Northern District of California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has granted summary judgment of noninfringement to a group of defendants sued by CellSpin Soft, Inc. back in 2017: Alphabet (Fitbit), Fossil, Garmin, Nike, Nikon, and Under Armour. The court ruled that the inventor-controlled plaintiff failed to “marshal the evidence necessary to defeat the defendants’ summary judgment motions”, suggesting that the failure is “perhaps a consequence of Cellspin’s decision to litigate this case with numerous defendants and accused products”. This grant is not CellSpin’s first summary judgment pickle, nor is this speculation the court’s first comment on the plaintiff’s litigation strategy—Judge Gonzalez Rogers having earlier criticized CellSpin for not having “filed a ‘test case’ before asserting its patents here” because those patents (according to the court) were “manifestly directed to an abstract idea”.
The Federal Circuit has vacated and remanded a Northern District of California invalidation of multiple mobile data sync patents under Alice, reviving the litigation campaign of inventor-controlled CellSpin Soft, Inc. The accompanying opinion applies key 2018 case law that has trimmed Alice’s reach, faulting District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for “ignoring the principle, implicit in Berkheimer and explicit in Aatrix, that factual disputes about whether an aspect of the claims is inventive may preclude dismissal at the pleadings stage under § 101”. The appellate ruling also pulled the rug out from under the district court’s award of six-figure attorney fees to defendants Canon, Fossil, and Nike, with the Federal Circuit highlighting clear error in Judge Gonzalez Rogers’s exceptional case analysis—in part, holding for the first time that the presumption of validity extends to Section 101 eligibility, contrary to the lower court’s ruling.
A California court has invalidated the four patents asserted by inventor-controlled NPE CellSpin Soft, Inc. under Alice. Ruling on validity challenges brought by a variety of connected device and wearable manufacturers, including Canon, Fitbit, GoPro, and Panasonic, District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers held on April 3 that the patents at issue are invalid as directed to the abstract idea of “acquiring, transferring, and publishing data and multimedia content on one or more websites” while lacking a sufficient inventive concept.
Cellspin Soft, Inc. has begun a new litigation campaign over patents generally related to capturing data, locally syncing that data with a mobile device, and uploading that data, along with user identification information, to a web service. Each of the NPE’s thirteen complaints asserts at least one of four such patents against Adidas, Canon, Eastman Kodak, FitBit, Fossil Group, Garmin, GoPro, Moov, Nike, Nikon, Panasonic, TomTom, and Under Armour. The accused products are digital cameras, smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearable devices, together with related mobile applications.