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Category: Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.)

Judge McMahon Sua Sponte Stays Case Until End of Year: “Enough really is enough.”

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.

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You Can Keep Your Curtains: Judge Schofield Denies Preliminary Injunction

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.

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Judge Netburn Grants Transfer Venue Motion

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).

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Judge Oetken Rejects Fee Award Despite Plaintiff’s Failure to Prove Standing

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”).

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Judge Schofield Rejects Application of Rare Equitable Estoppel Defense

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.

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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.

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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.

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Judge Rakoff Refuses to “Ice” Diamond Patent Inequitable Conduct Allegations

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.

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Judge Woods Zips Up Loose Ends and Readies Zipper Dispute For Trial

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. 

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Joint Inventorship Claim for Online Dating Patent Ends in Heartbreak, Attorneys’ Fees Award

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.

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Successful Section 101 Motion to Dismiss: Digital Ad Delivery Is Abstract Concept

On March 1, 2018, United States District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendants’—Charter Communications, Inc. and Spectrum Management Holding Company, LLC (together, “Charter”)—motion to dismiss a patent infringement action brought by plaintiff Quantum Stream Inc. (“Quantum”).

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Judge Koeltl Agrees that “Access” to Confidential Information is Enough to Trigger a Prosecution Bar

On November 20, 2017, District Judge John G. Koeltl (S.D.N.Y.) approved a prosecution bar for “any individual who gains access” to confidential material.  In addition, Judge Koeltl determined that post-issuance proceedings, such as IPRs, “are properly subject to a prosecution bar.” However, Judge Koeltl lifted the bar for anyone that does not participate in amending the scope of claims in post-issuance proceedings.

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Judge Pauley Rules “About” Means “Approximately”, Maybe!

On September 19, 2017, United States District Court Judge William H. Pauley (S.D.N.Y.) issued a claim construction ruling on the word “about” across two patents directed to topical compositions containing naftifine.  Both the patent holder (“Sebela”) and the alleged infringer (“Taro”) sought claim construction for that term in the phrase “about 0.17 wt% trolamine.”  This phrase was in claim 17 of U.S. Patent 8,778,365 (“the ’365 patent”) and claim 21 of U.S. Patent 9,161,914 (“the ’914 patent”). 

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When Does “On” Mean “On”? Judge Netburn Holds That It Depends.

On September 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn (S.D.N.Y.) issued a claim construction ruling on, among other things, the construction of the word “on” across four different patents directed to semiconductor lasers.  In three of the four patents, the court concluded that the term on means “‘directly on or directly connected to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present.’”

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Judge Oetken Construes Twenty-Nine Claim Terms in “Relatively Large” Markman Opinion

On August 10, 2017, District Judge Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) construed 29 claim terms in a dispute between Defendant Comcast Corporation, et al. (“Comcast”) and Plaintiff Rovi Guides, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Rovi”).  The claim terms were construed pursuant to the ongoing litigation between Comcast on Rovi concerning the alleged infringement by Comcast of six patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,713,595, 9,172,987, 8,433,696, 7,895,218, 8,122,034, and 7,966,864 (the “’595,” “’987,” “’696,” “’218,” “’034,” and “’864” patents, respectively).  The patents covered “a number of different fields, including interactive program guides (“IPGs”), remote control, and content searching.” 
 

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Judge Cote Rules Claim Preamble is Limiting and Not So “Elastic” as to Be Indefinite

On August 4, 2017, District Judge Denise Cote issued a claim construction order that held the preamble of claim 1 of Lumos Technology Co., Ltd.'s ("Lumos") U.S. Patent No. 8,746,906 ("the '906 patent") is limiting and that a person of ordinary skill would know what "elastic material" means, and thus the relative phrase does not render claim 5 indefinite.

