On December 10, 2021, Judge Katherine Polk Failla (S.D.N.Y.) dismissed with prejudice a pro se plaintiff’s claim that the law firm Bracewell LLP induced infringement of his patent by providing legal advice to a direct infringer. See Ottah v. Bracewell LLP, No. 21 Civ. 455, 2021 BL 472911 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 10, 2021).
On October 14, 2021, United States District Judge Lorna G. Schofield (S.D.N.Y.) construed the scope of U.S. Design Patent No. 668,091 (“the D091 Patent”) in a dispute between Sure Fit Home Products, LLC, SF Home Décor, LLC, Zahner Design Group, Ltd., and Hookless Systems of North America, Inc. (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) and Maytex Mills, Inc. (“Defendant”). This decision follows the Court’s denial of a preliminary injunction request by Plaintiffs, addressed previously.
Judge Vyskocil Allows Amino Acid Case to Go Forward Despite “Group Pleading” and “Inconsistent Allegations” of Infringement
On September 27, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil held that plaintiffs Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and Ajinomoto Heartland Inc. had alleged plausible claims for relief for infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(g), for inducement of infringement, and for willful infringement, despite the complaint’s purported “group pleading” and “inconsistent allegations” of infringement by the three related defendant corporations.
You Don’t Belong Here – Judge Ramos Grants Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Improper Venue
On September 28, 2021, United States District Judge Edgardo Ramos (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant JLC Tech LLC’s (“JLC”) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue. Judge Ramos also denied Plaintiff Shenzen OKT Lighting Co., Ltd.’s (“OKT”) motion to file a second amended complaint.
On September 2, 2021, United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska (S.D.N.Y.) granted in part and denied in part Defendants’ motion for judgement on the pleadings in Berall v. Pentax of America, Inc., et al. All in all, as set forth below, the decision was a mixed bag for both Plaintiff and Defendants.
On August 12, 2021, United States District Court Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) denied Plaintiff GeigTech East Bay LLC’s (“GeigTech”) motions for a preliminary injunction and to dismiss Defendant Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.’s (“Lutron”) counterclaims, and sua sponte stayed the case until the end of the year pending post grant review of a related patent.
Judge Chen Notes Split in Authority as to Whether Claim Construction is a Dispositive Pretrial Matter
On July 20, 2021, District Judge Pamela Chen (E.D.N.Y.) adopted, in its entirety, Judge Bulsara’s report and recommendation (“R&R”) in Sunscreen Mist Holdings, LLC v. SnappyScreen, Inc. (“Sunscreen Mist” and “SnappyScreen,” respectively) rejecting SnappyScreen’s argument that certain claim language in Sunscreen Mist’s patent is indefinite. We wrote about the R&R in an earlier post.
On May 26, 2021, United States District Judge Lorna G. Schofield (S.D.N.Y.) denied a preliminary injunction request from Plaintiffs Sure Fit Home Products, LLC, SF Home Décor, LLC, and Zahner Design Group, Ltd. (collectively, "Plaintiffs"). Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Maytex Mills, Inc. ("Defendant") infringes their design patent and trade dress by selling a hookless shower curtain.
Judge Cogan Acknowledges the Error of Precluding Evidence of Secondary Considerations of Nonobviousness
On April 27, 2021, United States District Judge Brian M. Cogan (E.D.N.Y.) granted Plaintiff Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc. ("Leviton") motion for a new trial based on the Court's exclusion of secondary indicia of nonobviousness.
On April 29, 2021, District Judge Sarah Netburn (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendant salesforce.com, Inc.’s ("Salesforce") motion for transfer of venue to the Northern District of California ("the NDCA")—where it is based—pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
On March 5, 2021, the Federal Circuit affirmed U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken’s (S.D.N.Y.) order dismissing the remaining claims of plaintiff Bobcar Media, LLC (“Bobcar”). On March 30, 2021, Judge Oetken denied a motion for attorneys’ fees by defendant Aardvark Event Logistics, Inc. (“Aardvark”).
