The Federal Circuit has vacated Central District of California Judge John A. Kronstadt’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement that ended district court litigation between plaintiff Sound View Innovations, LLC and defendant Hulu. While the lower court’s construction of a key disputed limitation was affirmed, the Federal Circuit took issue with the failure to provide an affirmative construction for the term “buffer”, as used in the asserted claims, and therefore with the lower court’s grant of summary judgment on the basis that certain “caches” could not be the required “buffer”. The dispute between Sound View and Hulu will now resume, after remand, Judge Kronstadt having set a scheduling conference for mid-June.
Sound View Innovations, LLC has added more cases to the campaign that it began back in 2016, suing Delta Air Lines (1:19-cv-00659) and Wal-Mart (1:19-cv-00660) over subsets of four and five patents, respectively, from the NPE’s large portfolio, most of which originated with Alcatel-Lucent. These new suits join early-stage cases filed against AMC Networks, CBS (CBS Interactive), HSN, Liberty Interactive (QVC), and The CW Network in January of this year. The Central District of California—in a 2017 case filed against Hulu—has been considering a storm of motions for several months, including multiple dispositive motions on various issues, among them noninfringement, failure to prove invalidity, and alleged willful infringement; motions to permit both fact and expert discovery after the deadline for completion; and motions attacking the proposed testimony of each party’s expert witnesses.
In July 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw the first new petition for inter partes review (IPR) filed against a Native American tribe since the Board’s March ruling that IPRs against tribes are not barred by sovereign immunity, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Circuit on July 20. Institution decisions were also issued by the Board in July for IPRs against Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited and Sound View Innovations, LLC, among other notable plaintiffs. In addition, the PTAB issued final decisions throughout July for IPRs against a variety of other NPEs, from Intellectual Ventures LLC (which has continued to pursue its existing campaigns but has seemingly stopped filing new US litigation) to smaller entities like Andrea Electronics Corporation and XPRT Ventures LLC as well as individual inventor Daniel L. Flamm.
Sound View Innovations, LLC has added Hulu (2:17-cv-04146) to its web infrastructure campaign, along with a second lawsuit against Facebook (2:17-cv-04275). At issue in the new complaints are a total of six former Alcatel-Lucent patents. The defendants are alleged to infringe the 5,806,062 patent through their use of the Document Object Model API, and the 6,708,213 and 9,462,074 patents through their use of content delivery networks (CDNs) that utilize the MPEG-DASH and/or HLS streaming protocols. In addition, Hulu is alleged to infringe another patent (6,757,796) through its own use of similar CDNs; the 6,125,371 patent through its use of the Apache Cassandra distributed database platform; and the 6,502,133 patent through its use of the Apache Storm distributed stream processing framework.