Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grouping Accused Products, Alleging Compliance With Industry Standard Prove Fatal to Infringement Claims

In granting defendant's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement, the court rejected plaintiff's "shortcuts" of grouping accused products and asserting that compliance with an industry standard constitutes infringement. "When plaintiffs filed this patent infringement suit alleging that three separate patents had been infringed by more than 260 products they had to know it would not be simple or easy to prove that each of the accused products infringed every element of each claim of each asserted patent. Their efforts to take shortcuts by alleging 'compliance with industry standards' and grouping accused products have failed. Merely asserting that products comply with an industry standard that runs more than 1000 pages is not proof that the products practice specific sections of the standard. Grouping does not work when the only evidence supporting such grouping is merely that 'in general, different versions of a product are part of the same family and have the same basic functionality.' Slight variations in product functionality may be the difference between infringement and non-infringement by that product . . . Saying that products have the same 'basic' functionality is not enough to justify grouping without evidence that the relevant features are identical."

Fujitsu Limited et al v. Netgear, Inc.,
3-07-cv-00710 (WIWD September 18, 2009, Order)
(Crabb, J.)

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