Intellectual Ventures accused NettApp’s MetroCluster Fabric Attached systems of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,516,442, which covers aspects of symmetric multi-processor types of computer architecture by which multiple processors share a common operating system and memory. Each asserted claim required certain components of the system to “perform error correction of the data in the packets exchanged over the channels.” NettApp asserted that the MetroCluster products, which allow for continuous back-up of data to separate locations, do not satisfy this “error correction” limitation, as the term had been construed. Judge Saris granted NettApp’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. She had construed the term to mean “correcting errors in data by at least reconstructing erroneous data,” rejecting Intellectual Ventures proposal that the term be construed broadly enough to encompass the correction of errors using a retry request. The MetroCluster systems break down data packets into sub-packets, to which an error detection code is appended. The system discards data in which an error is detected and then retransmits the data. Once the correct data has been received, the system puts the sub-packets back together into a complete packet. Intellectual Ventures asserts that this re-assembly of the sub-packets into full packets satisfies the “reconstruction” aspect of the limitation; Judge Saris disagreed, however, finding that her construction of the “error correction” limitation unambiguously excluded a system that exclusively addressed errors through a retry procedure. She also noted that the reassembly process utilized by the MetroCluster systems was not a part of handling errors, as such reassembly occurs whether an error is detected or not.
Sonohm accuses Superlogics of infringing two patents, U.S. 6,651,207, related to improved voice quality in cordless communications utilizing frequency hopping, and U.S. 7,106,705, which is directed to methods and systems for transmitting data for multiple services via jointly used physical channels. The ‘207 patent is expired, while the ‘705 patent remains in effect only through May 2021. According to the assignment records of the PTO, Sonohm acquired both patents in September 2019, after the ‘207 patent had expired. Since then, Sonohm has filed seventeen infringement suits involving the two patents, nine of which settled within about six months. The case has been assigned to Judge Burroughs.
Wildlife Acoustics makes bioacoustics monitoring technology used to monitor various animal species around the world. This technology can supplement or replace other, more manpower-intensive monitoring methods. Wildlife’s recorder design allowed for a significant reduction in power usage, enabling the use of much smaller batteries and a smaller and lighter recording device that is considerably easier to pack into remote locations. Wildlife accuses Australia’s Frontier Labs of infringing its U.S. Patent No. 7,782,195, which covers these recording devices, through the sale of competing BAR audio recording devices. Judge O’Toole has been assigned to the case, which was filed by my firm, Lando & Anastasi.
Judge Young granted Stilla’s motion for a 90 day stay of this patent litigation related to droplet digital PCR technology. Bio-Rad accuses Stilla’s Naica™ System of infringement. Stilla sought to stay the case to allow its France-based staff, who are under severe travel and work restrictions, to focus on their development of a COVID-19 diagnostic test kit that uses the Naica™ System. Deciding to prolong a litigation is not the norm for Judge Young, who in December refused to accept a joint schedule that proposed trying the case in mid-February, 2021, stating that the case would go to trial no later than January 2021. The pandemic changes things, however, and the stay was granted just three days after it was sought, despite Stilla’s notice that Bio-Rad opposed the stay.
Judge Talwani denied Ice River’s motion to stay pending resolution of a third party’s petition for inter partes review of all of the claims asserted in this case. She indicated that, as inter partes review had not yet been instituted, she was denying the motion without prejudice to renew should the review move forward. While not expressed in her brief order, Judge Talwani was likely influenced by the fact that the case is in the middle of what appears to be contentious discovery and with a Markman hearing scheduled for April. Further, Ice River did not agree to be bound by the outcome of the IPR, should it be instituted (as the IPR was requested by a third party, Ice River would not be precluded from reasserting issues that were or reasonably could have been raised in the way that the third party would).
SynKloud accuses Nuance of infringing U.S. Patent No. RE 44,248, directed towards enhanced voice recognition technologies. The ‘248 patent is a reissue of U.S. 7,689,416. SynKloud asserts that certain of Nuance’s Dragon products infringe through allowing users to transfer voice model files between computers, enhancing the speech recognition accuracy in the destination computer. SynKloud first notified Nuance of the ‘248 patent in April of 2015, but Nuance continued to sell the accused Dragon products. SynKloud specifically pleads that neither it nor any predecessors in interest have made, sold or licensed any products covered by the ‘248 patent and thus requiring marking. SynKloud claims direct, induced and contributory infringement. Judge Saris has the case.
