

The impulse to see what you can get away with strikes infants of all ages. In Boss Industries v. Yamaha Motor, both sides displayed a touch of the syndrome. Boss sued Yamaha for infringing three snowmobile seat patents. Boss lost on claim construction; easily affirmed on appeal. Any decent due diligence by Boss and they would have never brought suit. On the other side, as the CAFC opined, "Yamaha's discovery practices were less than commendable... This type of conduct during litigation is unacceptable and reflects a lack of respect for both the opposing party and the court." (CAFC 2008-1311)

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:50 PM | Litigation

May 26, 2009

Typo

In 1991, Peter Hochstein and Jeffrey Tenenbaum came up with the idea of playing networked video games and chatting simultaneously. 5,292,125 resulted. In 2002, Microsoft launched an online Xbox gaming service that did just that. Litigation ensued in 2004. Living down to its litigation reputation, Microsoft dumped 143,733 discovery document pages on the other side, five weeks late, with no index. The delay was prompted by Microsoft objecting to a discovery request because of a typo, when Microsoft knew all along what was being asked for.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:33 PM | Litigation

May 25, 2009

Extraordinary No More

"The writ of mandamus is available in extraordinary situations to correct a clear abuse of discretion or usurpation of judicial power. In re Calmar, Inc., 854 F.2d 461, 464 (Fed. Cir. 1998)." Not any more. The high courts are regularly disingenuous in attempting to maintain a myth of continuity. Before the slippery slope greased by the Fifth Circuit's Volkswagen matter, the grease supplied by perceived political pressure, and the subsequent CAFC patent case of TS Tech, transfer motions for patent cases away from a plaintiff's chosen venue regularly failed. Now as often as not they succeed. Herein, a case in point.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:28 AM | Litigation

May 18, 2009

Projecting Junk

The lament by so-called patent reformers is that pissant patent holders assert junk patents. Well, so do supposedly respectable companies. Seiko Epson sued Coretronic for patents related to display projectors for DVD players and computers. Coretronic counter-claimed with its own patents. Now, thanks to prior art search by the other side, all seven patents involved have been dropped or ruled invalid in summary judgment. One of Epson's patents was ruled a clunker in light of one of its own products.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:40 PM | Litigation | Comments (4)

Tune Hunter

Tune Hunter has set its sights on Shazam for infringing 6,941,275. Shazam, for many portable devices such as the iPhone, lets a user record a short snippet of a song, identifies the song by comparing the snippet with a database, and gives song information, including title, artist, and album. Tune Hunter is targeting a host of prey, including Samsung, Apple, Amazon.com, Napster, Motorola, Gracenote, Cellco Partnership, Verizon Wireless, LG Electronics, AT&T Mobility, and Pantech Wireless for promoting Shazam. When a company has you in its crosshairs, call Patent Hawk to swoop down and kill the hunter.

Posted by Mr. Platinum at 10:45 AM | Litigation

May 15, 2009

Spinach

Going so swimmingly well, it was getting downright creepy. Claim construction in the can: simple, straightforward, invincible. After exhaustive search and defendant's invalidity contentions, no prior art worth spitting on. In the sun on 101. Still, the chill. It was too easy. Today, thank goodness, divine intervention.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:49 PM | Litigation | Comments (12)

May 10, 2009

Stayed

SP Technologies started an enforcement campaign for 6,784,873, claiming a graphical touch screen keyboard that automatically disappears "after the desired input is received." SP sued Samsung and HTC. Samsung settled. HTC got up on its hind legs, filed an inter partes reexamination, and motioned to stay litigation, which East Illinois district court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan granted.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:03 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

May 5, 2009

This Round

Rivals Monsanto and DuPont have battled over patents through the years. In the late 1990s, Monsanto went after DuPont for breaching a licensing agreement on pest-resistant corn, resulting in a revised licensing agreement. In 2002, DuPont licensed Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed technology, which allows crops to be sprayed with herbicide Roundup and survive. DuPont came up with its own Optimum GAT herbicide resistant trait for soybeans and corn, but found out in field tests it wasn't quite up to snuff. So, DuPont stacked the Roundup Ready trait on top of the Optimum GAT trait, and found it plow-worthy. Monsanto found it complaint worthy.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:05 PM | Litigation

April 17, 2009

27

Gary Odom was a software developer for 20 years, and had some patentable ideas beginning in the late 1980s, but lacked the resources to patent them. When he got a chance to work in the patent field, he jumped on it. Months after going to work for a patent boutique in Portland Oregon, he started filing, pro se, patents of his own inventions, starting with modular software construction, then web personalization. Looks like his third patent family might worth something. Odom invented active tool groups, which Microsoft popularized with its Office 2007 Ribbon. In an ongoing licensing campaign, having previously filed suit against Microsoft and Autodesk, today Odom filed against 28 other infringers.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:09 PM | Litigation | Comments (43)

April 16, 2009

Potato Row to be Hoed in Seattle

In the case of Pace International LLC v. Industrial Ventilation, Inc., currently planted in Washington State, Judge Lasnik recently denied Defendants' motion to transfer the case to Idaho, despite all the spuds being based there.

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Posted by Mark Walters at 3:40 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

April 14, 2009

Star Crossed

In 2001, smokeless tobacco maker Star Scientific sued R.J. Reynolds over patents for lower carcinogens while curing tobacco. Maryland district court Judge Marvin Garbis found Star guilty of inequitable conduct. In a landmark ruling, the CAFC overturned. Then, in hopes of further delay, RJR tried to put the patents out to pasture on reexam. But trial is set for May 18, while the reexam smolders on. The most recent curveball from RJR: a motion to deny Star a chance to present its damages theory to the jury.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:42 PM | Litigation

Low Blow to MoFo

Last Wednesday, former Morrison & Foerster client Ecast sued MoFo for no mojo in Ecast's to-and-fro with Arachnid and Rowe, who had sued Ecast for jukebox patent infringement. Ecast, claiming legal malpractice, wants its money back: a "staggering" $4.8 million in attorneys fees for what it considers a hopelessly botched defense.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:30 AM | Litigation

April 10, 2009

Tagged

Singapore-based Uniloc sued Microsoft in 2003 over 5,490,216, which claims a system for software product activation, which Microsoft uses in its Windows operating systems (XP, Windows Server 2003) and Office (XP version). '216 has a 1992 priority date. Wednesday, a Rhode Island jury found the patent valid, and Microsoft willfully infringing. The tab: $388 million, with $194 million attributable to foreign activations.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:22 AM | Litigation | Comments (3)

April 6, 2009

Foto Finish

FotoMedia is on a tear over web-based photo sharing. Four suits have been filed, two in mid-2007and two the middle of last year, totaling 66 defendants. 6,018,774; 6,542,936; and 6,871,231 asserted. Defendants are settling like flies on stink. Well over a dirty dozen have settled, the latest being Kaboose, Bubbleshare, and BabyZone. Makes you wonder if FotoMedia is giving a discount to companies with goofy names. All settlements hush-hush and on the Q.T., naturally.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:53 PM | Litigation

April 2, 2009

Junk Fax

A decent patent turns junky when its holder sues without due diligence. Joseph Kirsch had sent letters to Canon and Xerox about his computer fax patent, 4,816,911, in 1995. Canon didn't bother to respond, but Xerox told Kirsch no license was needed. In 2000, Kirsch sued Xerox, Canon, Ricoh and Toshiba.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:18 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

March 31, 2009

Smokin'

In its long-running patent battle with Star Scientific, R.J. Reynolds got its butt snuffed trying to put a jury trial on hold pending reexam of Star's patents. Maryland Judge Marvin J. Garbis denied RJR's motion. Trial is set for May 18. The district court had found Star's asserted patents unenforceable for inequitable conduct, a ruling overturned on appeal. Likewise a finding of indefiniteness. With the patents back in play, RJR filed the reexam, hoping for delay.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:34 PM | Litigation

March 25, 2009

Feeling Taken

Slapped with millions in fees over failed patent litigation, E-Pass has served a lawsuit on its former lawyers: primary counsel Moses & Singer, along with local counsel Squire Sanders & Dempsey. New counsel James Rosen of Rosen Saba: "In advising E-Pass to file and maintain their patent infringement claim, they spent $10 million in legal fees and costs without a sound basis to make the elemental case of patent infringement." No mention was made of personal responsibility for one's own actions.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:08 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

March 18, 2009

Kindled

Discovery Communications, parent of the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, has asserted 7,298,851 against Amazon's Kindle electronic reader. '851 was filed in September 1999, a CIP, and issued November 2007. A goodly amount of cited art. The '851 claims are rather well drafted, with many various dependent claims, but are nonetheless open to obviousness attack. Owing to the popularity of the device, the press will be following what is otherwise a mundane case. Suit filed in Delaware, Discovery's home turf.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:10 PM | Litigation | Comments (8)

March 5, 2009

Hanging Tree

Software Tree has asserted the fortified 6,163,776 against HP, Red Hat, Genuitec and Dell. '776 claims data exchange between an object-oriented system and a relational database. Red Hat is on the hook for willfulness, as it was aware of the patent as prior art for technology it's being sued for in another patent suit. Bad juju for Red Hat.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:14 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

March 4, 2009

Jumpy

Northern California district court Judge Ronald Whyte today upheld the March 2008 jury verdict that Rambus' failure to disclose its patent plans to a standards group (JEDEC) meant nothing: "Consistent with the jury's finding, the court agrees that Rambus made no misrepresentations and uttered no deceptive half-truths to JEDEC and its members." This in a memory patent enforcement case against Korea-based Hynix and others. Share prices for Rambus stock shot up 9% on the news.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:12 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

March 3, 2009

Guitar Zero

High from whiffing its own fumes of patent power, guitar maker Gibson threatened, and then sued, retailers selling Activision's Guitar Hero video game. Activision had the vision to activate a declaratory judgment action. Sizzling with the right riffs, the judge in the case late last week rocked Gibson's patent potential into the boneyard, as the patent only applies to analog output, the judge decided. "As a general observation, no reasonable person of ordinary skill in the relevant arts would interpret the '405 patent as covering interactive video games." Under Gibson's construction, Central California Judge Mariana Pfaelzer noted, the claims could apply to pressing a "button of a DVD remote... to a pencil tapping a table." Rock on.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:07 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

March 1, 2009

Whoopspool

In January 2008, Whirlpool put LG Electronics before the ITC, and in Delaware district court, for infringing five refrigerator patents. The best day for the plaintiff was the day they filed, at least before the ITC. As the flowers bloomed in May, Whirlpool's wilted, dropping two, as Whirlpool conceded their invalidity. September blew in. Leaves fell, as did two more patents before the ITC, as LG agreed to tweak its design. This past week, the ITC administrative judge crushed the ice bin patent assertion for noninfringement (6,082,130). Meanwhile, the district court case remains scheduled for trial March 2010. At least for now.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:19 PM | Litigation

February 26, 2009

Delay

Companies are merely individuals acting in concert, with no more scruples than they have individually. As often as not, group think leads to sinking to a lower common denominator: scruple lite. Belonging to a larger group empowers little shitbirds to spread their wings and leave their droppings en masse. A reflection of the human condition, patent cases too often read as a morality tale.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:46 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

February 25, 2009

Drumming

Microsoft today filed patent infringement suits against TomTom, Amsterdam-based maker of vehicle navigation GPS systems, both in Washington district court, and the ITC. Eight patents are asserted: five on navigation, three on file management. Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez claimed that Microsoft has been trying to engage TomTom in licensing talks for over a year.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:37 PM | Litigation | Comments (5)

February 18, 2009

No Noise Reduction

Headphone makers Bose and Lightspeed haven't come up to speed for a complete cross-licensing of their noise-reduction technologies, so they keep at each other. In 2002, Lightspeed settled with Bose over an Oregon court battle, Lightspeed's home turf. Bose agreed to lay off Lightspeed for improvements to Lightspeed's headsets.  In 2007, Lightspeed came out with its new Zulu model. So Bose has just plugged Lightspeed into a suit in Boston, Bose's home boombox, alleging Zulu is not just an improvement, covered under the previous agreement, but new technology infringing Bose's 5,181,252, which is a rather old patent (filed 1991). Bose is already blaring at other headphone makers at the ITC over '252.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:08 AM | Litigation

February 3, 2009

Xboxed

Two years ago, Paltalk sued Microsoft for infringing 5,822,523, which claims group messaging. Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service, is accused. Following claim construction, Microsoft sought summary judgment of invalidity based on prior art. Paltalk retorted that Microsoft was pitching piss-poor art. Yesterday, district court Judge Folsom (ED Texas) agreed, finding that a reasonable jury would be skeptical about the prior art, and "even if the evidence before the court was sufficient to prove anticipation, this court would still deny Microsoft's motion as that evidence is not sufficiently corroborated by reliable documentary or physical evidence." Game on.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:32 PM | Litigation

February 2, 2009

Foliation

Former patent office Commissioner Jon W. Dudas has found a home with Foley & Lardner. In apparently unrelated matters, former clients of Foley have filed suit against the firm. The complaint is that the firm failed to adequate represent their interests in a patent litigation, and overcharged them for the privilege. This new suit follows on another pending conflict-of-interest assertion, by Vaxiion Therapeutics, that charges Foley prosecuted its patents while also assisting its competitor, EnGeneIC.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:11 PM | Patents In Business

Pyrrhic Victory

In arguing the right to enforce slavery, Microsoft achieved a pyrrhic victory by transfer from Texas to Oregon in Odom v. Microsoft. With transfer, Microsoft has shot itself, delaying further court ruling that Odom has a valid and enforceable patent infringed by a central feature of Microsoft's Fluent User Interface. Companies adopting the interface must wonder whether it's worth the risk adopting a patented technology which Microsoft is ambitiously marketing and licensing, but over which Microsoft has no control.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:59 AM | Litigation | Comments (11)

January 20, 2009

The Bible

Every once in a blue moon something incredibly good happens. Now on tap, in draft, not quite bottled, is the "Patent Case Management Judicial Guide," a rather incredible compendium covering all aspects of patent litigation, not just judicial case management.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:35 PM | Litigation

Nosedive

2008 will be remembered as the crashdown year in the 2nd Great Depression. The old saw is that patent lawsuits are immune from recession, but the 2008 numbers tell a different story. 2,605 patent suits were filed in 2008, down 8% from 2007. 2008 through July saw a 2% rise. But in the last five months of 2008, filings plunged 23% from a year earlier.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:08 PM | Litigation

January 9, 2009

Oprah

Scott C. Harris was reputedly booted by Fish & Richardson for asserting his patent, 7,111,252, against Google. Now Oprah's Harpo Productions is being sued. The patent claims partial book review over the Internet. Oprah's Book Club web site offers book previews.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:54 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

December 26, 2008

Mundane

Indubitably unbiased, InformationWeek's Microsoft blogger, Dave Methvin, laments small fry with software patents. "It seems like every few months, some obscure company is awarded a patent for some relatively mundane idea, then turns around and sues the companies that have been using it... It's a shame that companies can exploit the patent system to prevent advances in software."

Continue reading "Mundane"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:01 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

December 16, 2008

Nipped in the Bud

Anheuser-Busch settled a lawsuit brought by a Quebec company asserting 6,852,191, claiming a double-sided label technology. The only comment on the settlement from a relieved A-B attorney was "mutually agreeable terms," and perhaps a mumbled "it's Miller time."

Continue reading "Nipped in the Bud"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:52 PM | Litigation

December 4, 2008

Rutabaga

Samy Gharb fell off the turnip truck and wandered into the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. After having his patent assertion against Unitronics squashed flatter than hammered shit, including "a permanent injunction to preclude Gharb from threatening Unitronics and its customers with infringement litigation," Gharb, unable to read the legal dictum on the wall, appealed.

