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

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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Judge Griesa Grants Endo an Injunction Against Generic Manufacturers of Opioid Opana ER

On April 29, 2016, S.D.N.Y. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa granted  Defendants Actavis, Inc., Actavis South Atlantic LLC (together “Actavis”) and Roxane Laboratories, Inc.'s motion to correct the court’s August 14, 2015 judgment by ruling that Endo was not entitled to relief because its patents had not issued at the time Actavis and Roxane filed their ANDAs.  The court held that it would not alter Actavis and Roxane’s ANDA filing date but would still enjoin them from making or selling their generic products until Endo’s patents expire.

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Judge Rakoff Holds a 3-D “Magic Trick” Implemented With Software Is Not Equivalent to One Implemented With Hardware

On April 24, 2016, District Judge Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) ruled  that defendants Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Nintendo of America, Inc.'s (collectively, “Nintendo”)’s 3DS pocket gaming console does not infringe Tomita Technologies USA, LLC (“Tomita”)’s U.S. Patent No. 7,417,664 (“the ’664 patent”) either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.

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Patent Arithmetic: 2 x 473mL Is Greater Than 500mL

On March 15, 2016, District Judge Alison J. Nathan granted defendant Breckenridge Pharamceutical, Inc.’s (“Breckenridge”) motion for summary judgement of noninfringement of plaintiff Braintree Laboratories Inc.’s (“Braintree”) U.S. Patent No. 6,946,149 (the “‘149 patent”).  Breckenridge had sought FDA approval of a generic version of Braintree’s SUPREP colon cleansing solution, which Braintree alleged infringed the ‘149 patent.

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Pleading Merely that Defendant Had Knowledge of the Patent is Insufficient to Support a Willful Infringement Claim

On March 16, 2016, District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.) granted in part defendant Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (“Lowe’s”)’s motion to dismiss plaintiff Iron Gate Security, Inc. (“Iron Gate”)’s Complaint. Iron Gate commenced the action on November 11, 2015, alleging direct infringement, induced infringement, contributory infringement, and willful infringement, by Lowe’s, of U.S. Patent No. 6,288,641.

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S.D.N.Y. Holds That There is No Presumption of § 101 Patent-Eligibility

On February 22, 2016, District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y.) granted counterclaim-defendants WPP PLC’s and its subsidiaries’ (collectively, “the WPP Companies”) motion for summary judgment of patent invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

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Judge Can’t Find Infringement in Camouflage Shoe-Sole Patent Case

On February 19, 2016, District Judge Paul A. Crotty granted defendant Attilio Giusti Leombruni S.P.A.’s (“AGL’s”) motion to dismiss the patent infringement claim of plaintiff Lori Silverman and her company Lsil. Col. (“Plaintiffs”).

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“Substantial” Is Precise Enough but Means-Plus-Function Claims Need More Specificity

On January 4, 2016, District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin held that several phrases using the term “substantial” were sufficiently definite and did not require construction, while finding that several of plaintiff Verint Systems Inc.’s (“Verint”) claims invoked means-plus-function (“MPF”) claiming and were invalid for indefiniteness. 

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“Pulsed” Means “On/Off”, Not “High/Low”

On December 22, 2015, District Judge Nelson D. Roman denied plaintiff Radiancy Inc.’s (“Radiancy”) motion for reconsideration of the Court’s construction of the claim term “pulsed heating.” The Court had previously construed “pulse heating of said one or more heat elements” to mean “(1) periodic switching on and off of current to said one or more heat elements or (2) generation of pulses of heat by other means (e.g., by mechanical means).” 

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Discovery of Foreign Profits and Sales of Accused Products Found Relevant

On November 25, 2015, District Judge Laura Swain ordered defendant Bio-Rad to produce information related to foreign sales and profits of its Next Generation Chromatography (“NGC”) protein purification devices, overturning Magistrate Judge Netburn’s previous order that Bio-Rad need not produce such information.

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Sale to Corporate Affiliate Sufficient to Exhaust Patent Rights

On November 19, 2015, District Judge Denise Cote granted plaintiffs Canon Inc.’s and Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s (“Canon USA”) motion for summary judgment, holding that (i) because Canon Inc. was retroactively licensed under the asserted patents for certain products (“Océ printers”), it could similarly grant a retroactive sublicense for use of this technology to its corporate subsidiary Canon USA; and (ii) Canon USA’s sale of the Océ printers to its corporate affiliate Canon Solutions America, Inc. (“CSA”) exhausted the defendants’ patent rights, rendering CSA’s offer to sell the Océ printers a non-infringing act.  

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