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Supreme Court Sidesteps Presumption Against Extraterritoriality, Allows Lost Profit Damages for Infringement through Export of Specialized Components
June 22, 2018
Industrial, Patent Litigation Feature
The US Supreme Court has issued its decision in WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical, ruling that patent plaintiffs may recover lost profits damages when an infringer has made specialized components for an invention that gets assembled abroad (2016–1011). However, the Court’s 7-2 majority opinion, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, effectively sidestepped the underlying issue of the presumption against extraterritoriality, under which courts presume that federal statutes do not apply outside of the US. Rather, the majority held that the presumption was not triggered by the provision governing the type of infringement at issue, 35 USC Section 271(f)(2), holding that relevant behavior for that provision—the assembly of the infringing parts—was domestic conduct. Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, asserting that lost profits for foreign sales were barred by the plain text of the Patent Act and warning that the majority’s holding could invite foreign courts to enforce international patent rights based on conduct within the US.
June 22, 2018
Patent Litigation Feature, Semiconductors
A jury in the Eastern District of Texas has issued an infringement verdict for a US-based subsidiary of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a South Korean state-run research university. On June 15, the jury found that Samsung had infringed a single KAIST patent through the provision of semiconductor products utilizing FinFET technology, also finding GlobalFoundries and Qualcomm to infringe through the provision of chips and devices that incorporate FinFET architectures. The verdict included a finding of willfulness as to Samsung and awarded $400M in damages against that defendant.
June 16, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Publicly traded VoIP-Pal.com, Inc. has followed its recently filed, second case against Apple with a first case filed against Amazon (2:18-cv-01076), both in the District of Nevada. Both complaints assert the same four patents, all issued within the last year or so and all generally related to routing messages between private and public networks based on stored caller profiles. At issue in the Amazon complaint are Alexa’s calling and messaging features, together with various other devices either provided by Amazon (e.g., Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap) or equipped with the Alexa app (e.g., certain Android mobile phones, Apple iOS mobile phones). This recent activity seems to have been triggered by final written decisions in two inter partes reviews (IPRs) of patents previously asserted against Apple (and others), sustaining all of the claims challenged. However, those proceedings have yet to conclude, with Apple seeking to reverse those judgments as a sanction against VoIP-Pal for allegedly improper communications with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
June 15, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Networking, Patent Market, Patent Watch
As CXT Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of publicly traded NPE Quest Patent Research Corporation, adds more retailers to its ecommerce campaign, the USPTO continues to make public additional patent assignments from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) to CXT. Mid-June assignment records also include a recent transfer of 31 patent assets from IBM to Finjan Blue, Inc.
June 15, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Citing Traxcell Technologies, LLC’s accusations in a case filed against AT&T in the same jurisdiction last October, Telenav has asked the Eastern District of Texas for a declaratory judgment that it does not infringe one of the four patents earlier asserted. Telenav notes that the NPE accused the AT&T Navigator app of infringing the patent, which generally relates to a system for maintaining the expected performance of a wireless network based on the location of mobile devices. AT&T Navigator is a Telenav product, prompting AT&T to seek indemnification. Traxcell has filed this campaign in two waves, one in January 2017 against device makers and the other in October 2017 against wireless carriers, the former resulting in extensive motion practice over the sufficiency of Traxcell’s infringement contentions that led to sanctions against the plaintiff.
Federal Circuit Denies Early Reversal of Gilstrap Rule That Intervenors Automatically Waive Right to Challenge Venue
June 15, 2018
Mechanical Consumer Products, Patent Litigation Feature
The Federal Circuit has denied a petition for writ of mandamus filed in a Texas lawsuit by three mattress manufacturers that were prevented from challenging venue after intervening in a case against a reseller of their products. At issue in that lawsuit, filed by Team Worldwide against Wal-Mart, are inflatable mattresses sold by the defendant but made and sold by Bestway, Coleman, and Intex, all of which intervened in the lawsuit on the grounds that they, and not Wal-Mart, were the “true defendants” in the case. However, in February, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap denied the manufacturers’ motion to sever and transfer the claims against them, holding that by intervening they had automatically waived their right to challenge venue. In its June 13 ruling on the manufacturers’ mandamus petition, the Federal Circuit cited the unsettled nature of the law on this particular waiver issue and held that other relief was available to the petitioners, including an appeal following a final judgment (2018-0131).
June 14, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Errol LLC, another affiliate of monetization firm IP Valuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal), has initiated a new litigation campaign, filing suit against Coveo Software (1:18-cv-00888) and Micro Focus (1:18-cv-00889) over two patents generally related to organizing search results. Errol accuses the defendants of infringement through the data indexing and search features in Coveo Platform 7.0 and in Micro Focus IDOL, respectively, the latter product acquired as part of the September 2017 merger between Micro Focus and the software business of HP Enterprise. Errol’s campaign appears to be IPVal’s fifth new campaign in the last six weeks, and eighth new campaign in 2018 so far, with more likely on the way.
June 14, 2018
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Norway’s CUPP Computing AS, together with its Delaware subsidiary, CUPP CyberSecurity LLC, have added a second Northern District of Texas case to the litigation campaign begun last month against Trend Micro. The new complaint accuses Symantec (3:18-cv-01554) of infringing the same eight patents, generally related to security mechanisms for mobile networks and devices, through the sale of a long list of anti-malware products, including products characterized as Symantec Endpoint Security products, Network Security products, Endpoint Encryption, and Norton Security products.
June 13, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
PC Coma LLC, an affiliate of monetization firm IP Valuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal), has added a second case to the litigation campaign that it began at the end of May by suing Xerox in the Eastern District of Texas. The new defendant is Oki Electric Industry (Oki Data Americas) (1:18-cv-00872), with the Delaware complaint again asserting a single patent, generally related to power management in computing devices, against the defendant’s multifunction printers (the “Okidata MB472w”). The accused model’s power management system—i.e., its “Power Save Mode” and “Sleep Mode”—is at issue. The day after PC Coma filed against Oki Data, it voluntarily dismissed the Xerox complaint.
June 9, 2018
Networking, Patent Market, Patent Watch
On May 31 of this year, the assignment of five US patents from Japanese telecom carrier NTT Docomo to Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 (IP Bridge 1), a subsidiary of monetization firm IP Bridge, Inc., was recorded with the USPTO, an assignment agreement executed between the parties on May 9 accompanying the filing. The patents generally relate to router discovery, network security, and other aspects of network communications, issuing across four families between 2007 and 2010.