Continue reading "Rutabaga"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:40 AM | Litigation | Comments (4)

November 30, 2008

Frivolous

Triune Star sued Disney, LG Electronics, and others, for infringing 6,122,521, which claims an infrared cell phone camera. Triune conceded that defendants didn't have such a product, thus didn't literally infringe. Due to prosecution estoppel, Illinois district court Judge Mihm blew off the possibility of doctrine of equivalents. He then pitched the case as frivolous, and sanctioned Triune, granting defendants attorneys fees and costs.

Continue reading "Frivolous"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:08 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

November 25, 2008

Zemplar

The laugh riot of Abbott and Costello quieted when years of drinking rot-gut begat Costello chronic kidney failure. Interstellar quasar TV transmission from earth to Qo'noS, Klingon home world, made the comedy duo a cross-species phenomenon. Few humans could so touch the funny bone of Klingons, owing partly to the fact that the Klingon funny bone is quite tiny.

Continue reading "Zemplar"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:03 AM | Litigation | Comments (2)

October 28, 2008

Venue Chopping

Earlier this month, a Texas product liability case, over an auto accident, In re Volkswagen, has raised a specter that venue transfer may be more easily accomplished in patent litigations. The specific stir is that patents suits may be pried from the Eastern District of Texas, a "rocket docket" venue popular for its jurisprudential economy, owing to efficient case management and concentrated experience with patent cases. For precisely those reasons, and others, Volkswagen is largely inapplicable to patent suits.

Continue reading "Venue Chopping"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:39 PM | Litigation

Belated Inventor

Oren Tavory might have been a co-inventor in the patents that net NTP $612.5 million from Research in Motion (RIM). Code he helped write was part of the parent patent application. Tavory was deposed in the NTP patent litigation, but didn't state an inventorship claim then. But after NTP won the RIM lotto, which Tavory found savory, he changed his mind. Too late.

Continue reading "Belated Inventor"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:38 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

October 25, 2008

Money Talks

Aaron D. Clark, 37, invented the talking poster, which responds to a button touch. 5,548,272 et cetera. Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema and others licensed the technology, for movies such as Batman, Austin Powers, and music groups such as 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys. Clark pursued Disney for a license in the mid-90s, to no avail. This past summer, Clark's mom spotted a singing Hannah Montana poster while shopping for a gift for Clark's five-year-old daughter. Hannah Montana is a Disney character. Clark has filed a complaint in his home stomping grounds, Columbus Ohio.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:25 PM | Litigation

October 24, 2008

Brewed

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters subsidiary Keurig invented a disposable single-serving filter cartridge, suitable for hot drinks such as coffee, tea, and hot cocoa, invention embodied in 6,607,762 and 7,377,162. Keurig sued Kraft Foods in January 2007 for infringement. Kraft just settled for $17 million.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:17 PM | Litigation

October 16, 2008

Shoxing

Wal-Mart sells a fitness shoe, doubtlessly made in China, that looks strikingly a knock-off of Nike's patented Shox shoe - D498,914 and D499,248, to be precise. Oregon-based Nike, doing a bit of venue shopping, filed its complaint in the Northern District of Illinois. The complaint, replete with comparative patent drawings to photos, is a beauty of damnation.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:41 PM | Litigation

October 12, 2008

Persistent

Last week, Colorado district court Judge Matsch (pictured) got fed up with McDermott, Will & Emery for its representation of Medtronic against BrainLAB in a surgical instruments patent case. Judge Matsch ordered the law firm and Medtronic to pay $4.3 million in attorneys fees, punishment for "abuse of advocacy," namely, arguing to the jury outside of claim construction.

Continue reading "Persistent"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:43 PM | Litigation

October 6, 2008

A View from the Court

CAFC Judge Alan D. Lourie spoke to the Virginia State Bar IP Section last week.

For the past couple of decades, we have been in the midst of what many of us have called the golden age of intellectual property. Patents and copyrights have been recognized as important contributors to our system of industrial innovation and they have been readily enforced by the courts, which wasn't always the case historically, at least for patents. I used to issue cautionary warnings, though, in speeches to attorney groups, not to press their luck; don't overassert patents because sooner or later the pendulum might swing back. Well, the pendulum has now swung, and how far and to what result no one knows. The press now routinely talks about problems in the patent system, often including our court as part of the problem.

Continue reading "A View from the Court"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:12 PM | Litigation

September 5, 2008

Just Walk Away PA

PA Advisors got its hands on 6,199,067, saddled up the palomino, and rode on down to East Texas, aiming to get a little from Microsoft subsidiaries, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and others. After chatting with Facebook, PA took a powder, deciding not to pursue the suit further. No coin changes hands. Each party bears fees and costs.

Continue reading "Just Walk Away PA"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:49 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

September 4, 2008

Old Art Never Dies

A common patent litigation strategy has been to seek reexamination after losing in court, as in the case herein. Defendant counsel has more rhetorical power before the court, as contrasted to a single injection to the PTO for reexam, after which the patentee tries to hold granted ground while an infringer watches from the sidelines. And a post-verdict reexam is as much for spite as anything, as it doesn't necessarily turn back the clock.

Today's CAFC ruling should flip the litigation-first/reexam-last-ditch strategy on its head: scorching prior art search to reexam first, pleading a stay of litigation pending reexam outcome. That's because court validation is not subject to reconsideration from PTO invalidation, but a PTO kill terminally damns. Further, previously cited art can be rehashed in reexam.

Laying yet another brick of fortification against junk patents, the CAFC clarifies the power of reexamination as a "quality check."

Continue reading "Old Art Never Dies"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:44 PM | Prosecution | Comments (1)

September 2, 2008

Down with the Docket

With its natural panache of rip and snort for the court, the Statistics Division for the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts released its annual report: "Judicial Business of the United States Courts." Using the hoary Roma system, the latest stats run in a calendar year skewed to September 2007. 2,896 patent complaints in 2007, up a 2.3% bit from 2006 (2,830), with 250 filed in the Eastern District of Texas. 2004 was the bumper crop, at 3,075. 408 patent suits celebrated 3 years on the docket in 2007, up from 353 in 2006. 34 USPTO BPAI decisions pending appeal before the CAFC, down from 51 the previous year. The reversal rates on appeal ran less than 20% in 2007, both from district court and BPAI, quite a dip from earlier times.

Continue reading "Down with the Docket"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:17 PM | Litigation

August 26, 2008

High Stakes High Definition

Orinda has filed against Sony for its Blu-ray high-definition DVD players. 5,438,560 claims basic optical disk recording, accounting for bad disk sectors. Complaint filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

Continue reading "High Stakes High Definition"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:16 PM | Litigation

Unsettling

The application of statistics is relatively simple. Statistics is taught at college for many fields. But properly applying statistics seems to elude many. A recent patent reexamination analysis by lawyers is exemplary: a small sample size of biased data, rendering it rather meaningless. But the statistically-challenged authors reported the results as conclusive. Another study, on civil lawsuit settlements, suffers the same flaw. There at least the authors admit the data base as flawed, but regardless paint a brave face on tainted data.

Continue reading "Unsettling"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:07 AM | Litigation | Comments (6)

August 20, 2008

The Marshall Plan

Crucial reading for those interested in the notable docket of rocket, the Eastern District of Texas, in this week's Texas Lawyer. With 232 patent cases filed in Marshall in the past year, trial dates for filing there are now running to 2012. Judge T. John Ward's patent litigation mill is slowing, but faring.

Continue reading "The Marshall Plan"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:11 AM | Litigation

August 18, 2008

Tool Groups

Inventor Gary Odom, founder of Patent Hawk, has asserted 7,363,592 against Microsoft. '592 claims a feature of the tool groups used in the Office 2007 tool ribbon. '592 has a priority date of November 2000. Complaint filed in the Eastern District of Texas. Odom is represented by Susman Godfrey.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:13 PM | Litigation | Comments (10)

Googled

GraphOn has sued Google in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing four patents related to network servers: 6,324,538; 6,850,940; 7,028,034; and 7,269,591. GraphOn has sued before with this portfolio, and wrestled a settlement recently out of hapless AutoTrader.com. Other defendants, including Yahoo! and Match.com, fight on.

Continue reading "Googled"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:15 AM | Litigation

August 12, 2008

Blue Ray

Acacia subsidiary Digital Security Systems likes the high-definition Blu-Ray DVD technology so much, it wants a piece of the action. 6,052,780 claims copy protection which the patent holder considers incorporated into Blu-Ray players. Complaint filed in the Eastern District of Texas, seeking reasonable royalty. Defendants for the action flick include Samsung, Best Buy, Denon, Funai, LG, Matsushita, Panasonic, Phillips, Pioneer, and Sharp.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:57 PM | Litigation

August 8, 2008

Sensation

Kazuhiro Okada, inventor of 6,512,364, assigned the patent to Saitama, Japan-based Wacoh last month. '364 claims methods for testing sensors. Wednesday, Wacoh filed a complaint in the Western District of Wisconsin against auto makers GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Honda, Mazda, and Suzuki. Toyota is notable by its absence. The prayer for relief is "no less than a reasonable royalty."

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:07 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

August 2, 2008

Tossed Salad

Sollami sued Kennametal over three patents. Kennametal was granted a stay pending USPTO examination of a reissue application of one of the asserted patents. Sollami appealed. In a non-precedential decision, CAFC ruled that a stay is not appealable, unless it puts the patent owner "out of court."

Continue reading "Tossed Salad"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:45 PM | Litigation

July 16, 2008

Slow

Dr. Olivia N. Serdarevic claims she was an inventor in six patents for laser eye surgery, owned by VISX, a subsidiary of Advanced Medical Optics. Serdarevic contacted VISX in 1998, and got an appropriate response, but failed to follow through until 2006, when she sued. Serdarevic pussyfooted long enough for laches to kick in.

Continue reading "Slow"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:14 PM | Litigation

July 15, 2008

Tipsy Stipulation

Dr. G. David Jang assigned 5,922,021 and 5,954,743 to Boston Scientific and SciMed Life Systems. The companies were supposed to pay royalties on products "covered by" (i.e., infringing) the patents. Jang sued because he thought he wasn't getting his share. Central California district court issued a claim construction. Before appeal, they all stipulated that Jang was out of luck if the claim construction held. But the agreed stipulation was ambiguous on crucial points. The appeals court threw up its hands, vacated the judgment, and remanded "for clarification." (CAFC 2007-1385)

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:45 PM | Litigation

July 7, 2008

Replay

The CAFC heard oral arguments today in the jury-trial fantasy $1.5 billion award to Alcatel-Lucent from Microsoft for infringing two MP3 audio patents. The district court judge pitched the jury verdict, finding non-infringement on one, and lack of standing on the other. Microsoft claims it licensed the patents from a German research institute for $16 million, which Alcatel terms impossible. The high award figure was based on worldwide Windows sales, an engorgement of revenue base that the Supreme Court disallowed in AT&T v. Microsoft.

Continue reading "Replay"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:51 PM | Litigation

July 4, 2008

Silver Bullet

Playing catch-up to Apple's QuickTime and Adobe Flash, Microsoft has been pushing Silverlight, its multimedia offering to let users watch video through their web browsers. Massachusetts-based Gotuit Media, a multimedia vendor, is having a go at Microsoft for infringing three patents, in the Northern District of California, which is usually considered defendant-friendly.

Continue reading "Silver Bullet"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:28 AM | Litigation

July 3, 2008

Pacing

Paice successfully sued Toyota for infringing hybrid vehicle drive train patents. Toyota couldn't get the verdict overturned on appeal, and SCOTUS blew them off. Not having the sense to settle, Toyota now faces a new suit.

Continue reading "Pacing"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:55 PM | Litigation | Comments (4)

July 1, 2008

Fishing Expedition

France-based Gillet Outillage sued Taiwan competitor Fisher Tool in central California over 6,189,190, claiming automobile pliers. Gillet suffered a narrow claim construction, so dropped the suit. Fisher lashed out for malicious prosecution under California law, and antitrust. The district court granted summary judgment for Gillet. Fisher appealed.

Continue reading "Fishing Expedition"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:21 AM | Litigation | Comments (2)

June 29, 2008

Doubled Over

Boehringer Ingelheim sued Barr and Mylan for infringing 4,886,812 after the two filed ANDAs seeking to market generic versions of Mirapex, used to treat Parkinson's disease. Delaware district court Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. penned a careful decision, invalidating the patent over nonstatutory double patenting.

Continue reading "Doubled Over"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:23 AM | Litigation

June 8, 2008

Enough

In a lucrative win-win only for respective law firms representing nimrod HP and upstart Acer, HP, with more to lose, backed down. The two computer firms have settled their patent spat. Terms undisclosed. HP had asserted ten patents against Acer in East Texas in March 2007, as well as sprouting an ITC investigation. Taiwan-based Acer counterclaimed in July with its own East Texas suit of seven patents.

Continue reading "Enough"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:37 PM | Litigation

June 7, 2008

Chorus

Patent licensing company Rembrandt IP cut its teeth in 2004, buying a nine-patent portfolio from Paradyne for $1 million. Paradyne was an AT&T spinoff. Eight of those patents went to cable modems, one to digital TV. Rembrandt then started an enforcement campaign, suing Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, Charter Communications, and Cox Communications, as well as the TV channels ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox.

Continue reading "Chorus"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:49 AM | Litigation

June 6, 2008

Demo Derby

Brian L. Evans let his oversized ego get in the way of a grab at the brass ring of patent payout. 4,398,735 claims a truck assembly for roller skates and skateboards. Evans was the inventor. Evans insisted in acting as his own attorney in convoluted litigation over a licensing agreement dispute with Roller Derby Skate, in violation of the "longstanding rule that corporations and other unincorporated associations must appear in court through an attorney."

Continue reading "Demo Derby"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:16 PM | Litigation

June 3, 2008

Slow Boat Arrives

After seven years of pretrial jockeying, Cornell University stuck HP with a $184 million tab, capping an eight-day jury trial in North New York, CAFC Judge Randall R. Rader slumming as presiding judge. Cornell succeeded with all five claims of the asserted patent. HP failed with its invalidity, patent exhaustion, and implied license defenses.

Continue reading "Slow Boat Arrives"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:51 PM | Litigation | Comments (6)

May 29, 2008

Malicious

The common approbation "junk patent" is typically stuck on "patent trolls," that is, inventors asserting their rights. Only rubes buy that. Companies regularly pitch junk at each other. Case in point: Dow Chemical, whose advertising tripe is "responsibility begins here," found guilty of malicious patent assertion.

Continue reading "Malicious"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:38 PM | Litigation

May 28, 2008

Bow to Light

Gertrude Neumark Rothschild developed a process necessary for making blue, green, violet and ultraviolet (high spectral) LEDs, used in many products, including flat-screen TVs, cell phone screens, computers, and traffic lights. All told, a market estimated at $7.2 billion. 4,904,618 and 5,252,499 were Rothschild's reward. Several semiconductor makers have licensed the technology, including Sony. From an ITC complaint filed in February, over 30 companies are still under the gun, including Hitachi, LG, Nokia, Sharp, Samsung, Toshiba. More settlements are in the offing.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:40 AM | Litigation

Another Piece

Most junk patents are created by incompetent prosecutors, with an assist from incompetent examiners granting bad claims. Example in point - Arthur A. Collins got a couple of junk patents: 4,701,907 and continuation 4,797,589. '907 sunk by §112 ¶2, an unconstruable claim term. '589 down on non-infringement over missing a limitation, and claims "invalid for improper reexamination amendment." Appeal offered no real reprieve.

Continue reading "Another Piece"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:16 AM | Litigation

May 27, 2008

Such As

CAFC caprice is further confirmed in today's non-precedential Lawler v. Bradley. Bradley settled a patent infringement suit by Lawler by taking a license which was too complicated and unclear in its terms. 10% royalty on the actual selling price of infringed values. 10% on "average" selling price of products combined with the infringed valves. Lawler tried to terminate the agreement on a pretext that the district court blew off, but that a 2-1 CAFC majority, eschewing dictionaries and common sense, read differently.

