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Firm Secures Dismissal With Prejudice in Patent Litigation Against Sony Electronics

September 23, 2020

On September 22, 2020, the Firm obtained an unusual dismissal with prejudice of a complaint for patent infringement filed by plaintiff Syclone IP LLC against our client Sony Electronics Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Syclone’s complaint alleged that smartphones sold by Sony infringe U.S. Patent No. 8,941,363, which is directed to methods and systems for managing the charge cycle of the battery in a battery-powered device.  Specifically, the patent was directed to overcoming the known problem of shortening a battery’s life by leaving it charging after a full charge was attained.  The idea was to maintain a battery at less than a full battery charge and top off the battery before use.  On September 16, 2020, Sony filed a motion to dismiss Syclone’s complaint on the grounds that the asserted patent claims subject matter not eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  In its motion, Sony argued that the patent claims were directed to the ineligible abstract idea of “topping off” battery charge insofar as the claims were drafted in broad, result-oriented steps, which could be performed by a human being and would preempt the longstanding practices of human beings “topping off” the gas tank of a conventional vehicle or the battery in an electric vehicle prior to a trip. In apparent agreement, Plaintiff Syclone voluntarily dismissed the complaint the day after Sony filed its motion.