On February 26, 2021, United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara (E.D.N.Y.) issued a claim construction ruling in Sunscreen Mist Holdings, LLC v. SnappyScreen, Inc. (“Sunscreen Mist” and “SnappyScreen” respectively) that Sunscreen Mist alleges infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,918,897 (“the ’897 patent”), which relates to a vending machine that dispenses and sprays sunscreen lotion on customers. The parties presented the Court with only one disputed claim term: “means to store sunscreen lotion.” The only question before the Court was whether the patent identified sufficient structure for storing sunscreen lotion.
Magistrate Judge Reyes Recommends Dismissal of DJ Action Against Assignee That Never Owned The Patent-In-Suit
On February 9, 2021, United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr. (E.D.N.Y.) recommended that Sell Below Cost USA LLC’s (“Sell Below”) DJ complaint against Blue Island Holding Group (US) Inc. (“Blue Island”) that United States design patent No. D854,106 S (the “’106 patent”) is invalid and not infringed be dismissed because Blue Island never actually owned the ’106 patent even though it was the assignee named on the patent’s face.
On February 16, 2021, U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione (E.D.N.Y.) recommended granting plaintiff Nationwide Sales and Services Inc.’s (“Nationwide”) motion for judgment on the pleadings as to patent misuse counterclaims asserted by defendant Steel City Vacuum Co. (“Steel City”).
On February 9, 2021, District Judge Lorna Schofield (S.D.N.Y.) denied defendant Google LLC’s motion for summary judgment on the defense of equitable estoppel and granted plaintiff Kewazinga Corp.’s cross-motion for summary judgment that equitable estoppel does not apply.
On January 25, 2021, United States District Judge Alvin Hellerstein (S.D.N.Y.) denied Defendant Microsoft Corp. ("Microsoft")'s motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to FRCP 50(b) or a new trial pursuant to FRCP 59.
Judge Ramos Finds Forum Selection Clause of NDA Implicates Confidentiality and Not IP Rights and Allows IPRs to Proceed
On January 19, 2021, United States District Judge Edgardo Ramos (S.D.N.Y.) denied Kannuu Pty Ltd. (“Kannuu”)’s motion for preliminary injunction and instead granted Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (“Samsung”)’s motion to stay pending resolution of two instituted IPRs.
Judge McMahon Rules Outside Counsel’s Pre-Suit Download of Online Dating App Does Not Bind Party to Arbitration Agreement
On December 15, 2020, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) denied plaintiff Perry Street Software, Inc.’s (“Perry Street”) motion to compel arbitration of defendant Jedi Technologies, Inc. (“Jedi”) patent infringement counterclaim.
A Case That Really “Stands Out” in a Crowd: Judge Abrams Awards Attorneys’ Fees Where Plaintiff Ignores Pleading Deficiencies For Three Months
On December 10, 2020, United States District Judge Ronnie Abrams (S.D.N.Y.) granted Oath Inc. (“Oath”) and Quora, Inc. (“Quora”)’s motions for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. Section 285 permits courts to award reasonable attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party in exceptional cases. The standard was met here, according to Judge Abrams, most particularly because Plaintiff NetSoc, LLC (“NetSoc”) ignored deficiencies in its pleading for roughly three months after being informed of errors therein.
Judge Rakoff Sanctions Patentee for Sharing Confidential Documents with Counsel in Overseas Trade Secret Case
On December 7, 2020, United States District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) denied Plaintiff SIMO Holdings Inc.’s (“SIMO”) motion to use four confidential documents in a related trade secret dispute pending in Shenzhen, China, and instead imposed a $40,000 sanction on SIMO for disclosing the confidential documents to Chinese counsel.