Continue reading "Such As"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:18 AM | Litigation | Comments (2)

May 25, 2008

Enhanced Execution

After seven years of preliminaries, trial began last week. Cornell University, one of the eight Ivy League colleges, is suing Hewlett-Packard in Northern New York for infringing 4,807,115, claiming enhanced CPU execution. A judge experienced with patent cases flew in from Washington, D.C. Cornell says that HP reaped $36 billion in the 1990s selling infringing supercomputers. Cornell wants damages through the life of the patent, though "laches bars a patent holder's claim for damages accrued prior to suit." A.C. Aukerman v. R.L. Chaides Construction, 22 USPQ2d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 1992). Laches may also apply in Cornell's failure to timely bring suit.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:32 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

May 23, 2008

Rattled

Rattler Tools sued Bilco Tools and William Coyle for patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition. A Louisiana district court judge conducted a bench trial. Not even close. Rattler, rattled, appealed.

Continue reading "Rattled"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:03 PM | Litigation

Self-Inflicted

Tessera Technologies is crowing over its "battled-tested" (sic) victory in getting Micro Electronics to take a license under threat of ITC action. Micro Electronics didn't hire Patent Hawk, so was unable to squash Tessera's assertion. Those well-equipped with Patent Hawk ammunition are successfully fighting back.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:17 PM | Litigation

May 19, 2008

Careful Assertion

Overreaching patent assertion can foil the whole venture, and foul the asserted patents in the process. Being circumspect about claim construction, infringement analysis, and prior art, can turn a problematic case into a winner.

Continue reading "Careful Assertion"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:03 PM | Litigation

May 16, 2008

Dispositive

CAFC Chief Judge Paul R. Michel graphed a signifying, that petitioning appeal upon appeal don't amount to more than just jivin'. En banc and certiorari might as well be in a dead language as to anyone's chances of being granted.

Continue reading "Dispositive"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:42 AM | Litigation

May 4, 2008

Righting Whitening

Procter & Gamble sued Johnson & Johnson for patent infringement over Listerine Whitening ® Quick Dissolving Strips, marketed as superior to P&G's Crest Whitestrips ®, because they dissolve more quickly. You wouldn't want to have patience in whitening your teeth, because you need a smoke, or cup of coffee, or some other neurotransmitting tooth-staining jones you can't shuck off, you vain but weak-willed Pavlovian simian.

Continue reading "Righting Whitening"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:14 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

April 17, 2008

Bank Holdup

Wells Fargo inked a software license agreement with WMR in December 2003. In 2004, a patent license agreement (PLA) followed. In early February 2006, WMR sold four patents to DataTreasury: 5,265,007; 5,583,759; 5,717,868; and 5,930,778, patents encompassing what would become federally-mandated digital check processing under the law known as Check 21. DataTreasury then embarked on a massive patent enforcement campaign against a slew of banks, including Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo thought that DataTreasury was bound by the PLA it had with WMR.

Continue reading "Bank Holdup"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:37 AM | Litigation

April 14, 2008

Dropped Dish

The CAFC brushed off an en banc appeal rehearing request from Dish Network for a $74 million award to TiVo for patent infringement, as well as a permanent injunction. Dish had also gone the reexam route, but that only bullet-proofed the patent (6,233,389). Denial is a long, lonely road. Dish is going to hoof it to the Supreme Court.

Continue reading "Dropped Dish"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:02 PM | Litigation

April 7, 2008

Only If, Take 2

O2 enforced its DC-to-AC converter patents against Beyond Innovation and others. Construction of the claim term "only if" sparked a slight disagreement among defendants, but was only "two simple plain English words" to O2. The district court judge agreed with O2: no construction needed. The appeals court did not.

Continue reading "Only If, Take 2"

Posted by Patrick Anderson at 7:45 PM | Claim Construction

April 6, 2008

Sporting

Friday, a San Diego jury decided that Microsoft owes Alactel-Lucent $368 million for infringing patents related to form entry (4,763,356 = $357.7m) and handwriting gestures (5,347,295 = $10.4m). Microsoft dodged the bullets of a couple video patents (4,439,759; 4,958,226). The two are playing a few hands of "Patents: Sport of Kings." Microsoft will appeal this round. The game continues, with claims and counterclaims flying in separate trials. The word "settle" does not appear on the game board for these two.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:51 PM | Litigation

April 4, 2008

Presumed Valid

Microsoft and its counsel, including Theodore B. Olson, repeatedly employ deception in petitioning the Supreme Court to lower the burden of proof for invalidating patents, twisting SCOTUS' own words. As the Supreme Court observed, efforts by Microsoft and other mega-corporations of its ilk to decimate patent protection "stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts." KSR, 127 S. Ct. at 1746 (citing U.S. Const., art. I, § 8, cl. 8).

Continue reading "Presumed Valid"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:11 PM | Prior Art | Comments (2)

April 3, 2008

A Call for Justice, Texas Style

tx.gif Seasoned litigators, and former colleagues, Bill Abbatt and Bob Tuttle, both of Brooks Kushman, PC, recommend in a recent article that the Eastern District of Michigan adopt local rules for patent cases similar to those in effect in the Eastern District of Texas. Ipls Proceedings, Vol. 19, Issue 2 at p. 5 (2008) A fine idea, gentlemen, but why stop there?

Continue reading "A Call for Justice, Texas Style"

Posted by Patrick Anderson at 7:06 PM | Litigation

March 27, 2008

Busybody

Mother hen AIPLA is clucking over the Eastern District of Texas. 28 U.S.C. §1391, the venue statute, grants broad latitude: any district where a "defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action is commenced." Not good enough for AIPLA.

Continue reading "Busybody"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:33 PM | Litigation

March 25, 2008

Killing the Crap Shoot

Over a third of patent cases are reversed and remanded on appeal. Faulty claim construction is the reason half the time. As it is, district court trial resembles a $3-$5 million roll of the dice. Hal Wegner's prescription: "One of the single most important reforms of the patent system is a direction from the legislature that all patent cases should be handled by a pool of patent-experienced trial judges. No reform is more critical, nor glaring in its absence from Leahy S. 1145." What this country needs is a dedicated patent trial circuit, preferably with shortcut arbitration capability.

Continue reading "Killing the Crap Shoot"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:26 PM | Litigation | Comments (6)

March 17, 2008

Drama

Professor Dennis Crouch: "Over the past two decades, the number of patents being litigated has risen dramatically." Crouch then shows a graph that's clear as mud: one axis labeled "Patent Count;" the other "Year Complaint Was Filed." One has no way of knowing, either by graph or explanation, whether "patent count" represents number of complaints; or number of litigated patents total, irrespective of number of complaints. Regardless what "patent count" means, most damning is failure to normalize: to take into account the number of patents granted.

Continue reading "Drama"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:22 PM | Litigation | Comments (7)

March 14, 2008

Litigation Trends

What litigators already know: rocket dockets are the best bet; jury trials trump bench trials for awards; being plaintiff is advantageous. East Virginia and Western Wisconsin have the fastest rockets in their dockets, but offer only an average 50-50 chance of success. Mid-Florida and East Texas report the highest patent holder success rate, 67% & 55% respectively. Overall, East Virginia rates the top jurisdiction.

Continue reading "Litigation Trends"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:27 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

March 13, 2008

Davids Against Goliaths

Digital media, digital imaging, and wireless communications are the patented technologies owned by three small inventors who have recently filed lawsuits against major corporations.

Continue reading "Davids Against Goliaths"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:11 AM | Litigation | Comments (3)

March 2, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect?

Statistics is a craft; running the numbers is the easy part. The tough bit comes down to data quality: how reliable is the base of data employed? Heterogeneity is the bane of statistical reliability: comparing apples to oranges tells you nothing about either apples or oranges.

By definition, every patent is supposedly novel. So, statistically comparing patent litigations inherently prances into a minefield. Only prudence, that numbers can lie, but that the smell test of sensibility grants good guidance, makes numbers truly meaningful.

Straight faced, Dave Schwartz concluded: "data do not reveal any evidence that district court judges learn from prior appeals of their rulings. There is no suggestion of a significant relationship between experience and performance." Schwartz, by example, empirically reminds that statistically inclined and logically challenged are stochastically independent.

Continue reading "Practice Makes Perfect?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:23 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

New Rules

While not to date considered a rocket docket, the patent litigation rulebook crafted in the Northern District of California has been an inspiration for other districts: the Eastern District of Texas and Southern District of New York included. Effective March 1, 2008, North California has a revised rulebook in play. The change is focus on groundwork early in litigation, into claim construction.

Continue reading "New Rules"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:25 AM | Litigation

February 26, 2008

Down Boy

Medtronic's lawyers were hammered for malpractice in patent suit against BrainLAB last week. Now a different legal crew barking for Medtronic has been slapped a $10 million fine for similar malfeasance.

Continue reading "Down Boy"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:38 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

February 25, 2008

Exuberance Rewarded

Last February, the appeals court found Medtronic's four-patent assertion against BrainLAB worthless, upholding Colorado district court Judge Richard Matsch overturning a duped jury verdict of infringement. Back before the district court, entertaining a post-trail motion by BrainLAB to recover all attorneys fees and costs, Judge Matsch raked Medtronic's attorneys over the coals, particularly Terrence McMahon and Vera Elson of McDermott Will & Emery.

Continue reading "Exuberance Rewarded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:06 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

February 22, 2008

Retractable

6,733,328 has been treated like a commodity. It was originally assigned to Ultra Products, then transferred to Taiwan-based Transpower Technology. Transpower made Retractable Technologies LLC exclusive licensee, capable of enforcing the patent; although Dallas-based Data Drive claims to be exclusive licensee, but that Retractable could license the patent with permission. Retractable cracked the whip in Wyoming Tuesday, against Belkin, RadioShack, Fry's Electronics, Targus, and others.

Continue reading "Retractable"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:08 AM | Litigation

February 21, 2008

Rocket Dockets

The Eastern District of Texas has become the most popular court for patent litigation. As a result, with stuffed docket, time to trial has stretched to about two years. Other districts are taking up the slack, notably the Western District of Wisconsin and the Eastern District of Virginia, but there is a potential drawback to the also-rans.

Continue reading "Rocket Dockets"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:57 AM | Litigation | Comments (2)

February 20, 2008

Wireless & Witless

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) and Moto Q maker Motorola sued each other Saturday for patent infringement. Illinois-based Motorola chose Delaware and the Eastern District of Texas, while Ontario-based RIM chose the Northern District of Texas. No venue shopping there.

Continue reading "Wireless & Witless"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:46 PM | Litigation

February 13, 2008

Wage Slave to Own

Back in 1991, the Barstow brothers, David and Daniel, patented a way to include computer events within a live broadcast. Being sports fans, the Barstow boys dreamt up the idea from wanting to watch baseball games simulated on a computer. They went after MLB Advanced Media, who got the matter tossed in district court over subject matter jurisdiction. Problem was that David worked, under employee contract, for Schlumberger when the patent was filed, leaving title under a cloud. The district court wouldn't hear the Barstows out, so the Barstows appealed.

Continue reading "Wage Slave to Own"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:20 PM | Litigation | Comments (4)

February 12, 2008

Stent for Rent

Over a decade ago, radiologist Dr. Bruce Saffran invented a drug-eluting porous sheet, and was granted 5,653,760. Boston Scientific liked the idea. Imitation resulted in flattery costing $431.9 million, an 8% royalty on U.S. sales, and 6% on foreign sales, from 2004 through last September. The award was reputedly the sixth largest in history. Hard-nosed BS will try to get presiding Eastern District of Texas Judge T. John Ward to overturn the jury verdict; barring that, appeal.

Continue reading "Stent for Rent"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:31 PM | Damages | Comments (10)

February 11, 2008

It's a Dud, Dude

Patent monger Alcatel-Lucent sued Dell in 2003 over 15 patents; Dell counterclaimed with 6,038,597 and 6,182,275, related to Internet computer product ordering. Jury trial found Dell's patents valid and non-infringed. Dell was ordered to pay costs.

Continue reading "It's a Dud, Dude"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:43 PM | Litigation

February 8, 2008

Klingon Attack

WARF, the Klingon who once served on the Starship Enterprise, has resurfaced on earth as a patent troll, albeit oversized, as patent trolls are normally dwarfish. Whatever. WARF is bashing Intel for CPU patent infringement after negotiations understandably failed: Intel does not speak Klingon.

Continue reading "Klingon Attack"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | Litigation | Comments (3)

February 6, 2008

Why Litigate?

Patent litigation is tremendously expensive. And noisy. The ruckus has stirred quite a crowd: fat geezers with political heft to match are jostling to shuffle the seating arrangements in the patent spat ballroom. The stakes for infringers can stray to six to nine figures or more. Microsoft keeps a small army of patent litigators marching on the defense of 30 to 40 contemporaneous assertions. Though not as bad a barrage as Microsoft, quite a few large firms face regular patent battles. Why not take a more civilized path?

Continue reading "Why Litigate?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:55 AM | Patents In Business | Comments (4)

February 5, 2008

Bad Seed

Dakota farmer Loren David tried to cheat Monsanto by saving and replanting patented soybean seeds, a breach of contract as well as patent infringement. Monsanto caught him, and it's going to cost David in the neighborhood of $700,000.

Continue reading "Bad Seed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:03 PM | Litigation | Comments (7)

January 31, 2008

Trustworthiness

In January 2005, Rambus sued memory chip makers Hynix, Micron, and Nanya for infringing more than a dozen patents. The defendants fought back with a goon ringer: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC, among other things, produced a scathing 120-page liability opinion, which the memory makers wanted entered into evidence for their patent litigation. The judge said no, finding the report neither the product of an investigation nor reliable.

Continue reading "Trustworthiness"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:21 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

January 30, 2008

On the Clam

Barracuda Networks is crying for a lifeline from the open source software community in its patent infringement fight with Trend Micro. That cry is being answered with lofty words; factual ballast not in evidence.

Continue reading "On the Clam"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:24 PM | Litigation

January 28, 2008

Troll This

In the semiconductor patent litigation of Rambus versus Hynix, Samsung, Nanya and Micron: Judge Ronald Whyte in the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Rambus's in limine motion "to preclude the use of derogatory characterizations of patents and patentholders, granting the motion as to the term “patent troll” and limiting the use of the term “submarine patent.”" The pejoratives may still be used during closing argument.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:35 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

January 24, 2008

Heavy Drinking

Having wet its whistle on everyone's favorite VOIP patent whipping post, Vonage, Sprint Nextel is ringing the bell for more rounds against an itty-bitty bevy of mobile phone service providers: Big River Telephone, Broadvox, NuVox, and Paetec Communications were plastered in four separate lawsuits.

Continue reading "Heavy Drinking"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:52 PM | Litigation

January 4, 2008

Here We Are Now

Intertainer had its business model hammered, shuttering operations in 2002 and launching an antitrust suit against major players in the TV industry. What little it had left in assets became video-on-demand patent 6,925,469, which it asserted at the end of 2006 against Apple, Google, and Napster. The three defendants counterclaimed for declaratory judgment. Apple has now settled.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:41 AM | Litigation

Tracking Trucking

Patent enforcer Acacia manages a four-patent portfolio, owned by Telematics, for combining wireless communication with GPS tracking. The portfolio was asserted against UPS, @Road, Xata, Verizon, Ryder Truck Rental, Motorola, Teletrac, and Sprint Nextel. While a few others fight on, Sprint has settled.

Continue reading "Tracking Trucking"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:59 AM | Litigation

January 2, 2008

Dip

IP Law 360 reports IP lawsuit filings dipping 8% in 2007 from 2006. With last year's declaratory judgment rulings encouraging litigation at the expense of negotiation, and the patent office unlawfully sphinctering allowances, patent court filings may rally in 2008.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:35 PM | Litigation

December 20, 2007

Strapped

4,976,388 claims a shoulder strap with a bit of give. John Wleklinski, dba Comfort Strapp, sued Targus for infringement. Targus got a summary judgment of non-infringement, its strap not meeting two claim limitations; easily upheld on appeal in a non-precedential decision.