Biogen, along with the University of Zurich, accuses New York-based Creative Biolabs of infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,906,367. The patent is said to cover an antibody, Aducanumab, that Biogen is investigating as a treatment for early Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen licensed the antibody from a Swiss biotech company, Neurimmune Therapeutics, who had itself licensed the antibody and accompanying intellectual property from the University of Zurich. The antibody was developed from antibodies in healthy, aged donors who did not have Alzheimer’s, under the theory that these individuals’ immune systems had successfully resisted the disease, and the treatment has reduced the plaques that are a marker of the disease in animal studies. Biogen is presently working in collaboration with pharmaceutical company Eisai in clinical development and commercialization of the antibody, which is also known by the widely-used designation “BIIB037,” and is currently seeking regulatory approval for its use, currently back in trials after having previously been pulled. In addition to patent infringement, Biogen asserts that Creative Biolabs infringes Biogen’s trademark rights in the “BIIB037” alternate designation, which Biogen believes will cause confusion or mistake as to the origin, sponsorship or approval of Creative Biolabs’ aducanumab products. Biogen also asserts violation of 93A. The case is with Magistrate Judge Cabell.
Florida corporation ViaTech brought suit against Adobe in May, 2019, accusing Adobe of infringing its U.S. Patent No. 6,920,567, entitled “System and Embedded License Control Mechanism for the Creation and Distribution of Digital Content Files and Enforcement of Licensed Use of Digital Content Files.” Venue was based on Adobe having offices in Massachusetts (despite having a principal place of business in California), as well as having allegedly infringed the patent in Massachusetts, both through its Massachusetts offices and through its on-line store. ViaTech itself was originally a Massachusetts corporation, ViaTech Inc., which merged into ViaTech Technologies in 2000. The three inventors on the ‘567 patent all reside in Massachusetts, although ViaTech has no Massachusetts employees. Adobe moved to dismiss the complaint, while also moving to transfer, and agreed to delay a decision on the dismissal pending the outcome of the transfer motion.
ViaTech’s authority to transact business in Massachusetts was revoked in 2012, for failure to file annual reports. On May 20, 2019, ViaTech filed annual reports for 2009 through 2018, seeking reinstatement, and four days later ViaTech filed suit against Adobe before reinstatement was granted. Judge Burroughs granted Adobe’s motion to transfer venue, but transferred to Adobe’s alternative selection, Delaware, rather than Northern California where Adobe is headquartered. She first noted that venue disputes in patent cases are governed by the law of the regional circuit rather than the Federal Circuit. She noted that Massachusetts was not ViaTech’s principal place of business and that vViaTech lacked ability to do business in the Commonwealth when the case was filed. The presumption in favor of ViaTech’s choice of forum was further diminished by the fact that ViaTech had twice brought suit on the same patent in the District of Delaware. This last fact also weighed against the convenience of ViaTech in litigating in Massachusetts, as it demonstrated ViaTech’s ability and willingness to do so in Delaware. Because both parties are incorporated in Delaware, Judge Burroughs determined that it was a more appropriate venue.
JT IP and its member and manager, Jeffery Eldredge, filed suit against FloPack, LLC and its members and managers Thomas Florence and his daughter, Kimberly Perry. According to the complaint, Florence approached Eldredge in 2016 about going into business together. The two subsequently formed JT IP Holdings, with Florence’s contribution to the company to include the development of a new product, as well as to set up the business, which Eldredge contends Florence failed to do. In the summer of 2019, Florence was issued U.S. Patent No. 10,364,563 entitled “Runoff Water Management System.” Eldredge asserts that this patent was the result of his working with Florence to update and improve upon a previous Florence patent to a similar system. He says that he relied upon Florence’s assertion that he need not be named an inventor, and that the ‘563 patent was assigned to JT IP, protecting his rights. Eldredge asserts that Florence has hindered JT IP’s ability to obtain necessary additional funding, and subsequently that Florence purported to assign the ‘563 patent to new entity, FloPack, LLC, that was set up in the name of Kimberly Perry, in violation of the operating agreement of JT IP. Eldredge brings claims for correction of inventorship. violation of the Lanham Act in misrepresenting ownership of the ‘563 patent, infringement of the ‘563 patent, declaratory judgment that the assignment of the ‘563 patent to FloPack is null and void, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, fraud and misrepresentation, tortious interference with a contract and with prospective economic advantage, and violation of 93A.
The Federal Circuit upheld Celltrion’s non-infringement victory at the District Court in a summary affirmance, meaning that no opinion was written. Janssen had sought infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, but Judge Wolf found that the claims, if extended to cover the equivalents sought, would have been obvious, and that Celltrion therefore did not infringe. This should bring the lawsuit to a close.