Judge Brown Disagrees with Both Parties on What the Claimed Invention is and Invalidates Wearable Content Patents Under 35 U.S.C. § 101
On November 19, 2020, District Judge Gary Brown (E.D.N.Y.) granted Defendants Polar Electro Oy and Polar Electro Inc.'s (collectively, "Polar Electro") motion to dismiss for lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
On October 5, 2020, United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser (E.D.N.Y.) denied plaintiff Alexsam, Inc.’s (“Alexsam”) motion for reconsideration of the court’s June 17, 2020 summary judgment ruling.
Speedfit’s Treadmill Patent “Runs Into” On-Sale Bar Invalidity Due to Collateral Estoppel Stemming from a Prior Litigation on a Different Patent
On September 21, 2020, District Judge Chen (E.D.N.Y.) entered an order granting Defendants Chapco Inc. and Samsara Fitness LLC’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity of Plaintiffs Speedfit LLC and Aurel Astilean’s U.S. Patent No. 8,690,738 (“the ’738 Patent”), which is directed to a motor-less, leg-powered treadmill. The Court also denied Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff Astilean’s affidavit (“the Astilean Affidavit”) in support of Plaintiffs’ response to the summary judgment motion.
Judge Furman Sends Video Surveillance Case Packing Because an Employee’s Apartment is Not “a Place of the Defendant” Even Though Defendant’s Website Suggested It Was
On September 18, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman ruled that an employee’s apartment in the jurisdiction did not constitute a place of business of Defendant Safety Vision even though Safety Vision’s website suggested that it was.
On August 31, 2020, United States District Court Jed S. Rakoff denied plaintiffs Carnegie Institute of Washington and M7D Corporation (“Carnegie”)’s motion to dismiss the defendants’ counterclaims for inequitable conduct, holding that the allegations state with particularity a plausible claim.
The two patents-in-suit are directed to methods for growing synthetic diamonds, such as through chemical vapor deposition (“CVD”). The defendants, Pure Grown Diamonds, Inc. and IIA Technologies, allege that U.S. Patent No. RE41, 189 (the “’189 Patent”) is unenforceable because the patentees intentionally deceived the Patent Office regarding the inventorship of the patent during reissuance.
Judge Netburn Finds Complaint Doesn’t Need to Attach Photographs of Accused Exercise Devices To Adequately Plead Direct Infringement
On August 7, 2020, Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn (S.D.N.Y.) recommended that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint of Plaintiff William Araujo (“Plaintiff”) for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) be granted with respect to induced patent infringement, but denied with respect to the allegations of direct infringement.
On July 30, 2020, U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods (S.D.N.Y.) ruled on a second round of summary judgment motions brought by defendant YKK Corp. and its affiliates (together, “YKK”) against plaintiffs Au New Haven, LLC and Trelleborg Coated Systems US, Inc. (together, “Plaintiffs”), once again readying the case for trial.
On July 23, 2020, United States District Court Judge Paul G. Gardephe adopted in full the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses. The procedural history of the case and analysis of Judge Moses’ report were discussed in an earlier post here. Judge Gardephe reviewed the R&R for clear error even though the parties waived their right to judicial review. Judge Gardephe agreed that the Defendant was subject to personal jurisdiction in the district because: 1) service of process was procedurally proper, 2) there was a statutory basis for personal jurisdiction, and 3) the exercise of personal jurisdiction comported with constitutional due process principles. He noted that Defendant was properly served under § 387(1)(b) of New Zealand’s Companies Act of 1933.
You Can’t Clasp That: Judge Schofield Finds No Infringement Under Doctrine of Equivalents Due To Prosecution History Estoppel
On July 16, 2020, United States District Court Judge Lorna G. Schofield granted summary judgment of non-infringement for Defendant Verizon Services Corp (“Verizon”). Pro se plaintiff Chikezie Ottah (“Ottah”) sued Verizon for patent infringement, alleging that Verizon’s Jotto Desk Universal Laptop Mount (“the Accused Product”) infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,152,840 (“the ’840 patent”).