Continue reading "Strapped"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:26 AM | Litigation

December 18, 2007

VoIP

As Vonage is learning, VoIP is an acronym for "voice over intellectual property." After acquiring Digital Packet Licensing last year, which had its own patent assertion going against Nortel Networks, Vonage unwisely let it continue. Slow on the uptake from its expensive losses to Verizon, Sprint-Nextel and AT&T, Vonage now faces a counterclaim from Nortel.

Continue reading "VoIP"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:19 PM | Litigation

December 13, 2007

Covered

Randi Black's 7,152,606 covers a nipple cover, one that got good coverage from Eastern District of Texas Judge John Love's Markman hearing, adopting most of the language the plaintiff preferred on the crucial term "nipple cover." The defendants had argued for an unreasonably narrow construction.

Continue reading "Covered"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:48 AM | Claim Construction | Comments (1)

Buy It Now

Judge Jerome Friedman of Eastern Virginia district court put the final tab of eBay infringing MercExchange's 5,845,265 with eBay's "Buy It Now" feature at $30 million. The case spawned a muddled SCOTUS ruling in May 2006 scotching the prospect for injunctions in many cases, to a nominal regime of payoff for infringement. Post-trial continuing infringement is not covered in the eBay case, and MercExchange hopes to squeeze more for it; while eBay likely appeals.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:14 AM | Litigation

December 12, 2007

The Borderline

MPT successfully sued Marathon Labels and Polymeric Converting for patent infringement, and even got a permanent injunction, but an extra-territorial injunction that didn't withstand appeal.

Continue reading "The Borderline"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:00 PM | Litigation

December 7, 2007

The Polka

Fulbright & Jaworski has released its fourth annual survey of companies getting pipped and waltzing others in that toe-tapping polka affectionately known as litigation. In the patent department, F&J finds infringement claims rising like yeasty bread, with the big boys flinging more dough as well as being more frequently flung upon. Speaking of dough, the cost of the attending the polka parlor is worry number one, not the prospect of injunctive relief. Yet spend to dance they do.

Continue reading "The Polka"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:40 AM | Litigation

November 30, 2007

Cold Case

As reported last year, Keith Whittle got heated and sued an old friend, Theo Cummings, who had prosecuted a heated body pad patent for him gratis, for doing a bad job of it; namely, leaving out the heated part. Whittle also sued Proctor & Gamble, where Cummings used to work, and Theo's wife, for no good reason that the presiding judge could figure. Tuesday the judge pitched the case under Federal Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6) for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the "what are we talking about?" rule. The judge will allow Whittle to refile a more cogent complaint. Cogency does not appear to be Keith Whittle's long suit.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:16 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

November 29, 2007

Time Warp

6,233,389, owned by TiVo, claims a TV time warp: recording a program while playing back another. Suing EchoStar for infringement, EchoStar pulled the reexamination trigger. All that got was a bulletproof patent.

Continue reading "Time Warp"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:18 PM | Litigation

November 18, 2007

Blown Bubble

In 1996 Apotex sued Merck for infringing high blood pressure medicine patents 5,573,780 & 5,690,962. The outcome was invalidity via §102(g), Merck having done beforehand what Apotex claimed; that withstood appeal. Apotex then argued that Merck concealed its invention; that too shot down. Then Apotex charged fraud; laughed out of district court. Never-say-die Apotex sulked, then belatedly appealed.

Continue reading "Blown Bubble"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:37 PM | Litigation

November 17, 2007

Infringing Activation

Serial patent infringer Microsoft, who bitches mightily about having to pay patent "taxes," got nailed $115 million in damages, plus a $25 million kicker for doing it when they should have known better, and attorneys fees, for willfully infringing z4 patents that cover Microsoft's product activation feature, used in both Office and Windows. Microsoft was denied JMOL, which it appealed.

Continue reading "Infringing Activation"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:02 PM | Litigation | Comments (6)

October 31, 2007

Called Card

AT&T won a reversal of the stunning $156 million tab for infringing TGIP calling card patents. Judge Ron Clark in the Eastern District of Texas cast aside a doctrine of equivalents (DOE) jury verdict based on non-infringement, given claim construction.

Continue reading "Called Card"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:27 AM | Litigation

October 20, 2007

Madison Blues

AT&T sued Vonage Wednesday in the Western District of Wisconsin for infringing 6,487,200, of 1996 vintage, claiming basic VOIP using a regular telephone. This on the heels of settling with Sprint, and still wrangling with Verizon. AT&T and Vonage had been negotiating for some time prior to AT&T losing its patience.

Continue reading "Madison Blues"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:44 AM | Litigation

October 17, 2007

Flawed Gem?

Gemstar, which has a patent portfolio of over 200 patents, mostly related to online TV guides, has sued Toshiba for infringing one of its Japanese variants. Gemstar also has a current case against Digeo in the Central District of California.

Continue reading "Flawed Gem?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:33 PM | Litigation

October 15, 2007

Patent Malpractice

The appeals court ruled in two patent malpractice cases today: AMT v. Akin Gump and Immuocept v. Fulbright & Jaworski. Patent malpractice is found a federal issue under 28 U.S.C. § 1338.

Continue reading "Patent Malpractice"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:51 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

October 11, 2007

Necessary Medicine

GlaxoSmithKline is attempting to vaccinate inventors from the examination limits pandemic about to hit, which inexorably will lead to digestive distress and headaches for prosecutors, as well as depression for inventors who cannot adequately protect their inventions. GSK's medication was injected in the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday against Jon Dudas as USPTO honcho.

Continue reading "Necessary Medicine"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:04 PM | The Patent Office | Comments (2)

October 5, 2007

Not Extortion

Judge Marsh Pechman in the Western District of Washington sanctioned Eon-Net for its swing at Flagstar and others for infringing 6,683,697. "The Court was shocked to learn" that Eon-Net had an enforcement campaign going, Pechman diddled. She then got hammered for her naiveté by the CAFC: Eon-Net deserves some respect.

Continue reading "Not Extortion"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:58 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

September 24, 2007

No Seizure

Warner Lambert holds 6,054,482, covering the active ingredient of Neurontin, which treats epilepsy. Warner sued generic drug makers to toss their versions off the market. The district court granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The appeals court said there were "genuine issues of material fact," so summary judgment was premature. A little claim construction tiff that Warner had was settled by reading the claim as anyone with a lick of sense would have. The CAFC decision (06-1572) is long and boring; that could be why the district court wanted to see the backside of the damned thing, but it got remanded for more mucking around. The ruling was inscrutably precedential; the case is stale, having dragged on for years, and everything about the decision was moldy.

Continue reading "No Seizure"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:21 PM | Litigation

September 23, 2007

Blood Money

The American Red Cross (ARC) counterpunched against Johnson & Johnson's trademark infringement suit Friday, filing a motion that J&J's complaint was legally defective. The ARC crossed J&J by licensing the famous Red Cross emblem to other health product makers. The ARC seems determined not let historical facts, nor long-standing comity, act as proscription in its drive for licensing lucre.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:47 AM | Litigation

September 21, 2007

Infringing Parties

Paymentech sought declaratory judgment of non-infringement after BMC demanded licensing of 5,718,298 & 5,870,456; patents claiming processing debit transactions without using a personal ID number (PIN). BMC's problem, besides being dumb enough to provoke a DJ action, was that Paymentech by itself did not infringe the process claims; it took firms downstream, unrelated to Paymentech, to complete the claimed invention. The district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement. In a thoughtful no-brainer, the appeals court affirmed, marking guidelines for infringement when multiple parties are involved, and a cautionary note for claims drafting.

Continue reading "Infringing Parties"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:32 PM | Litigation

September 19, 2007

Skirting Privilege to Evade Sanctions

Heller Ehrman lawyers, who face sanctions for allegedly concealing documents during discovery in Qualcomm patent assertion against Broadcom, asked the court Monday to let them present privileged attorney-client documents in their defense. Another firm facing the same prospect, Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, was vicarious, but did not participate in the motion. The conflict runs deep.

Continue reading "Skirting Privilege to Evade Sanctions"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:07 PM | Litigation

September 13, 2007

Tits-Up?

Victoria's Secret has filed a summary judgment motion to pinch 7,152,606, claiming a nipple cover. The motion accuses the USPTO of abusing its discretion in reviving the application that led to the patent after it was left abandoned for five years. It's shocking to even consider that the patent office would spark any controversy, particularly face an accusation of flaunting its authority. The only thing Miss Victoria wants the patent pushing up is daisies (but not those pictured).

Continue reading "Tits-Up?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:22 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

Locked Out

ACCO Brands sued ABA Locks and Belkin for infringing patents claiming locks stopping computers from getting legs. Without legs, no traction, ACCO discovered. The lesson from the CAFC: "In order to prevail on an inducement claim, the patentee must establish “first that there has been direct infringement, and second that the alleged infringer knowingly induced infringement and possessed specific intent to encourage another’s infringement.”"

Continue reading "Locked Out"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Litigation

September 11, 2007

Imclone Settles

With trial looming, ImClone Systems settled its patent woes with Repligen and MIT, forking out $65 million to keep selling its Erbitux cancer treatment. Repligen badly needed the boost.

Continue reading "Imclone Settles"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:07 AM | Litigation

September 5, 2007

Calibration

4,743,902, owned by Mitutoyo, claiming a device for electronically measuring an object's movement, has been a hex to Central Purchasing. Central settled with Mitutoyo in 1994 over a 1992 assertion of '902, agreeing not to further infringe. Central lost a declaratory motion in 1995 that sought to invalidate the patent. In a suit filed in 2003, Central got collared for infringing again. Of course, Central appealed. Mitutoyo also appealed, as its pitch for willful infringement got tossed by the trial court.

Continue reading "Calibration"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:46 PM | Litigation

August 31, 2007

An End to Denial

The Eolas patent infringement win over Microsoft, for infringing 5,838,906, garnered a $520 million damage award, and became a cause célebre for those howling that the patent system had run amok. In alchemic transformation, amok turned into bucks.

Continue reading "An End to Denial"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:31 PM | Litigation

August 28, 2007

Email Interpretation

On Monday, Polaris IP pulled its lever on the patent slot machine, suing AOL, Google, Yahoo!, A9, Borders, Amazon, and others in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing 6,411,947, which claims automated email message classification using a combination of a case base knowledge engine and rule base.

Continue reading "Email Interpretation"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:20 PM | Litigation | Comments (2)

August 17, 2007

Discovery

Every Penny Counts (EPC) is suing Bank of America (BOA) in Florida for infringing 6,112,191, which claims automated account transfer of "excess funds" with a retail transaction. EPC wanted hundreds of thousands of documents as part of discovery. BOA agreed to roll them out gradually, but then stalled. Judge Sheri Polster Chappell told BOA to bust a move, giving it until the end of the year to get it done. BOA ought to pay attention; and their attorneys, even closer attention; take Qualcomm as a very bad example.

Continue reading "Discovery"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:31 PM | Litigation

August 14, 2007

Slow on the Draw

"The value of effort is timeliness." - Lao Tzu

Microsoft got sued for patent infringement for the upteenth time; this time, by Computer Acceleration Corporation (CAC), a unit of Acacia. The horse CAC rode was 5,933,630, carrying cargo that reduces program launch time. Microsoft aimed to hog-tie the rider, and shoot the horse, but was a tad tardy.

Continue reading "Slow on the Draw"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:57 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

August 12, 2007

Sloppy Vonage

Predating the Verizon-Vonage spat that has garnered much ink, Sprint sued Vonage in October 2005 over seven patents related to interfacing a old-style PSTN telephone network with the Internet variety (VOIP). Vonage filed a sloppy summary judgment motion, which Kansas district court Judge Lungstrum pitched. Trial starts in September.

Continue reading "Sloppy Vonage"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:09 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

August 10, 2007

This Lawsuit's For You

Unless you're a Pabst Blue Ribbon lowlife, you've doubtlessly marveled over the new Budweiser beer bottles, with shiny printing on both sides of the label. It's enough to make you guzzle. Why, that label is so chillin' that it's patented; alas, not by Bud brewer Anheuser-Busch. On Thursday, a Quebec company uncorked a cool complaint in East Michigan for infringing 6,852,191.

Continue reading "This Lawsuit's For You"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Litigation

August 7, 2007

Stiffed

Bad day for Qualcomm.

First, President Bush turned a deaf ear to Qualcomm's plea to overturn an ITC injunction against importing chips infringing Broadcom patents. Now Qualcomm is heading back to the appeals court for a stay, to let it plead some more.

Second, in a separate battlefront, Qualcomm had asserted two video compression patents (5,452,104 & 5,576,767) against Broadcom that covered the H.264 standard, set by the Joint Video Team (JVT). By adopting the standard, Broadcom infringed, Qualcomm snorted; a jury found otherwise. In Southern California Judge Rudi Brewster ruled Monday that Qualcomm engaged in "aggravated litigation abuse" by concealing over 130,000 documents during discovery. Qualcomm lawyers "participated in an organized program of litigation misconduct and concealment throughout" the case, as well as "widespread and undeniable misconduct of Qualcomm." The judge granted attorneys fees to Broadcom. Fooling the standards committee (JVT) in the first place cost Qualcomm its right to enforce the patents, Brewster ruled.

Continue reading "Stiffed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:14 PM | Litigation

Unplugged

In a detailed 43-page decision, Judge Rudi Brewster in San Diego district court pitched the $1.5 billion damage award to Alcatel-Lucent from Microsoft for two MP3 audio patents, 5,341,457 and RE39,080. Judge Brewster overruled the jury verdict, finding non-infringement in one patent, and a question of ownership on the other. "The jury's verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence," Brewster wrote.

Continue reading "Unplugged"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:41 AM | Litigation

July 31, 2007

Injunction & Reexamination

Hal Wegner reports: "More than fourteen months after the Supreme Court decision in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, the eBay case continues in Norfolk. Just this past Friday, the court denied a permanent injunction while offering interesting observations on the interplay between patent reexamination and litigation."

Continue reading "Injunction & Reexamination"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:10 AM | Injunction

The KSR Trend

KSR is taking a mounting toll on patents and patent applications. To soon for hard statistics, but the trend is palpable. The Wall Street Journal today notes the killing fields that courts are becoming in patent litigations. The patent office has become an obviousness connoisseur, savoring the many ways of snuffing applications like wind-blown candles, based on KSR-provided attack angles.

Continue reading "The KSR Trend"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:26 AM | Litigation

July 26, 2007

Patents Ahoy

Transocean has a four-patent portfolio that constitutes a working rig. Having drilled GlobalSanteFe (GSF) for infringement a few years back, Transocean now aims its bit at Maersk Contractors.

Continue reading "Patents Ahoy"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:00 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

July 20, 2007

Bad Timing

Broadcom kept the pressure on Qualcomm with the looming ITC injunction of Qualcomm chips for infringing Broadcom patents. Qualcomm and it customers: phone makers and service providers, tried to block the ITC ban by appealing to the CAFC. The ITC and Broadcom countered that CAFC intervention was untimely given that the 60-day presidential review period, by which the President may veto the injunction, is still underway. The CAFC concurred. (CAFC 07-1392)

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:43 PM | Litigation

July 16, 2007

Riding Herd

Eastern District of Texas Judge T. John Ward has made it clear to Toshiba that it was a mistake to mess with Texas patent court. On the defense from Juniper Networks for infringing 5,418,924, claiming a memory controller with programmable timing, Toshiba got caught committing "discovery abuse": lying about source code it had, and in contempt for disobeying a court order to produce it. Ward imposed harsh sanctions. (Eastern District of Texas case 2:05-cv-00479-TJW-CE)

Continue reading "Riding Herd"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:07 PM | Litigation

July 7, 2007

This Week in Patents

A roundup of this week's top patent news: battles won and lost, as well as settlements and ghosts given up. The top stories involved a pair of 2-1 CAFC rulings, and waiting with bated breath whether OMB will stop the USPTO from capricious rule making.