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Judge Oetken sua sponte Stays Case Pending Ex Parte Reexamination after Three Previous Denials

On August 2, 2017, Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) denied Plaintiff Infinity Headwear & Apparel, LLC’s (“Infinity”) motion for summary judgment as to patent infringement, false patent marking and false advertising and denied Defendant Franco & Sons, Inc.’s (“Franco”) motions objecting to Magistrate Judge Ellis’s orders.  However, Judge Oetken sua sponte stayed the patent infringement claim in view of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”)’s recent decision affirming the ex parte reexamination rejection of the asserted claims.

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Be Careful What You Wish For, You Just Might Get It: Reconsidering When To Ask for Reconsideration

On July 12, 2017, District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein granted a motion for reconsideration by Intellectual Ventures II L.L.C. (“IV”) of the Court’s prior Order of April 28, 2017.  At the time of the motion, the only patent at issue in the case was U.S. Patent No. 7,634,666 (“the ’666 Patent”).  The Court had originally denied JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s (“JPMC’s”) motion for summary judgement on noninfringement because while the accused devices didn’t actually infringe, there was a material issue of fact on “ whether the Crypto Cards are capable of infringing on the ’666 Patent.” (emphasis added).  IV asked the court to reconsider whether the accused devices actually infringed.

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Forum Selection Clause Not Triggered Based on Statements Made in Another Forum

On May 15, 2017, District Judge Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) denied the motion of Comcast Corporation, et al. (“Comcast”) for reconsideration of the Court’s prior Order dated December 14, 2016.  The Court had earlier denied Comcast’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin Rovi Corporation, Rovi Guides, Inc., Rovi Technologies Corp., and Veveo, Inc. (“Rovi”) from prosecuting its patent infringement claims against Comcast before the International Trade Commission (“ITC”). 
 

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One Out of Three Isn’t Bad, But Case Moves from New York to Florida Anyway

On April 26, 2017, District Judge Gregory H. Woods (S.D.N.Y.) found that one of the three defendants was subject to personal jurisdiction in New York and denied a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, but granted defendants’ motion to transfer venue from the Southern District of New York to the Middle District of Florida.

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Judge Sweet Holds Invalidity and Non-Infringement Defenses Cannot Shield a Licensee's Breach of a Patent License

On March 17, 2017, District Judge Robert Sweet (S.D.N.Y.) granted plaintiff Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai's ("Mt. Sinai") motion to strike defendant Neurocrine Biosciences  ("Neurocrine") affirmative defenses of patent invalidity, non-infringement, and patent misuse, and to dismiss Neurocrine's parallel declaratory judgment counterclaims.

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Judge Swain Finds a “Book” by Any Other Cover is Still Not a “Camera”

Pro se Plaintiff Chikezie Ottah (“Plaintiff”) sued fifteen automobile companies for patent infringement alleging that defendants’ car mounted cameras infringe U.S. Patent No. 7,152,840 (“the ’840 patent”) entitled “Book Holder.”  Five of the defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim and another five defendants moved for summary judgment of non-infringement.  On February 1, 2017, Judge Laura Taylor Swain (S.D.N.Y.) granted both motions.

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Judge Forrest Vacates Judge Scheindlin’s Prior Decision Invalidating TiVo Patents Under § 101

On November 29, 2016, District Judge Katherine B. Forrest (S.D.N.Y.) vacated the February 22, 2016 decision of Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, which had granted a motion to dismiss, brought by alleged infringers TNS Media Research, LLC and  Cavendish Square Holding B.V. (collectively, the declaratory judgment “Plaintiffs”), based on subject matter ineligibility of the asserted patents under 35 U.S.C. § 101. 

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Judge Nathan Grants Stay Pending Appeal of PTAB’s Inter Partes Review Decisions

On October 18, District Judge Alison J. Nathan (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendants Verizon Communications Inc.’s, Verizon Services Corp.’s, Verizon Business Network Services Inc.’s, and Cellco Partnership’s (collectively, “Verizon”) motion to stay the litigation until resolution of a consolidated appeal, pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, from two decisions of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) following inter partes review of claims in two of the patents-in-suit.

