Parallel Networks Loses Appeal at the CAFC

January 24, 2013

NPE plaintiff Parallel Networks lost an appeal last week before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) over a patent related to balancing web server demand.  According to the three-judge panel, a Texas federal judge did not err in finding that several websites accused of infringement cannot be held liable because they do not contain every claim limitation present in the asserted patent, the CAFC ruled on January 16, 2013. The CAFC further noted that “the asserted claim of Parallel Network’s U.S. patent No. 6,446,111 require that an applet be executable or operable when it is generated and before it is first transmitted to a client, which means it must include both the particularized data and the functionality.” Parallel asserted the ‘111 patent against 120 defendants over four separate lawsuits beginning in March 2010. The defendants in the suit, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Amazon, and Subaru, offers a website that provides applets in response to user requests. Most defendants were dismissed after the district court’s summary judgment of non-infringement. Following summary judgment, Parallel filed a motion seeking to amend infringement claims in light of the district court’s claim construction — which the court denied — leading to appeal.  After an analysis of the patent’s specification and key terms, the CAFC affirmed the district court’s decision by stating, “Parallel’s argument is unpersuasive.  We agree with the district court that Parallel is seeking to amend its infringement contentions in order to make arguments that could have been made before the entry of summary judgment, a tactic that the district court correctly held to be improper.” [2012-1227]

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