Continue reading "This Week in Patents"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:24 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

July 2, 2007

Introspection

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) meditated, awakening anew, bathed in the shimmer of KSR, deciding to review an administrative judge's decision that two dozen companies infringed Seiko Epson ink cartridge patents. The kinder, gentler ITC was in with the Zen of reflection on claim construction, infringement, and invalidity by obviousness, where the light-headedness of KSR hindsight makes so much obvious that otherwise wouldn't be. Oh yes, the ITC has a new mantra: "If the Commission contemplates some form of remedy, it must consider the effects of that remedy upon the public interest." [ITC notice]

Continue reading "Introspection"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:55 PM | Litigation

June 28, 2007

Dark Passage

In April of last year Netflix sued Blockbuster for infringing its patents for user wish lists and "no late fees" features, leading to a bruising battle. In a surprise announcement, the two settled earlier this week, terms undisclosed; so hush-hush that the judge in the case washed his hands of it all, even if the settlement agreement falls apart.

Continue reading "Dark Passage"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:00 AM | Litigation

June 26, 2007

Middle Ground

Considering the injunction facing Vonage from infringing Verizon patents, an injunction that could effectively force Vonage out of business, in oral arguments today before a CAFC three-judge panel, Judge Timothy Dyk wondered aloud about a middle ground.

Continue reading "Middle Ground"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:18 PM | Litigation

June 25, 2007

Tuned In

Rembrandt Technologies sued 15 media companies for infringing patents related to HDTV and high-speed Internet standards. Defendants include Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, Time Warner, Adelphia, and Comcast. To the dismay of Rembrandt, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the cases into a single suit (ruling). The cases had been spread from New York (2) to Delaware (6) to the Eastern District of Texas (7).

Continue reading "Tuned In"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Litigation

June 12, 2007

Standing

Atmel sued AuthenTec for infringing 6,289,114, claiming a fingerprint reader. AuthenTec filed a summary judgment motion, that Atmel was not the owner of the patent, hence did not having standing to sue. The district court in Northern California (4:06-cv-02138-CW), following CAFC precedent, set standing: an exclusive licensee has a right to sue if joined by the patent owner.

Continue reading "Standing"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:52 PM | Litigation

June 4, 2007

Concealment

Wireless patent maven Qualcomm started a patent war with Broadcom in July 2005. The ongoing confrontation, involving a wide-ranging slew of patent assertions from both sides, has been a multi-faceted complexity on multiple fronts.

One patent family stands out: 5,452,104 and 5,576,767, claiming a video codec that Qualcomm figures is part of the H.264 video compression standard. Qualcomm tried to nail Broadcom for adhering to the H.264 standard.

Broadcom accused Qualcomm of participating in the standard setting as part of the Joint Video Team (JVT), and in the process violating JVT's policy requiring participants to disclose related patents. Qualcomm repeatedly denied during trial that it had any relationship with JVT during the standard-setting process, and fought to exclude any evidence related to "a list of subscribers to a JVT ad hoc working group." Qualcomm categorically denied any participation: "There are no e-mails."

Continue reading "Concealment"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:10 PM | Litigation

Another Bite with a Fresh Rabbit

Giving large corporations every opportunity to treat the patent system as their own private reserve, the USPTO will give Microsoft another chance to invalidate the Eolas web browser plug-in patent, which Microsoft was found to have expensively infringed with its ActiveX technology. This episode, provoking an interference, Microsoft pulls a rabbit out its hat that claims that it, Big Genius, invented the technology, not the puny patentee.

Continue reading "Another Bite with a Fresh Rabbit"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:19 PM | The Patent Office

May 29, 2007

Motionless Litigation

Motionless Keyboard (MKC) sued Microsoft, Nokia and Saitek Industries for infringing "motionless" keyboard patents 5,178,477 and CIP 5,332,322. The district court figured out non-infringement based upon a proper claim construction, but missed on public use invalidity, and misunderstood terminal disclaimers. The appeals court set it straight (CAFC 05-1497).

Continue reading "Motionless Litigation"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:10 PM | Prior Art

May 27, 2007

Streamline Expert

Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for Northern California is developing a taste for independent expert witnesses to help sort out patent cases with complex technology. It makes the losing side sore, tempting appeal, but does seem to sweep tidy.

Continue reading "Streamline Expert"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:39 PM | Litigation

May 22, 2007

Dead in the Dust

EchoStar shot Forgent's video recorder patent dead. In 2005, Forgent sued 15 companies for infringing 6,285,746, which claims a multitasking video machine, allowing playback while recording. Nine settled, with Forgent raking in $20 million. EchoStar had the nerve to admit infringement, and played straight invalidation poker. The Eastern District of Texas jury liked Echostar's cards.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:15 PM | Litigation

Non- En Banc Cacophany

Pfizer appealed the CAFC obviousness invalidation of 4,879,303 (see The Salt of Obviousness), asking for an en banc review. A majority rolled it as no dice (CAFC 06-1261o), but there was a brouhaha of dissent, focused on the court overstepping its bounds, both in disregarding trial courts and in finding obvious that which was not, further withstanding the momentous repercussions.

Continue reading "Non- En Banc Cacophany"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:31 PM | Prior Art

May 16, 2007

Another Bite at the Apple

Microsoft wants another chance to escape the $1.5 billion punishment for infringing Alcatel-Lucent's streaming media patents, asking for a new trial in light of the SCOTUS rulings in Microsoft v. AT&T, and especially KSR v. Teleflex. The claims are obvious "under the KSR Standard," Microsoft toots. Hell, everything's obvious under the KSR Standard.

Continue reading "Another Bite at the Apple"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:26 AM | Litigation

April 24, 2007

Vonage Off Hook

A few hours after hearing oral arguments, the appeals court (CAFC) granted Vonage reprieve from an injunction for infringing Verizon patents.

Continue reading "Vonage Off Hook"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:34 PM | Patents In Business

April 11, 2007

Sweetness & Light

Sucralose, essentially chlorinated cane sugar, has one-eighth the calories of sugar by weight, but is 600 times sweeter. Splenda is the trade name for this wildly popular sugar substitute. Maker and patent holder Tate & Lyle, having successfully sued for patent infringement before, are caning three Chinese manufacturers before the ITC, along with 18 importers.

Continue reading "Sweetness & Light"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:48 PM | Patents In Business

April 9, 2007

DVD Standard

DVD technology is, needless to say, standardized, and aspects of the technology patented. Toshiba and eight other companies created the DVD6C Licensing group as a ready means for DVD player or recorder companies to obtain the necessary licenses. So far, over 220 companies have signed on. Toshiba has rounded up 17 companies, mostly Hong Kong and China based, that allegedly use the official DVD logo, but do not have paid-up licenses; the venues: Northern California district court & the ITC.

Continue reading "DVD Standard"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:06 PM | Patents In Business

April 8, 2007

Reprieve

The appeals court granted Vonage a stay late Friday afternoon from a district court injunction against accepting new customers. Verizon has until the end of this week to respond, then the appeals court will decide whether to let Vonage continue to peddle itself.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:52 PM | Litigation

April 6, 2007

Hung Up

District court Judge Claude Hilton slapped a odd order on Vonage today, stopping it from signing up new customers. Vonage had been found to have infringed three Verizon patents. Verizon gave the judge the idea. Besides the headache, this gives Vonage one more thing to appeal.

Continue reading "Hung Up"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:55 AM | Litigation

Nokia Dials It In

Nokia and Qualcomm are tussling over patents. On Thursday, Nokia squeaked that it would pay Qualcomm $20 million for a quarterly license for Qualcomm patents related to CDMA wireless technology. In reply, Qualcomm snorted: "They have no right to do that."

Continue reading "Nokia Dials It In"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:27 AM | Patents In Business | Comments (1)

April 5, 2007

Kickboxing

Reebok has sued Nike in the Eastern District of Texas for infringing 7,168,190, claiming a collapsible shoe. Nike launched the allegedly infringing line of shoes, called "Free," in 2004.

Continue reading "Kickboxing"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:34 PM | Litigation

April 4, 2007

Blowback Dynamics

The appeals court SanDisk ruling regarding declaratory judgment has a least one commenter consternated. David Fox of Fulbright & Jaworski whines in IP Law 360: "SanDisk is likely to have a very strong adverse impact on small technology companies and universities that may not have the means to defend their patents in declaratory judgment actions. The decision will likely result in the inability of of such patentees to license patents, especially to large companies. This could have a profoundly negative effect on the development of technology in the United States." If there's a kernel of truth in Fox's Chicken Little declaration, it's good news disguised as bad news.

Continue reading "Blowback Dynamics"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:09 AM | Patents In Business

March 29, 2007

Aced

Acer Computer has been doing fine: sales are up, and Acer is now ranked fourth in computer product sales in the U.S. So what does competitor Hewlett-Packard do? Saddle up the palomino; ride on down to the Eastern District of Tejas (HP-207-cv-00103-TJW); draw the pistolero out of its holster, and make Acer dance.

Continue reading "Aced"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:09 PM | Patents In Business

Hatch-Waxman Extension

Merck sued Hi-Tech Pharmacal for patent infringement. Hi-Tech replied: patent expired. Merck said it had an extension, and the district court agreed. So Hi-Tech appealed (CAFC 2006-1401). The CAFC ruled:

[As to] whether a patent term extension under the Hatch-Waxman Act, 35 U.S.C. § 156, may be applied to a patent subject to a terminal disclaimer under 35 U.S.C. § 253, filed to overcome an obviousness-type double-patenting rejection[: b]ecause the language of § 156 is unambiguous and fulfills a purpose unrelated to and not in conflict with that of § 253, we hold that a Hatch-Waxman term extension may be so applied.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:23 AM | The Patent System

March 23, 2007

Vonage Whacked

Verizon pressed for an injunction against Vonage, after a jury found three patents infringed of five asserted. East Virginia district court Judge Claude Hilton indicating he would consider signing a permanent injunction on the affected technologies was like a toilet flush on Vonage stock, which dropped 26% today, to $3.

Continue reading "Vonage Whacked"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:17 PM | Patents In Business

March 22, 2007

Pressure Drop

Liebel asserted four patents against Medrad. In the second appeal of the litigation, the appeals court (CAFC 06-1156) concurs with a district court ruling that Liebel had not enabled broadened claims in two of the four patents, thus invalidating the patents under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 1. Liebel had broadened its claims to ensnare Medrad, and so tripped itself up over its own greed. The full scope of claims must be enabled. As the CAFC tooted: "The motto, “beware of what one asks for,” might be applicable here." Concurring again with the district court, the other two asserted patents were found invalid by prior art; cited prior art; in summary judgment, with no factual dispute.

Continue reading "Pressure Drop"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:29 PM | § 112

March 18, 2007

Whipping Post

The patent flogging of Vonage continues, this time by patent holding company Web Telephony, which asserted two patents against a slew of VOIP players and wannabes, including Vonage nemesis Verizon, as well as AT&T, Earthlink and SunRocket.

Continue reading "Whipping Post"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:29 AM | Litigation

Chalk One More

Microsoft won a small victory Wednesday in fending off Alcatel-Lucent's patent onslaught, when the San Diego district court judge refereeing the conflict pitched 4,763,356, claiming touch-screen form entry, in summary judgment as not infringed.

Continue reading "Chalk One More"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:07 AM | Litigation

March 16, 2007

Recent Settlements

The vast majority of patent cases settle, often when facing trial, or after a preliminary ruling, such as Markman (claim construction). With trial scheduled for Monday, Broadcom and Qualcomm have settled another of their multifarious cases against one another. Software security maven McAfee settled with Acacia over a patent on Internet hyperlinks on CDs and DVDs. And the Orlando Utilities Commission settled with Emergis Technologies for a patented online payment system.

Continue reading "Recent Settlements"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:33 AM | Litigation

March 14, 2007

Green Alert

Aiming to get security screening equipment free, the U.S. Airport Police State, officially known as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has aimlessly wandered into a patent infringement suit, among other charges, between two competitors, over ads on "divestiture bins" and "composure tables."

Continue reading "Green Alert"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:35 PM | Litigation

March 9, 2007

Charge

Consumer products whiz 3M has sallied forth in Minnesota district court and the ITC over its lithium-ion battery patents (6,964,828 & 7,078,128). The targets are computer laptop makers: Sony, Lenovo Group (who bought the IBM PC line), CDW, Batteries COM, Hitachi, Matsushita Industrial Electronic, Panasonic, Total Micro Technologies, and a host of subsidiary siblings. Hint to defendants: save yourself grief & take a license.

Continue reading "Charge"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:52 PM | Litigation

March 8, 2007

Earth Escapes

Google Earth escaped an infringement assertion by Skyline Software Systems over 6,496,189, which claims zooming through three-dimensional terrain. Earth herself had no comment.

Continue reading "Earth Escapes"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:46 AM | Litigation

March 6, 2007

Bloodless

Roche sued Apex Biotechnology and Hypoguard, then Home Diagnostics, over its diabetes test devices, patented under 5,366,609 & RE 36,268. Apex and Hypoguard filed summary judgment motions, mooted by subsequent settlement under confidential terms. Last Friday, Home Diagnostics won a summary judgment of non-infringement.

Continue reading "Bloodless"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:19 PM | Litigation

March 5, 2007

Strained Silicon

Amberwave asserted 5,158,907 against Intel in July 2005 in the Eastern District of Texas, later adding 7,074,655. Intel rebutted, and various lawsuits arose in a running battle. Intel continually cried wolf with non-infringement, while Amberwave was a wolf snarling willful infringement. Now the posturing is history. Amberwave scored a settlement from hard-nosed Intel, who laid down like a lamb, getting a 10-year license to Amberwave's patent portfolio in return for undisclosed big green.

Continue reading "Strained Silicon"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:34 PM | Litigation

March 4, 2007

Game Over

In a stunning concession, Sony agreed to pay Immersion $150 million to settle a five-year litigation battle. Sony puts behind it a string of courtroom defeats.

Continue reading "Game Over"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:34 PM | Litigation

Speechless

A week after getting handed a $1.52 billion tab for infringing MP3 digital music patents, Microsoft, in a district court ruling Thursday, dodged a different Alcatel-Lucent patent bullet over speech recognition.

Continue reading "Speechless"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:07 PM | Litigation

March 1, 2007

Patent Enforcement Trends

PricewaterhouseCoopers released its 2007 survey of patent enforcement. It found less business method action, more alternative dispute resolutions, and, owing to rising costs, the first decline in litigation filings in 16 years.

Continue reading "Patent Enforcement Trends"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:23 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

February 24, 2007

A Ring of Settlement

Cell phone chip impresario Qualcomm and rival Broadcom inked a partial settlement that puts only part of their herds of thundering lawyers grazing.

Continue reading "A Ring of Settlement"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:40 PM | Litigation

February 22, 2007

High Roller

Microsoft would like nothing more than to eviscerate patent enforcement. Unlike its erstwhile hardware brethren, IBM, Microsoft has struggled rather fruitlessly monetizing its own patents. Constantly hammered for infringement, astonishingly dim in handling settlement negotiations, Microsoft as town crier may have found a willing audience in its appeal to the Supreme Court of its loss to AT&T, though no credit to the bozo Microsoft had as its mouthpiece. Now it's lost the first round in its wide-ranging battle against Alcatel-Lucent, nailed with a tab of $1.52 billion. But that's just the start of it.

Continue reading "High Roller"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:23 PM | Litigation

February 21, 2007

All Bets Are Off

For all appearances at oral arguments today before the Supreme Court, AT&T looks unlikely to be able to enforce 35 USC § 271(f) against Microsoft, who ships infringing code overseas. Justice Stephen Breyer outright told Seth Waxman, AT&T's attorney, "I don't see how to decide for you." More significantly, the patentability of software itself may be at risk.