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Judge Oetken Holds that Amendments Made During Ex Parte Reexamination Are not Effective Until Grant of Reissue Patent

On September 26, 2016, District Judge Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) denied defendant Jay Franco & Sons’ (“Franco”) motion to dismiss, granted plaintiff Infinity Headwear & Apparel’s (“Infinity”) motion for leave to amend to assert additional claims, and laid out the Court’s construction of the disputed claim terms.  Infinity alleged that Franco infringed claims 1-2, 6, 8, 10-11, 15-16 and 18-20 of U.S. patent No. 8,864,544 (“the ‘544 patent”), entitled “Hooded Blanket and Stuffed Toy Combination.”

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Judge Woods Holds That Assignment of a Patent is Not an Assignment of an “Interest” Under a License to the Patent

On September 28, 2016, District Judge Gregory Woods (S.D.N.Y.) denied defendant YKK Corp.’s (“YKK”) motion to dismiss the suit, in which plaintiffs Au New Haven, LLC (“Au New Haven”) and Trelleborg Coated Systems US, Inc. (“Trelleborg”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) allege infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,105,214 (“the ‘214 patent”) and breach of the license agreement between the inventor and YKK.

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Judge Oetken Holds That Forum-Selection Clause in License Agreement Does Not Trump First-to-File Rule Altogether

On September 16, 2016, District Judge J. Paul Oetken (S.D.N.Y.) denied plaintiff Comcast Corp.’s (“Comcast”) motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin defendant Rovi Corp. (“Rovi”) from continuing to litigate its patent infringement actions against Comcast in the Eastern District of Texas (“EDTX”) and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”).

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No Way Out for Door Patent

On September 12, 2016, District Judge John G. Koeltl (S.D.N.Y.) granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss for failure to state claim of patent infringement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 12(b)(6).  Claims other than patent infringement remain in the case.

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Judge Forrest Provides Litigants Guidance on Applying Alice

On August 3, 2016, S.D.N.Y. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest denied Defendant Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (“Lowe’s”) motion to dismiss Iron Gate Security, Inc.’s (“Iron Gate”) patent infringement claim.

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Judge Cote Finds Initiating Lawsuits to Obtain Settlements Rather Than a Determination on the Merits is Not an Abuse of Process

On July 28, 2016, District Judge Denise Cote (S.D.N.Y.) granted defendants AlphaCap Ventures, LLC’s, a non-practicing entity, and Richard Juarez’s (collectively, “AlphaCap”) motion to dismiss plaintiff Gust, Inc.’s (“Gust”) allegations of (1) attempted monopolization under the Sherman Act; (2) patent misuse; and (3) abuse of process, stemming from the filing of patent infringement lawsuits in Texas.

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Judge McMahon Dismisses Case Because Agreement that Inventor “will assign” Doesn’t Mean “did assign”

On June 14, 2016, S.D.N.Y. District Judge Colleen McMahon granted defendants HTC Corporation, HTC America, Inc., Blackberry Limited, Blackberry Corporation, and Motorola Mobility LLC’s (collectively “Defendants”) motion to dismiss with prejudice a patent infringement complaint filed by plaintiff Advanced Video Technologies LLC (“AVT”) because AVT didn’t  join all “necessary” parties.  

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Judge Briccetti Stays Patent Case Against a Customer Pending Resolution of Lawsuit Against Supplier

On June 3, 2016, District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti (S.D.N.Y.) stayed  a patent infringement action brought by plaintiff Marine Travelift (“Marine”) against defendant K. Graefe & Sons Corp. (“Graefe”), pending the resolution of patent litigation between Marine and ASCOM in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Marine’s infringement allegations against Graefe were based on Graefe’s purchase of equipment from ASCOM, and both cases involved Marine’s allegations of infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 8,215,441 (“the ’441 patent”). By the time Marine filed suit against Graefe, the case against ASCOM had already reached the summary judgment stage.

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