Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mobile Navigation System Patent Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101​

The court denied defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that plaintiff’s mobile navigation system patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. "Defendants argue that under step one, claim 15 is directed to an abstract idea because the claim is specifically directed to the idea of providing directions in a natural language. . . . Defendants argue that claim 15 is directed to an abstract idea because the claim is directed to a process that could be performed by a human with a pencil and paper. But a human with a pencil and paper cannot format route data into a natural language description that is generated on a server and then transferred to a local database. . . . [C]laim 15 is not directed to some abstract result or effect. Rather, claim 15 provides a specific technological means for remedying the specific problems with real-time mobile navigation systems that the [patent] sought to address: formatting the route data using a non-proprietary, natural language description."

InfoGation Corp. v. ZTE Corporation et al, 3-16-cv-01901 (CASD March 27, 2017, Order) (Huff, USDJ)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Plaintiff’s Inability to Obtain Manufacturing Process Information from Chinese Manufacturer Justifies Presumption of Infringement Under 35 U.S.C. § 295​

The court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment of infringement of a fungicide patent, but found that the burden to establish noninfringement should be shifted to defendant under 35 U.S.C. § 295. "[Plaintiff] contends that it made reasonable efforts to discover [defendant's Chinese manufacturer's] process for producing azoxystrobin technical, but that it has been thwarted by [defendant's] lack of full cooperation and its inability to get information from [the manufacturer]. . . . [Defendant] asserted that it had no written communications with [the manufacturer], because they corresponded only in person, via telephone, or via a chat program that did not save correspondence. . . . At his deposition . . . [the manufacturer's representative] affirmed that [the manufacturer] has production records with the ratios and quantities of materials used in the manufacturing process . . . but that no one associated with [defendant] informed him that [plaintiff] was asking for those documents, apart from sharing [a] July 28 letter about a month before his deposition. He did not produce any of these documents at his deposition, despite being aware that [plaintiff] had asked for them. . . . While [plaintiff] did not seek discovery directly from [the manufacturer] . . . it 'is extremely difficult, if not impossible . . . to compel the Manufacturer [in China] to produce any documents' . . . . Moreover, given [the manufacturer's] location in China, requesting voluntary facility inspections or observing the process firsthand are unlikely possibilities for discovering information."

Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC v. Willowood, LLC et al, 1-15-cv-00274 (NCMD March 24, 2017, Order) (Eagles, USDJ)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Interactive Toy Patents Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101​

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s interactive toy patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. "Here, the Patents-In-Suit involve toys that communicate or interact amongst one another, with humans, or with computers. The toys generate, receive, and analyze sounds. They transmit, receive, and respond to a signal. They generate acoustic signals, receive the acoustic signals, analyze the signal, and then perform a responsive function. At core, the patents attempt to state methods for toys to communicate by sending, receiving, and responding to signals. The claims do not state a means by which to communicate, but rather are directed at the abstract process of communication itself. . . . Plaintiff attempts to characterize the patents as 'tangible toys or devices' and therefore not abstract. . . . The mere inclusion of tangible elements in an otherwise abstract idea does not render the subject matter any less abstract."

Dialware Communications, LLC v. Hasbro, Inc., 2-16-cv-09012 (CACD March 22, 2017, Order) (Real, USDJ)

Friday, March 24, 2017

SCA Hygiene Products Bars Laches Defense During 6-Year Limitations Period​

Having previously observed that "the doctrine of laches likely bar[s] the plaintiff’s claims," the court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment on its laches defense in light of the Supreme Court's decision in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, No. 15-927 (U.S. Mar. 21, 2017). "That decision has now been rendered, the Court holding that '[l]aches cannot be interposed as a defense against damages where the infringement occurred within the period prescribed by [35 U.S.C.] § 286. Accordingly, it appearing proper, it is ordered [that] [defendant's] Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Laches is denied."

Artrip v. Ball Corporation et al, 1-14-cv-00014 (VAWD March 22, 2017, Order) (Jones, USDJ)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Voting System Patent Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101​

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s voting system patent lacked an inventive concept. "According to the complaint, the auto-verification voting system is made of generic computer components performing generic computer functions, including: inputting voting information, printing out a paper ballot, having the voter personally verify the vote, and inputting the verified vote into a 'tabulating' computer. There is nothing inventive or transformative about the functions claimed in the patent, as they encompass computer functions which are 'well-understood, routine, conventional activit[ies] previously known to the industry,' and thus, there is no transformative feature between the abstract ideas of voting and verification and the input of the given steps into a computer system."

Voter Verified, Inc. v. Election Systems & Software, LLC f/k/a Election Systems & Software, Inc., 1-16-cv-00267 (FLND March 21, 2017, Order) (Walker, USDJ)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

eBay Listing Is Not eBay’s Offer to Sell​

The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment that it did not directly infringe plaintiff's bee trap patent because defendant's online marketplace listing was not defendant's offer to sell within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). "[Defendant's] website contained descriptions of the allegedly infringing products and a price at which the items could be obtained. As [plaintiff] observes, [defendant] tells users that bidding on a product creates a contract that obligates the bidder to purchase the product. . . . [Defendant] explicitly identifies a 'seller,' rather than a 'supplier,' on each listing, and no evidence is in the record that users pay [defendant] rather than the seller. . . . [T]he context of an exchange on [defendant's online marketplace website] demonstrates that no reasonable consumer could conclude that by bidding on [a] listing, he was accepting an offer from [defendant] itself. [Defendant's] terms of service explicitly advise users that [defendant] is not making an offer through a listing, and . . . [defendant] lacks title and possession of the items listed."

Blazer d/b/a Carpenter Bee Solutions v. eBay Inc., 1-15-cv-01059 (ALND March 20, 2017, Order) (Bowdre, USDJ)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Expert’s Consideration of Pre-Issuance Value of Patented Invention Does Not Render Damages Opinion Unreliable​

The court denied defendant's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of plaintiff's damages expert for considering the pre-issuance value of the patented invention. "[T]here is no merit to [defendant's] argument that '[the expert's] opinion regarding the alleged value [of] the [patent’s] invention before it even issued is improper and should be excluded.' The economic data from the period before the issuance of the [patent] provided a sound basis from which to determine the value of the invention that was ultimately patented. . . . A patent does not have to be in existence in order to calculate the value that the invention would have, particularly if others are already practicing the invention in the market when the patent issues. . . . [Defendant] is correct that those earlier sales were not infringing sales, and therefore may not be included as contributing to the assessment of damages. But [the expert] committed no such error. . . . [He] began with the number in dispute and then accounted for several other variables, including deducting noninfringing profits, before ultimately deriving his estimated reasonable royalty rate. The initial number was an essential part of [his] model for calculating damages and is therefore a legitimate and relevant part of his damages analysis."

Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR v. Eli Lilly and Company et al, 2-15-cv-01202 (TXED March 17, 2017, Order) (Bryson, CJ)