Continue reading "All Bets Are Off"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:37 AM | Litigation

February 15, 2007

Litigation Trends

IP Law 360 reported 2006 litigation trends in the computer technology and financial services industries, from its survey of court dockets. As might be expected, Microsoft was hammered hardest. Telecom companies are now just starting the IP tussle over VOIP, the nascent revolution. And financial service companies are just now getting into the game.

Continue reading "Litigation Trends"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:31 PM | Litigation

February 13, 2007

Check Please

DataTreasury, owning patents for auotmated check processing that has become Federal law, sued and settled with EDS, at least in part one of their two-part dispute. EDS had counterclaimed. EDS wanted to see the counterclaims through in its preferred venue, going for the kill in the second, separate, unsettled matter. The district court said no, and the CAFC concurred.

Continue reading "Check Please"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:27 AM | Litigation

February 9, 2007

Deep Freeze

Dippin' Dots owns 5,126,156, which claims a process for making ice cream. "The Dippin’ Dots brand is known to patrons of amusement parks, stadiums, shopping malls, and the like." After Dippin's distributors turned competitors, Dippin' flipped into patent enforcement, suing left and right. Counterclaim included antitrust, on what defendants called a fraudulently acquired patent. Claim construction, infringement, prior art (including a newly minted definition of "obvious"), inequitable conduct; it's all in the dip. (CAFC 05-1330)

Continue reading "Deep Freeze"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:14 PM | Claim Construction

February 5, 2007

FTC Reins in Rambus

The Federal Trade Commission issued its final opinion in the Rambus antitrust case, setting maximum licensing royalty rates for Rambus' DRAM patents.

Continue reading "FTC Reins in Rambus"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:15 PM | Litigation

January 27, 2007

Heartthrob

Lipitor is the best-selling drug in the world, having raked in worldwide sales last year approaching $13 billion. Thursday, an Ottawa district court judge invalidated one of the Canadian patents protecting Lipitor. (T-507-05)

Continue reading "Heartthrob"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:23 AM | Litigation

January 26, 2007

Check

Claiming methods for "enhancing the security of negotiable documents," Toronto-based Advanced Software Design (ASDC), exclusive licensee of 6,233,340; 6,549,624; & 6,792,110, owned by inventor Calin Sandru, Monday filed a complaint in the patent litigation hotbed Eastern District of Missouri (huh?). ASDC asserts that competitor FiServ's check fraud product, sold to Federal Reserve branch banks, infringes. (4:07-cv-00185-MLM)

Continue reading "Check"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:56 PM | Litigation

January 11, 2007

ITC Pummeling on Appeal

Jazz Photo refurbished and sold the shells of disposable cameras made by Fuji Photo Film. Fuji took Jazz to the ITC for patent infringement and won. Not entirely satisfied with the pummeling, Fuji appealed (CAFC 04-1618). The Jazz COO, Jack Benun, was dissatisfied with being pummeled, so he appealed.

Continue reading "ITC Pummeling on Appeal"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:34 PM | Litigation

January 8, 2007

Overall Design

Amini Innovation sued Anthony California for infringing dresser furniture design patent D488,936. Anthony got a district court summary judgment of non-infringement. The appeals court: "not so fast." (CAFC 06-1096).

Continue reading "Overall Design"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:39 AM | Claim Construction

January 5, 2007

Phillips v. AWH Turnabout

Phillips v. AWH was last year's CAFC claim construction classic. Remanded, the district judge in the case has overturned the $1.85 million willful infringement jury award, entering JMOL of non-infringement. The case has lasted a decade.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | Litigation

January 3, 2007

Say Cheese

Back in March 2004, Kodak sued Sony for patent infringement of digital imaging technologies. Sony duly replied with its own ten-patent counterclaim. They then upped the ante with 24 Sony patents and 7 Kodak patents, for things like printers and film development. Folks couldn't keep track of the score, even reputedly changing the channel to snappy dance competitions. Faced with dropping ratings, the series was threatened with cancellation. So they gave it a happy ending by settling at the end of the year in a cross-licensing deal, with a bit of royalty to Kodak.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:23 PM | Litigation

December 27, 2006

Sloppy Assertion

Engate asserted its court reporting patents, and in doing so, showed that clown time is not over at the courthouse. Atkinson-Baker & Esquire, defendants in the case, got summary judgment of "what was the plaintiff thinking?!" Ditto on appeal (CAFC 06-1140), and then some.

Continue reading "Sloppy Assertion"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:56 PM | Litigation

December 19, 2006

Texas Smart

District judges in Texas smell a new crude that looks profitable: patent litigation. Judge Ward in the Eastern District penned rules that made that district seem the patent litigation capital of the U.S. Now other Texas districts are making a draw from the same deck.

Continue reading "Texas Smart"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | Litigation

December 18, 2006

Patent Boxing

IBM sued Amazon. Alcatel-Lucent sued Microsoft. Both defendants have lashed out in retaliation. Patent business as usual.

Continue reading "Patent Boxing"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:30 PM | Litigation

On-Sale Bar Kiosk

Plumtree Software sought, and got, a declaratory judgment against Datamize, convincing a district court to summary judgment invalidity under the on-sale bar doctrine, 35 U.S.C. § 102(b), killing 6,460,040 and 6,658,418, continuations of 6,014,137. Two issues on appeal (CAFC 06-1017): whether Plumtree had "reasonable aprehension" to file for declaratory judgment, and whether the on-sale bar doctrine had been met.

Continue reading "On-Sale Bar Kiosk"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:59 AM | Prior Art

December 12, 2006

ITC Relief

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has become the preferred backdoor to get an injunction, now that the Supreme Court put glue on the hinges of the judicial front door in its eBay decision.

Continue reading "ITC Relief"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:35 PM | Litigation

November 21, 2006

Alcatel

French monopolist Alcatel, sucking in $18 billion in annual revenues, is unabashedly aggressive. Alcatel has an ongoing patent battle with Foundry Networks, and has now added Microsoft as a mark for some of the same patents. This is in addition to the patent suit over video-decoding technology that Lucent Technologies, an Alcatel acquisition, has asserted against Microsoft for its Xbox video game machine.

Continue reading "Alcatel"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:36 PM | Litigation

November 6, 2006

NTP Pops Palm

NTP, who successfully squeezed $612.5 million from Blackberry-maker Research in Motion in the patent drama of the year, has slapped Palm with an infringement suit for email delivery to its Treo handheld. The quick odds assessment by the market left Palm shares down 8%.

Continue reading "NTP Pops Palm"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:07 PM | Litigation

November 5, 2006

Rightfully Burned

Furnace Brook owns 5,721,832, and is slinging it to see what it will stick on. After getting tossed in summary judgment for its overreaching assertion against Overstock.com, Furnace is on fire, sending out lowball solicitations to license. These clowns are going to give patent trolls a bad name.

Continue reading "Rightfully Burned"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:42 PM | Litigation

October 29, 2006

Amazon Bows

Amazon's 2006 Q3 earnings report, filed with the SEC last Thursday, revealed that Amazon settled with Cendant in its infringement assertion of 6,782,370, an ecommerce recommendation patent. A year ago, Amazon settled a similar suit from Soverain Software for $40 million, another settlement revealed through SEC filing. Is this an omen for the IBM assertion against Amazon? Does the pope wear a robe?!

Continue reading "Amazon Bows"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:19 PM | Litigation

October 23, 2006

Big Blue Whacks Amazon

Patent powerhouse IBM has filed suit against Amazon in the Eastern District of Texas. IBM first notified Amazon in September 2002 of its "licensing opportunity", but Amazon balked. As IBM isn't exactly known as Mr. Sloppy, Amazon is either out to lunch, has hidden cards to play, or a bit of both.

Continue reading "Big Blue Whacks Amazon"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:36 PM | Litigation

October 12, 2006

Low Power

At the turn of the century, Silicon Valley debutante Transmeta shipped a low-power microprocessor, the Crusoe, a promising debut for the laptop and portable device market. The product promise was never realized. Intel's Pentium III shipped shortly before, making billions to Crusoe's millions. Now Transmeta claims Intel tucked into its Pentium Transmeta's patented technologies.

Continue reading "Low Power"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:17 PM | Litigation

October 8, 2006

Xapped

Xap got xapped by CollegeNet last week for patent infringement and violating federal antitrust law by lying to its customers: colleges & universities, about keeping student data private.

Continue reading "Xapped"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:32 PM | Litigation

October 6, 2006

Unthreaded

Martin G. Reiffin, a former IBM patent attorney, claims to have invented computer software multi-threading in two patents: 5,694,603 & 5,694,604. They're now deservedly dead. (CAFC 06-1063)

Continue reading "Unthreaded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:34 PM | Litigation

Extortion

Among many others, Eon-Net sued banker Flagstar Bancorp for infringing 6,683,697. As the court put it, "In this case, as in its various other infringement actions, Eon-Net followed services of the complaint with a cheap offer of settlement." (Western District of WA C05-2129MJP).

Continue reading "Extortion"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 PM | Litigation

October 5, 2006

Hung Up

Broadcom and Qualcomm have been entangled in litigation for years, filing suits and countersuits in venues all over the country. Broadcom tried to get the ITC on its side, but the issues are so complex, the assigned administrative judge backed off, postponing a decision. Down in San Diego, Qualcomm home court, Judge Anthony Battaglia asked the chairmen of the two companies, Broadcom's Henry Samueli and Qualcomm's Irwin Jacobs, to hunker down and reach an agreement for 10 pending lawsuits. To naught.

Continue reading "Hung Up"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:22 PM | Litigation

Jet Ski Smash

Kawasaki Heavy Industries just sued Sea-Doo jet ski manufacturer Bombardier Recreational Products for infringement of five patents - a broad spray of claims. Kawasaki doesn't just want damages - they want trebled damages for willful infringement, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, attorneys fees, and a court order impounding and destroying the infringing products.

Continue reading "Jet Ski Smash"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:01 PM | Litigation

September 28, 2006

Malocclusion Mended

It's unusual that a plaintiff in a patent infringement suit settles by paying the defendant. But that's the teeth of the agreement for Align Technology settling against OrthoClear for infringing Align's patents for non-metal dental braces, as well as a mouthful of other business malpractices which Align accused OrthoClear of.

Continue reading "Malocclusion Mended"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:00 PM | Litigation

September 24, 2006

The Eastern District of Texas

The New York Times reviews Marshall, Texas and the patent litigation scene there in So Small a Town, So Many Patent Suits.

Continue reading "The Eastern District of Texas"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:24 AM | Litigation

September 17, 2006

Memory Resolution

Japan's Toshiba settled Friday with Micron Technology over a flash NAND memory chip battle that had raged for four years. While the settlement figure went undisclosed, Toshiba walked away from a lot of trouble with a smile.

Continue reading "Memory Resolution"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:21 PM | Litigation

September 7, 2006

Katz Claws

Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing LP is a patent tiger. Time Warner Cable and a slew of other companies are feeling the bite of 17 communications patents; suit filed in Delaware. Also snarled on are AOL, Cablevision, and Qwest, for patents related to automated customer service, conference calling, voicemail, and pay-per-view, with a flock of claims like a murder of crows.

Continue reading "Katz Claws"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:40 PM | Litigation

August 30, 2006

Obviousness Aligned

One might get the impression, for all the ruckus over KSR v. Teleflex in front of the Supreme Court, that 35 U.S.C. §103(a), the prior art obviousness clause, is broken. Not so. §103 is badly drafted, but it has teeth as currently interpreted by the Appeals Court. If you think its teeth need further straightening, consider this orthodontics case: Ormco v. Align (CAFC 05-1426).

Continue reading "Obviousness Aligned"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 PM | Prior Art

August 27, 2006

Blackboard Rattles

The Washington Post reports today "an angry backlash from the academic computing community" for Blackboard asserting its freshly minted 6,988,138 against Desire2Learn. The worry is, of course, the broad claims of '138. Not reported is whether the academic computing community has enrolled for anger management help.

Continue reading "Blackboard Rattles"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:12 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

August 25, 2006

Patented News Vans

This is but the first shot of what may become an all-out patent war on news vans: those mobile TV studios-in-a-van, with a satellite uplink, for on-the-spot news coverage. Indiana-based Trans Video Electronics (TVE) sued Echostar Tuesday in Northern California for infringing 5,903,621 & continuation 5,991,801. The entire TV news business is worried.

Continue reading "Patented News Vans"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:29 PM | Litigation

August 23, 2006

Memory Mudfight Stayed

The ongoing DRAM brouhaha between Hynix and patent-holder Rambus is chilling out, pending a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decision in its antitrust investigation against Rambus.

Continue reading "Memory Mudfight Stayed"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:19 PM | Litigation

August 22, 2006

The Microsoft Way

On Friday, Eastern District of Texas Judge Leonard Davis upped the ante by $25 million that Microsoft must pay for willfully infringing z4's product activation patents, as well as paying an additional $2 million towards z4 legal fees. The judge's opinion, largely unreported in the press: Microsoft is an incredible weasel.

Continue reading "The Microsoft Way"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:59 AM | Litigation

Timeline Grinds Microsoft

In 1999, Microsoft took a limited license with Timeline for its patented database technology. The scope of that agreement has been contentious, the term "agreement" used loosely, as Timeline & Microsoft have wrangled in court over it ever since. Now Timeline has terminated the license, accusing Microsoft of breaching its terms by inducing infringement, and is suing Microsoft for damages.

Continue reading "Timeline Grinds Microsoft"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Patents In Business

August 15, 2006

Carded

In a classic case of overreaching, E-Pass Technologies was shot down for the second time for trying to pose a multi-function electronic card, claimed in 5,276,311, as a personal digital assistant (PDA), first suing Palm unsuccessfully, then Microsoft and HP. In the Southern District of Texas, Judge Hoyt ruled in favor of Microsoft & HP, that PDAs were not "cards," that non-infringement was so obvious as to be a matter of law, and thus granting summary judgment.

Continue reading "Carded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:10 PM | Litigation

August 5, 2006

Selective Memory

Reportage is a tricky business. Situations are often not as they first appear. Corruption being endemic, intrinsic to human nature, news and history often prevail from power, either to enforce or deny. On that happy note, we turn to the domestic computer DRAM market, which seems to be a large-scale exercise in manipulation all around.

Continue reading "Selective Memory"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:01 AM | Litigation

August 1, 2006

U2 Plays At The ITC

In a rare infringement assertion, Microsoft filed a complaint today with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Belkin over patented U2 peripheral interface technology.

Continue reading "U2 Plays At The ITC"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:19 PM | Litigation

Ericsson Unleashes on Samsung, Again

Filing in the Eastern District of Texas Friday, Ericsson slammed Samsung with another infringement suit, asserting 11 mobile phone patents, in a continuing string to sting the Korean company into submission.

Continue reading "Ericsson Unleashes on Samsung, Again"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:39 PM | Litigation

July 24, 2006

East Texas Prospecting

Dusty from riding down to Marshall to file against some patent rustler in the Eastern District of Texas, you'll want a place to take off your boots and sleep, a livery for your horse, and a saloon to ease the tension. Oh, and maybe some temporary office space.

Continue reading "East Texas Prospecting"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:37 PM | Litigation

July 23, 2006

DirecTV To Appeal

DirecTV, its ticket punched a couple of weeks ago for $78.9 million for infringing a Finisar patent, follows in the fubar footsteps of Research In Motion and Boston Communications, vowing to appeal.

Continue reading "DirecTV To Appeal"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:13 PM | Litigation

July 14, 2006

Aussie Wi-Fi Strong-arm

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), fumbled all over in trying to license 5,487,069, which claims IEEE standards 802.11a & 802.11g, Wi-Fi, for wireless LAN (local area networks). When its U.S. corporate targets Dell, Intel, HP, Microsoft and Netgear sought declaratory judgment, CSIRO tried to evade court action by declaring itself immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). [CAFC 06-1032]

Continue reading "Aussie Wi-Fi Strong-arm"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:21 PM | Litigation

July 13, 2006

No Rest

Flex-Rest sued Steelcase for infringing patents for computer keyboard rests (5,709,489 & 5,961,231). Flex-Rest's case followed the nightmare cliché: "The plaintiff's best day is the day they file."

