Thursday, April 10, 2014

Unreasonable Claim Construction Supporting Infringement Claim Warrants Rule 11 Sanctions

The court granted defendant's renewed motion for Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiff for its frivolous assertion of one of the patents-in-suit. "[Defendant] argues that [plaintiff's infringement claim] is objectively baseless because: (1) the specification states that digital information is 'non-printed'; and (2) the specification disclaims 'electronic books.'" . . . [T]here is a threshold below which a claim construction is 'so unreasonable that no reasonable litigant could believe it would succeed,' and thus warrants Rule 11 sanctions.' In the present case . . . although [plaintiff's] proposed definition for the term 'book' is reasonable, its definition for 'printed' -- to encompass 'any configuration in which information is presented for direct human perception' -- is astonishingly broad. [Plaintiff] argues this construction based on a single sentence in the specification which recites, '[p]rinted work may be a work of any configuration in which information is presented for direct human perception.' The next sentence, however, reads that, '[t]hus, for example, in addition to a cloth- (or other hard-) bound, or soft-bound book, work may be a magazine, or other paper based media sufficient to carry an electronic memory device as memory chip and allow its operable interconnect to access unit.' This passage does not equate 'printed works' with electronic media in support of [plaintiff's] infringement position. . . . [Plaintiff] was not 'objectively reasonable under the circumstances.' Sanctions, therefore, are warranted."

Technology Innovations LLC v. Inc., 1-11-cv-00690 (DED March 31, 2014, Order) (Robinson, J.)

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