Judge Matsumoto Holds That “Very Small Side Load” Is Indefinite and That “Retention Element” Is a Means-Plus-Function Claim Limitation
On July 13, 2020, District Judge Matsumoto (E.D.N.Y.) entered a claim construction order construing several claim terms recited in Plaintiff Uni-Systems, LLC’s (“Plaintiff”) U.S. Patent Nos. 6,789,360 (“the ’9360 patent”) and 7,594,360 (“the ’4360 patent”), which relate to retractable roof design and are asserted against a number of defendants including the United States Tennis Association National Tennis Center (collectively, “Defendants”).
On June 22, 2020, United States District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled that Plaintiff LCS Group, LLC (“LCS”) and its counsel, Stephen Lobbin, and Foundation Law Group LLP, were jointly and severally liable for attorney’s fees in the amount of $133,803.75 to Defendants Shire LLC, Shire Development LLC, Shire PLC, and Haug Partners LLP (collectively, “Defendants”). The Court ruled that LCS and its counsel also missed the deadline to object to the Magistrate Judge’s ruling on attorney’s fees because, instead of objecting to the ruling, Plaintiff improperly appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
On June 17, 2020, United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser (E.D.N.Y.) ruled on the parties’ objections to reports and recommendations issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen M. Gold, and ultimately granted a motion for summary judgment by defendant Mastercard International Inc. (“Mastercard”) on plaintiff Alexsam, Inc.’s (“Alexsam”) breach of patent license claims.
On May 29, 2020, United States District Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant StoneCastle’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to claim patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
After a series of procedurally complex twist and turns that resulted in an agreement by plaintiff to not oppose defendants’ motion for summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendants Lori Cheek and Cheek’d Inc.’s motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and ruled that plaintiff’s counsel should pay.
What is Produced in the Southern District, Stays in the Southern District: Judge Rakoff Denies Plaintiff’s Requests to Use Documents In Chinese Proceeding
Last year we reported on the patent dispute between Plaintiff SIMO Holdings, Inc. (“SIMO”) and Defendants Hong Kong uCloudlink Network Technology Limited and uCloudlink (America), Ltd. (collectively, “uCloudlink”). (See posts from June 2019 and October 2019.) With the trial concluded—and with numerous pre- and post-trial disputes on appeal to the Federal Circuit—all was momentarily quiet on the district court front. The parties, however, recently returned to the Southern District of New York with a fresh controversy.
On April 30, 2020, Judge Cote granted reconsideration of her March 4 dismissal of Plaintiffs Signify North America Corp. and Signify Holding B.V.’s (“Signify”) allegations of willful infringement against Defendant Axis Lighting Inc. (“Axis”).
Judge Moses Recommends Awarding to Plaintiff Defendant's Profits Under 35 U.S.C. § 289 for Infringement of a Design Patent
On April 21, 2020, Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses (S.D.N.Y.) issued a recommendation that Plaintiff Evriholder Products LLC (“Evriholder”) be awarded: (1) damages under 35 U.S.C. § 289 for infringement of U.S. Patent No. D524,612 ("the '612 patent") by Defendant Simply LBS Ltd. Co. (“Simply LBS”); (2) prejudgment interest; (3) costs; and (4) a permanent injunction forbidding infringement against a default judgment defendant.
On April 7, 2020, U.S. District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto (EDNY) granted the motions to transfer for improper venue of two sets of defendants comprising the architects (“Rossetti”) and the engineers (“Morgan”) that designed and built the allegedly patent infringing retractable roof systems of the Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong tennis stadiums located in Queens, N.Y. as part of the National Tennis Center.
On April 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendant Aardvark Event Logistics, Inc’s motions to exclude plaintiff Bobcar Media, LLC’s expert testimony and for summary judgment, dismissing all of Bobcar’s remaining claims.
On April 2, 2020, Judge Oetken granted summary judgment of anticipation and resolved a variety of contract and tort claims in a long-running feud between VR Optics (“VRO”), Peloton Interactive, Inc. (“Peloton”), and Peloton’s design consultant Villency Design Group LLC (“VDG”).