Continue reading "No Rest"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:42 PM | Litigation

July 10, 2006

Vonage's Patent Woes & Weapon

Klausner Technologies slapped Vonage with its third patent infringement suit in less than a year, filing in the Eastern District of Texas for $180 million in damages, for 5,572,576, on Internet voicemail services technology. Separately, Vonage acquired counterclaim capability in its infringement suits from Verizon and Sprint, its other patent nemeses.

Continue reading "Vonage's Patent Woes & Weapon"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:48 PM | Litigation

June 28, 2006

Unistroke Payoff

Palm has agreed to pay Xerox $22.5 million to settle its long-running unistroke patent infringement suit.

Continue reading "Unistroke Payoff"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:44 AM | Litigation

June 26, 2006

Becoming Less Obvious

This morning, the Supreme Court granted KSR's writ of certiorari in its appeal from infringing Teleflex's patents. At issue is whether prior art anticipation is obvious absent any suggestion or motivation to combine references. Many patented inventions are combinations of what had been previously been known, but the combination applied in a way hitherto unknown.

Continue reading "Becoming Less Obvious"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:44 PM | Prior Art | Comments (4)

June 25, 2006

On-Sale Bar

Gemmy Industries and Chrisha Creations compete in the holiday decoration business. Oddly, being competitors, both companies used the same independent sales representative, who tipped Chrisha off to Gemmy's newest products. Gemmy went after Chrisha for imitating Gemmy's inflatable holiday figures, charging copyright and patent infringement (6,644,843), as well as tort claims. Chrisha rebounded with claims of unfair competition & commercial tort, plus winning a summary judgment of patent invalidity owing to the one-year on-sale bar, after Gemmy filed a statement by its president testifying to selling the product over a year before filing for the patent.

Continue reading "On-Sale Bar"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:46 PM | Litigation

June 23, 2006

Busy Day at the CAFC

While the Supreme Court lazily demurred in the LabCorp appeal on Thursday, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) let loose with four patent rulings.

Continue reading "Busy Day at the CAFC"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:19 AM | Litigation

June 22, 2006

Patentability Unanswered

Labcorp's appeal to the Supreme Court (in Metabolite v. Labcorp) was closely watched by all involved in patent law, as it may well have decided the limits of patentability. In a peculiar hush, the Court brushed it aside; the dissent (SC 04-607) was deafening.

Continue reading "Patentability Unanswered"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:07 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

June 20, 2006

Time Warner Strikes Back

Late week, USA Video sued Time Warner for infringing 5,130,792. Now Time Warner retaliates, seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement in Delaware district court.

Continue reading "Time Warner Strikes Back"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Litigation

June 14, 2006

Game Call Totality

Primos sued Hunter's Specialties for infinging 5,520,567 & 5,415,578, for a product used by "outdoor enthusiasts" to deceive wildlife. Trial didn't go well for Hunter's: literal infringement, willfulness, inducement of infringement ('567), and infringement under the doctrine of equivalents ('578). The appeal didn't go well either. [CAFC 05-1001]

Continue reading "Game Call Totality"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:56 PM | Litigation

Blockbusting

Facing down a patent infringement suit by Netflix for online video rentals, on Tuesday, Blockbuster Video threw a temper tantrum in a 44-page counterclaim.

Continue reading "Blockbusting"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:04 AM | Litigation

June 12, 2006

Contract Dispute

Panduit sued HellermannTyton for infringing 5,998,732. They settled. Then HellermannTyton pushed Panduit's button with a modestly revised design of the original infringing product.

Continue reading "Contract Dispute"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:10 PM | Litigation

June 4, 2006

Net2Phone Dials Skype

6,108,704 has some broad claims for point-to-point network communication. Its owner, Net2Phone, is embarking on an enforcement campaign that promises to be center ring of this season's patent press circus, now that the NTP v. RIM match has folded its tent. First shot, Net2Phone dials eBay-owned Skype in a NJ court filing.

Continue reading "Net2Phone Dials Skype"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:59 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

May 19, 2006

Snow Plow

Frank Iraci received 4,807,375 for a electronic adjustment device to automatically raise a snowplow when a truck with an attached snowplow backed up. The device has had considerable market acceptance, but Frank had a tough time plowing his way through court to a meager return against infringer Meyer-Diamond.

Continue reading "Snow Plow"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:37 PM | Litigation

May 17, 2006

Xboxing

Monday, Microsoft counterclaimed with 10 software patents against Lucent in its Xbox patent suit. Constantly barraged for patent infringement by non-product companies, Microsoft howls for patent reform. A quieter affair, this is just business as usual.

Continue reading "Xboxing"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:33 AM | Litigation

May 10, 2006

Discovery Chill

The wake of the CAFC ruling May 4 regarding privilege & discovery in TiVo v. EchoStar is even now being felt. The trend will be for law firms and in-house counsel to be very circumspect in their communications, even internally, surrounding patent infringement opinions; a lot less will be discoverable documentation, email included.

Continue reading "Discovery Chill"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:48 AM | Litigation

May 9, 2006

Up the Creek

Old Town Canoe sued Confluence Holdings for infringing 4,836,963, which goes to a process for making plastic boat hulls by rotational molding. Confluence got a summary judgment of non-infringement based upon claim construction, but lost counterclaim motions on invalidity and enforceability. So the parties appealed the rulings that went against them. The CAFC (05-1123) found the district court had been hasty in some of its summary judgment rulings, glossing over disputable facts. And a well-reasoned dissent argued that the whole case was overdone.

Continue reading "Up the Creek"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:24 PM | Litigation

May 5, 2006

The Post Office, Patent Infringer

Paymaster Technologies sued the U.S. Post Office in 2002 before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for infringing 5,292,283. Like any ornery patent infringer, USPS fought tooth and nail, finally losing before the appeals court yesterday (CAFC 05-5025).

Continue reading "The Post Office, Patent Infringer"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:05 PM | Litigation

May 3, 2006

RIM's Countermove

Wednesday, RIM filed a countersuit against Visto in a different Texas district, seeking declaratory judgment, and attempting to change venue. Huh?

Continue reading "RIM's Countermove"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:10 PM | Litigation

May 2, 2006

Canon's Cheap Shot

St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, with a portfolio of 22 U.S. patents, many oriented towards digital cameras, is having much success in its enforcement campaign, racking up jury wins against Fuji for $3 million, Sony for $25 million, and most recently Canon for $34.7 million. Eastman Kodak, HP, and Nokia are on the docket. The Canon case was nothing short of outrageous.

Continue reading "Canon's Cheap Shot"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:34 PM | Litigation

May 1, 2006

RIM Shot Again

Visto, a maker of wireless email software, has asserted four patents against hapless Research In Motion (RIM). RIM is already blathering about non-infringement and invalidity. NTP, which successfully pinned a $612.5 patent infringement tab on RIM, holds a minority stake in Visto.

Continue reading "RIM Shot Again"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:26 PM | Litigation

April 19, 2006

z4 Downs 2

David Colvin of Michigan-based z4, owner of software piracy patents 6,044,471 and 6,785,825, scored a preliminary $115 million dollar judgment against Microsoft, and an $18 million tab against Autodesk. It is shocking to think that an innocent waif like Microsoft could have been found to have willfully infringed, as did Autodesk, and so still faces the prospect of treble damages.

Continue reading "z4 Downs 2"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:56 PM | Litigation

April 13, 2006

Confidence Game

Today MicroChip Technology sued rival Luminary Micro in Arizona court. What's odd is that the three asserted patents: 5,847,450, 6,483,183 and 6,696,316, are all currently under reexamination in the patent office.

Continue reading "Confidence Game"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:21 PM | Litigation

April 11, 2006

Spilling More Ink

Seiko Epson continues to hammer competitors with infringement suits over its ink cartridge patents. Having recently forayed towards two dozen companies, Epson now adds two dozen more, in a fourth lawsuit of a prolonged and multi-pronged enforcement campaign.

Continue reading "Spilling More Ink"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:28 PM | Litigation

April 6, 2006

Gateway Really Cowed

As reported a few days ago, Gateway got slammed for bad faith conduct facing IP theft from Phillips Adams. After opening arguments in the trial, Gateway lawyers approached opposing counsel and offered to settle on Adams terms. The judge warned they better close the deal by the next morning, or trial would continue. Deal done.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:05 AM | Litigation

April 5, 2006

Replay

For the second time, Lucent and Microsoft are heading to court over Lucent's 5,227,878. A typo prevented a showdown the first time. Now xBox 360 is in the dock.

Continue reading "Replay"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:11 PM | Litigation

Full Service Patent Evasion

TradeCard owns 6,151,588, "Full service trade system," which claims online trading of goods and services. TradeCard sued Bank of America and rival S1 Corporation in March 2003 for patent infringement over S1's Purchase Order Processing Systems (POPS), which B of A uses. Yesterday came a surprising verdict.

Continue reading "Full Service Patent Evasion"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:41 AM | Litigation

April 3, 2006

Gateway Cowed Again

March was a bad month for Gateway Computers. First we hear that Gateway paid $47 million to solve their patent infringement problems with HP. Then, in another case of intellectual property theft, we learn that Utah District Court Judge Ted Stewart slammed Gateway for destroying evidence "in bad faith."

Continue reading "Gateway Cowed Again"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:48 PM | Litigation

March 29, 2006

Skeptical

The eBay-MercExchange patent roadshow put on its dog-and-pony act for the Supreme Court today in oral arguments lasting an hour or so. Besides expressing the normal skepticism of jurists trying to dig to the essentials, some patent surreality was on display.

Continue reading "Skeptical"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:08 PM | Litigation

March 24, 2006

Patent Transmission

Toyota and Antonov, a Dutch patent licensing company, have been going at each other over Antonov's patents for hybrid car transmission technology. It's a good illustration of how international corporations fight patent enforcement.

Continue reading "Patent Transmission"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:31 PM | Litigation

March 16, 2006

Preemptive Strike

Azul Systems sued Sun Microsystems yesterday, seeking "declaratory relief" from fear of being sued by Sun for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation.

Continue reading "Preemptive Strike"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:19 AM | Litigation

March 12, 2006

Injunction Provocateur

On Friday, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Federal Government's lawyer, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme court in the MercExchange v. eBay case, where the center ring issue is granting an injunction for patent infringement, particularly in the instance when the patent holder has indicated a willingness to license, and the patent holder arguably has not practiced the invention. Arguing on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Justice Department, and USPTO, the brief called on the Supreme Court to grant the injunction, a notable flip-flop from the NTP v. RIM case, where its self-interest ran the other way.

Continue reading "Injunction Provocateur"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:52 PM | Litigation

March 8, 2006

Conflict of Interest

Andrews Corp. sued Beverly Manufacturing for patent infringement. While there is no presumption of willful infringement, a clearing opinion commonly provides evidence against such allegation. In this case, a law firm merger soiled Beverly's clearing opinion.

Continue reading "Conflict of Interest"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:59 AM | Litigation

March 6, 2006

Agere Shoots

Chip maker Agere Systems is suing Sony for infringing eight patents [5,599,739; 5,670,730; 5,989,637; 6,153,543; 6,452,958; 6,472,304; 6,707,867; 6,992,972], targeting Sony's profit engine PlayStation video game player, as well as wireless LAN cards and other products.

Continue reading "Agere Shoots"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Litigation

March 3, 2006

RIM Off Hook

In a measure of graciousness, NTP let RIM off the hook for patent infringement for only $612.5 million, granting a perpetual license to NTP's patented wireless email technology. The whispered figure for settlement had been closer to $1 billion. RIM's graceless Jim Balsillie whined, "It's not a good feeling to write this kind of check."

Continue reading "RIM Off Hook"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:48 PM | Litigation

February 24, 2006

RIM's Horns of Dilemma

In the long-awaited NTP v. RIM hearing before Virginia district judge James Spencer, Spencer lamented RIM's bullheaded refusal to settle, and admonished RIM for providing an "inconsistent" argument against ordering an injunctive shutdown of wireless email for Blackberry devices. Fueled by the combative ego of leader Jim Balsillie, RIM just doesn't get it.

Continue reading "RIM's Horns of Dilemma"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:53 PM | Litigation

February 19, 2006

Settling

While the number of patent litigations has doubled between 1991 and 2004 before dropping 11% last year, the percentages of outcomes remain steady: most cases settle.

Continue reading "Settling"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:08 AM | Litigation

February 17, 2006

On The Good Foot

Why pay $160 for a pair of Nike AirMax 360 running shoes? So cushy. What cushions the shoe so well is covered in at least 19 patents that comprise Nike's "Shox" cushioning technology, launched in 2000. Now Adidas is about to take a lesson in patent infringement. Class opens (where else) in patent plaintiff paradise: the Eastern District of Texas.

Continue reading "On The Good Foot"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:20 AM | Litigation

February 12, 2006

Never Reset, Never Surrender

China Daily reports a woe-is-me story of Zhejiang Dongzheng Electrical, a self-proclaimed innovator being pummeled by U.S. running dog Leviton over 6,246,558, covering fault protection of resettable circuit devices. Like a raccoon on the highway at night, taking a page from the playbook of patent litigation-savvy Research In Motion (RIM), Dongzheng vows to fight on.

Continue reading "Never Reset, Never Surrender"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:19 PM | Litigation

February 8, 2006

Issa's Rocket Docket

Some details are emerging of Rep. Congressman Darrell Issa's nascent bill to accelerate and improve patent litigation quality in U.S. district courts. In essence, beginning with a pilot program, the plan is to create voluntary patent rocket dockets in districts, an extension of what has already occurred through supply and demand.

Continue reading "Issa's Rocket Docket"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:32 AM | Litigation

February 7, 2006

Litigation Big Fish

IP Law 360 reported the patent firms with the most new litigation cases in 2005. The purely quantitative statistical survey looked at the number of times a firm was hired as patent counsel in new cases.

Continue reading "Litigation Big Fish"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 6:22 PM | Litigation

January 30, 2006

RIM in the Mail

Saturday, the Toronto-based Globe and Mail posted an excellent history of the NTP v. RIM case titled, naturally, "Patently Absurd," though the absurdity does not lie with the patents.

Continue reading "RIM in the Mail"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:11 PM | Litigation

January 25, 2006

Nellcor Bites The Bullet

Facing a permanent injunction, and so biting the patent infringement bullet that delusional RIM (v. NTP) still thinks it can miraculously dodge, Nellcor, a division of Tyco Healthcare, itself a subsidiary of industrial conglomerate Tyco International, has agreed to fork over $330 million for infringing medical device patents owned by privately-held mighty mouse Masimo.

Continue reading "Nellcor Bites The Bullet"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:59 PM | Litigation

January 20, 2006

Judge Shopping

The CAFC is letting Microsoft appeal its request for a new judge in the Eolas case, where Microsoft still faces being dinged one-half billion dollars. Trial judge James Zagel had refused Microsoft special treatment. How dare he.

Continue reading "Judge Shopping"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:06 AM | Litigation

January 19, 2006

Greedy Grad

Back in the late 1970s, Fredric Stern was a medical student at Columbia University. He approached a long-time faculty member, Lazlo Bito, about doing a single semester ophthalmology research elective in his laboratory. Bito agreed, and directed Stern to begin his project by reviewing Bito’s numerous papers on prostaglandins and glaucoma. Then Bito had Stern run some experiments.

Continue reading "Greedy Grad"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:45 AM | Litigation

January 9, 2006

SeaChange Downstream

nCube sued SeaChange for infringing 5,805,804. In a jury trial, SeaChange got nailed badly: SeaChange had to pay double the damages for willful infringement, and two-thirds of nCube's attorneys fees. So SeaChange asked for a new trial, was turned down, and so appealed (CAFC 03-1341); to no avail.

Continue reading "SeaChange Downstream"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:24 AM | Litigation

January 5, 2006

InterVideo Persuades ITC

Following up on an earlier story, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate InterVideo's patent infringement accusation against computer maker Dell and three other companies. Intervideo seeks a permanent injunction.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:28 AM | Litigation

January 3, 2006

Patent Suits Drop in 2005

2005 witnessed an 11% decline in new patent lawsuits from 2004, breaking a decade-long trend, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Eight out of the top ten IP case payouts were settled out of court, indicating that companies continue to use the courts to put the writing on the wall, but then settle when that writing becomes clear.

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:01 AM | Litigation

December 27, 2005

Poker-Faced Injunction

Shuffle Master sued VendingData for infringing 6,655,684 claim 20, for a card shuffling and dealing device. The two sides differed over a crucial claim construction term: what constitutes forming a "set of cards". VendingData was found by the district court of Nevada to be holding the wrong set of cards, and slapped it with a preliminary injunction. Not so fast, cried VendingData to the appeals court (CAFC 05-1203).

Continue reading "Poker-Faced Injunction"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:19 AM | Claim Construction

December 20, 2005

Sunburned

Dr. Nicholas V. Perricone was granted 5,409,693 and 5,574,063 for a vitamin C lotion to prevent and treat sunburn. In suing Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation for infringement, the patents got singed.

Continue reading "Sunburned"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:59 PM | Litigation

December 19, 2005

Used Where?

RIM continues to grasp at straws to avoid paying NTP for patent infringement. Late last week RIM again appealed to the Supreme Court to save its bacon.

Continue reading "Used Where?"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:03 AM | Litigation | Comments (1)

December 17, 2005

Patent Office Plays Politics

Defying its own regulations, the patent office is only giving NTP 30 days, instead of the customary 60 days, to reply to the non-final rejection of its patents in the re-examination initiated by infringer Research in Motion (RIM). In case you just dropped in from another planet, NTP sucessfully sued RIM for patent infringement, and RIM has been fighting that reality tooth and nail.

Continue reading "Patent Office Plays Politics"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:21 AM | Prosecution | Comments (4)

December 15, 2005

Gorilla Warfare

After slapping a lawsuit against Microsoft for patent infringement Wednesday, wireless email provider Visto CEO Brian Bogosian, doing his best King Kong impersonation, thumped his chest and bellowed, "They're going to have to satisfy our requirements for playing in this market. Really, more important than money at this point, is receiving an injunction." Look at that little monkey go after the 800-pound gorilla!

Continue reading "Gorilla Warfare"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:40 PM | Litigation

Yahoo! Licenses JPEG Patent

Walking away from further litigation with a lighter wallet, Yahoo! is inking a patent licensing agreement with Forgent Networks over the notorious JPEG patent (4,698,672), which has raked in $105 million in licensing fees.

Continue reading "Yahoo! Licenses JPEG Patent"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:26 PM | Litigation

BIAX Rides Again

Riding into the popular showdown corral in the dusty Eastern District of Tejas, semiconductor maker BIAX draws against rival Phillips Semiconductor for infringing four of its patents for digital processing systems. The patent infringement bookie puts the odds heavily in favor of BIAX.

Continue reading "BIAX Rides Again"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:07 PM | Litigation | Comments (1)

December 9, 2005

NTP & RIM Chat For A Bit

NTP and RIM had been talking settlement with each other through a court-appointed mediator this week over RIM's infringement of NTP's patents. RIM shares surged on the news. But the talks seem to have short-circuited, at least for now. Snorted Dan Stout, NTP co-founder, "It's so far off, it's not negotiation."

Continue reading "NTP & RIM Chat For A Bit"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 3:01 PM | Litigation | Comments (3)

December 7, 2005

Taking It To The ITC

Intervideo is seriously trying to pistol-whip Dell with 6,765,788. First, Intervideo sued Dell for patent infringement. Now it's taking it to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).

Continue reading "Taking It To The ITC"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:36 PM | Litigation

December 6, 2005

Getting Carded

1986 vintage 4,777,354 doesn't have much life left, but it's going out like a kicking mule. Inventor Barry Thomas is going for the gusto.

Continue reading "Getting Carded"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:08 PM | Litigation

December 3, 2005

Microsoft Bows to Eolas

In perhaps the final of a series of about-faces for implementing a workaround to infringing the notorious Eolas patent (5,838,906), Microsoft notified multimedia content providers, OEM partners and ActiveX control vendors Friday that the way that ActiveX controls work is going to change, slightly.

Continue reading "Microsoft Bows to Eolas"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:29 AM | Litigation

November 30, 2005

RIM Down

Research in Motion (RIM) was dealt a double blow today in its attempts to settle its infringement fiasco with patent holder NTP. U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer "finds the parties do not have a valid and enforceable settlement". RIM had hoped that a half-page term sheet signed by both parties in March, allegedly settling the dispute for $450 million, was legally binding. That supposed deal fell apart in June. Neither RIM nor NTP have disclosed details of that tentative settlement agreement or why it broke down.

Continue reading "RIM Down"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:30 AM | Litigation | Comments (6)

November 29, 2005

Patent Visibility

Frank Hayes of Computerworld and Peter Zura of 271 patent blog have caught patent visibility fever. The concept is creating a public database of software prior art. Frank went so far as to suggest that Microsoft waste money on it. Hey guys, get a clue.

Continue reading "Patent Visibility"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:53 PM | Litigation | Comments (5)

November 20, 2005

Dirty RIM

Presiding over the current phase of the NTP v. RIM patent infringement imbroglio, fed-up U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer may rule this week whether the $450 million unconsummated settlement between NTP & RIM was, in fact, consummated, and if not, within a short time thereafter, whether to proceed with an injunction against RIM to halt its Blackberry wireless email service to lesser mortals, excluding, of course, U.S. government workers, who rely on their Blackberries for "essential government services", as if those exist in the form of wireless email.

Continue reading "Dirty RIM"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:37 PM | Litigation

November 18, 2005

Clonetech Gets Clobbered

Invitrogen v. Clonetech Labs is a patent law ecosystem unto itself: conception, enablement, written description, and infringement. The factual bases are extensive, resulting in a CAFC 47-page opinion (04-1039), but teasing out the legal reasoning in evaluating the facts is the focus here.

Continue reading "Clonetech Gets Clobbered"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:35 PM | Litigation

November 17, 2005

Smug RIM

Research In Motion (RIM) is claiming satisfaction with its workaround to patent infringement of NTP patents, claiming that an injunction would not affect its Blackberry customers from receiving their wireless emails.

Continue reading "Smug RIM"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:02 AM | Litigation

November 11, 2005

U.S. Crybaby

Supreme Crackberry Uncle Sam cried to the district judge in the NTP v. RIM case today: "please Daddy, don't take my Blackberry." The U.S. government claimed that "essential government services" could be impaired if wireless services for Blackberries were cut off because of a patent infringement injunction.

Continue reading "U.S. Crybaby"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:44 PM | Litigation

November 9, 2005

RIM's Silver Lining

Yes, it looks grim for RIM. U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer began this morning the process of deciding whether to enforce an injunction against Research in Motion Ltd. for its Blackberry handheld devices. "I intend to move swiftly in this," Spencer said. "I've spent enough of my life and time on NTP and RIM." But ultimately, it's most likely that RIM will pay NTP and settle the matter.

Continue reading "RIM's Silver Lining"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 10:13 AM | Litigation

November 7, 2005

Removably Attached

Child's play over a child's car seat goes awry. The Court of Appeals made a rather bizarre ruling in Dorel v. Graco (05-1026), agreeing with the district court in crucial claim construction, but then overruling non-infringement on summary judgment.

Continue reading "Removably Attached"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:15 PM | Litigation

November 2, 2005

Chief Oops

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself from further proceedings in the appeal of the Laboratory Corp. of America v. Metabolite Laboratories patent suit, after taking part in the early stages. Big John acknowledged he shouldn't have touched the case to begin with.

Continue reading "Chief Oops"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 11:32 PM | Litigation

October 31, 2005

Microsoft Not Supreme

The Supreme Court declined to consider the Eolas-Microsoft imbroglio. While Microsoft largely won a March 2005 Appeals Court ruling, the company is still open to damages as the case heads back to district court on remand.

Continue reading "Microsoft Not Supreme"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:51 AM | Litigation

October 26, 2005

Supreme RIM Shot

Discovering a hitherto untapped sense of humor in quoting W.C. Fields, newly appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts told Research in Motion (RIM), in its appeal to stay the lower court ruling of infringement of NTP patents: "get away from me kid, you bother me."

Continue reading "Supreme RIM Shot"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:53 PM | Litigation

October 21, 2005

RIM Shot

The BlackBerry boys - Research In Motion, got shot down by the CAFC refusing to hear its appeal plea to suspend proceedings towards an injunction for infringing NTP patents.

Continue reading "RIM Shot"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 8:16 PM | Litigation

October 17, 2005

Fosamax Has Patent Osteoporosis

Fosamax fights osteoporosis, bone loss, while contributing $1.9 billion in U.S. sales in 2004 to its maker, Merck. Today, Fosamax suffered its own bone loss, as the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Merck.

Continue reading "Fosamax Has Patent Osteoporosis"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:38 PM | Litigation

October 14, 2005

Patent Litigation Statistics

Jay Kesan and Gwendolyn Ball of the University of Illinois performed a biased axe-grinding coupled to a limited statistical study of patent litigation. Given the results, their whining that "there is growing concern that the number of overbroad or so-called “bad” patents may be increasing" was unsubstantiated.

Continue reading "Patent Litigation Statistics"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:30 AM | Litigation

September 23, 2005

What can you do?

Every now and then I get a call from an independent inventor with a valid, issued utility patent who feels that his patent is being infringed. Upon review of the patent, file history and scrutiny of unlicensed products for sale in retail settings, a prima facia case of infringement can be made.

What can be done? I'd like to open a discussion.

Of course, cease and desist, followed by infringment lawsuit. But the economic realities often preclude an all out confrontation. Typically, all the client wants is a fair royalty payment....

Ideas?

Posted by Peter Haas at 6:06 AM | Litigation | Comments (4)

August 30, 2005

On A Treadmill

This case is so typical: an inventor presents an idea to a company, who, after a while, says it's not interested. The inventor applies for and gets a patent. Meanwhile, the company puts the invention into its product. Then, when faced with patent infringement, shrug and claim that the company invented it.

Continue reading "On A Treadmill"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:07 AM | Litigation

August 22, 2005

Wafer Thin

MEMC Electronic Materials (MEMC) sued Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Corporation (SUMCO) for infringement and inducing infringement of 5,919,302, related to silicon wafer manufacture. The District Court found the plaintiff's case wafer thin, and dismissed it. MEMC appealed (CAFC 04-1396, August 22, 2005).

Continue reading "Wafer Thin"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:57 PM | Litigation

July 14, 2005

Microsoft Grovels For Longhorn

The way to get Microsoft to bend over and pay out in a patent case is to flash some strong cards on a technology that Microsoft really cares about. The two gazillion-dollar money-spinners that Microsoft really cares about: its OS, and Office. Alacritech had a decent patent poker hand to play against Microsoft, holding patents for faster networking that were being sewn into Longhorn, Microsoft's upcoming OS.

Continue reading "Microsoft Grovels For Longhorn"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:21 AM | Litigation

July 13, 2005

Incredible Weasels

Make no mistake - Microsoft regularly exhibits psychopathic behavior, with little regard for the comity of corporate social responsibility. Here we have another little chip on the pile of evidence for that characterization.

Continue reading "Incredible Weasels"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 5:45 PM | Litigation

May 12, 2005

Translogic Zaps Hitachi, Renesas

As of last Friday, 5,162,666 "Transmission Gate Series Multiplexer" wears a price tag of $86.5 million to Hitachi & Renesas Technology America for infringing it. Worse for the infringers, a permanent injunction is imminent.

Continue reading "Translogic Zaps Hitachi, Renesas"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 7:00 PM | Litigation

Extreme Networks, Patent Infringer, Declares Victory

Extreme Networks, found guilty of infringing a Lucent patent, practically laughed out loud at the Delaware jury verdict, concluding a two-week trial. "We view this as a total victory," said Gordon Stitt, president and CEO of Extreme Networks.

Continue reading "Extreme Networks, Patent Infringer, Declares Victory"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 4:18 PM | Litigation

May 5, 2005

Linux's Free Ride

Heather Meeker and Peter Zura are impressed that open source software, typified by Linux, has been patent litigation free. There are two possible reasons for that: Linux isn't sophisticated enough to infringe patents, and/or whoever owns patents being infringed isn't going to assert them against the companies distributing Linux. Both are true.

Continue reading "Linux's Free Ride"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:14 PM | Litigation

May 3, 2005

HP & EMC Bury the Hatchet, Buy Flowers

In 1999, Hewlett-Packard (HP) switched to Hitachi from EMC for high-end storage products, proclaiming EMC's technology old and proprietary. Little did they know at the time, they at least got the proprietary part right.

Continue reading "HP & EMC Bury the Hatchet, Buy Flowers"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:05 AM | Litigation

April 22, 2005

Spinal Tap

The medical device maker Medtronic announced that it had a chiropractic adjustment, and is feeling much better. The condition arose from patent infringement, and, apparently, sitting on a fat wallet. Oh, what a relief it is.

Continue reading "Spinal Tap"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 9:23 PM | Litigation

April 15, 2005

Jackass Kicked in Texas

Kermit Aguayo and Khanh Tran are having a bad day. Their patent, 5,283,943, claiming automated surface mount placement of components on printed circuit boards, got shot down by a jury in South Texas. Every stinking claim invalid.

For those of you holding a patent grant and dreaming of El Dorado, before sallying forth for an enforcement action, hire a professional prior art searcher first to suss out whether the patent color is gold or brown (and reeking).

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:51 PM | Litigation

April 14, 2005

Microsoft - Serial Patent Rapist

If you flinched at the title, well, me too. The truth hurts. Alas, there's only one way to connect these dots. As Southside Johnny would say, "sad story, but every word is true."

Continue reading "Microsoft - Serial Patent Rapist"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:00 AM | Litigation

April 7, 2005

Back From the Dead & Bigger Than Ever

Shot down in cold court Monday, badass Mosaid Technologies is back in the saddle and blazing hot patent lead again.

Continue reading "Back From the Dead & Bigger Than Ever"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:35 PM | Litigation

March 31, 2005

Setting the On-Sale Bar - Ping!

Sparton Corporation developed and sold sonobuoys to the U.S. Navy. A sonobuoy is an electroacoustic device for listening to and locating underwater sounds, such as submarine noise.

Continue reading "Setting the On-Sale Bar - Ping!"

Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:31 PM | Litigation

March 21, 2005

Bad Memories

Rambus Inc. and Infineon Technologies AG settled their long-running patent battle, agreeing to cross-license. Under the deal, German memory chip maker Infineon will pay Rambus $23.4 million a year for two years in quarterly installments, but gets to drive it away today. After that, Infineon could continue to pay up to $100 million under certain conditions. Rambus generously agreed to treat Infineon as a "most-favored customer."

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 1:11 PM | Litigation

March 18, 2005

Sticking It In Apple's Ear

Apple Computer may soon think that iPod is an acronym for “ignominious Patents - oh dear”. Two U.S. patents are being asserted against the 21st century Walkman®: 6,587,403 and 6,665,797.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 12:01 AM | Litigation

March 16, 2005

On the RIM and in the Heartland of Patent Infringement

A settlement in a widely watched patent infringement case - Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), a Canadian-based maker of BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices, will pony up $450 million to NTP, a Virginia company, for infringing NTP's patents.

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Posted by Patent Hawk at 2:46 PM | Litigation