On March 23, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos granted a motion to dismiss counterclaims and strike affirmative defenses because they were not plausible and did not meet the heightened pleading requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).
The years-long dispute may finally be headed for trial between Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliates, Serenity Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and Reprise Biopharmaceutics, LLC over patents claiming a sublingual application of desmopressin, a drug used to treat symptoms of diabetes insipidus, including frequent nighttime urination (“nocturia”). On March 11, 2020, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) ruled on three motions in limine filed by defendants and counterclaimants Serenity and Reprise.
On March 6, 2020, United States District Court Judge Gregory H. Woods (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant Humor Rainbow Inc.’s (“Humor”) motion to dismiss. The Court found that the asserted claim of U.S. Patent 6,685,479 (“the ’479 patent”) was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as directed to “the abstract idea of a matchmaking algorithm.”
As trial in Kaufman v. Microsoft Corporation wound down yesterday, United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”)’s motion to limit damages to those after the filing of the complaint under 35 U.S.C. § 287(a) because Plaintiff failed to mark a website offering to sell his patented product with the patent number of the patent-in-suit. However, later that day, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration, and permitted Plaintiff to seek pre-suit damages.
Judge Hellerstein Holds Post-Suit Knowledge of Patent Inadequate to Survive Summary Judgment of No Willful Infringement
On January 22, 2020, United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (S.D.N.Y.) denied Defendant Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”)’s motion for summary judgment as to non-infringement, but granted Microsoft’s motion as to willful infringement, holding that willfulness should not go to the jury without record evidence of pre-suit knowledge of the patent-in-suit.
On January 14, 2020, United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (S.D.N.Y.) denied Plaintiff Michael Philip Kaufman’s motion to exclude testimony from Defendant Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”)’s damages expert, finding that Plaintiff’s objections would be more properly raised during cross-examination.
Judge Paul G. Gardephe recently issued an Order of Default against Defendant Deep Blue Health New Zealand Ltd. (“Deep Blue Health”). Deep Blue Health had been accused of patent infringement by Plaintiff American Infertility of New York, P.C. (“American Infertility”), yet never defended the litigation. American Infertility sought compensatory damages of $10,000, attorneys’ fees of $24,250, consulting expenses of $19,250, and costs of $4,272.60. On December 30, 2019, Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses (S.D.N.Y.) recommended to Judge Gardephe that American Infertility be awarded $4,273.60 from Deep Blue Health, representative of the $4,272.60 of costs and only $1 of compensatory damages.
On January 14, 2020, District Judge Ronnie Abrams (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant LinkedIn Corp.'s ("LinkedIn") motion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), to transfer to the Northern District of California a patent infringement action brought against it by Plaintiff NetSoc, LLC's ("NetSoc"). Notably, the Court found relevant the fact that NetSoc is based in Texas and thus already chose to litigate in a forum that requires travel and increased expenses as well as the fact that it has not reported transacting business in New York.
Judge Abrams Analyzes Application of Collateral Estoppel Doctrine Even Though Parties Didn’t Dispute It
On January 13, 2020, District Judge Ronnie Abrams (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant Chegg Inc.'s ("Chegg") motion to dismiss Plaintiff NetSoc, LLC's ("NetSoc") complaint on the ground that NetSoc is collaterally estopped from pursuing its claims of infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,978,107 after a decision by the Northern District of Texas finding the patent invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
On September 27, 2019, Judge P. Kevin Castel (S.D.N.Y) concluded that Serenity Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“Serenity”) and Reprise Biopharmaceutics, LLC (“Reprise”) had failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Dr. Seymour Fein, a former consultant for Ferring B.V., Ferring International Center S.A., and Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. (collectively, “Ferring”), was a co-inventor of Ferring’s U.S. Patent Nos. 7,560,429 (“the ’429 patent”) and 7,947,654 (“the ’654 patent”). The inventorship issue originally arose in the underlying patent infringement suit— as we’ve previously covered here.
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