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.
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NYPatentDecisionsBlog.com is a source for the latest patent decisions from the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. The blog is authored by Patterson Belknap’s Patent Litigation practice group, whose members are highly experienced trial attorneys with extensive technical knowledge. Many have advanced scientific degrees and industry experience in fields such as communications, electrical and electro-optical technology, semiconductor technology, metallurgical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry. The team represents consumer products, electrical and software, medical device, mechanical, and pharmaceutical companies in a broad range of patent litigation matters, including district court cases, PTO and PTAB trial proceedings, patent licensing and contractual disputes concerning patent rights.
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”).
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 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).
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.
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 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.
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.
On October 2, 2019, District Judge Ronnie Abrams (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant Quora Inc.’s (“Quora”) motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California.
Judge Netburn Finds Defendant That Won Partial Summary Judgment Is a "Prevailing Party" for Purposes of Attorneys' Fees
In her September 2018 summary judgment decision, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan (S.D.N.Y.) found that one of seven patents asserted by Plaintiff Seoul Viosys Co. ("SVC") was invalid, and that SVC was not entitled to a remedy for infringement of another asserted patent. However, Judge Nathan found that the five remaining patents were valid. Plaintiff's claims related to those five patents were subsequently resolved by stipulation with Defendant P3 International Corp. ("P3").
On September 30, 2019—more than two years after Plaintiff, Electric Mirror, LLC (“Electric Mirror”) first brought suit for patent infringement in the Southern District of New York—United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter granted Defendants Project Light, LLC, Project Light, Inc., Prospetto Light, LLC, and Prospetto Lighting, LLC’s (collectively, “Project Light”) motion to dismiss for improper venue.
The case had been stayed for more than a year pending the outcome of a related proceeding before the United States International Traded Commission (“ITC”). Once the ITC-related stay was lifted, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) for, inter alia, improper venue. Plaintiff challenged the timeliness of that motion, as well as the merits.
Judge Ramos Determines That Rule 45 Allows the Person Subject to a Subpoena—Not a Party—to Consent to Transfer
On October 3, 2019, District Judge Edgardo Ramos (S.D.N.Y.) granted SBA Communications Corporation’s (“SBA”) motion to transfer to the Eastern District of Texas a dispute over a subpoena served by Fractus, S.A. (“Fractus”) in connection with an ongoing patent infringement lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Texas.
On October 2, 2019, District Judge Denise Cote (S.D.N.Y.) granted Defendant Green Dot Corporation's ("Green Dot") motion to dismiss Plaintiff Western Express Bancshares, Inc.'s ("Western Express") on the grounds that the complaint fails to plead facts sufficient to state a plausible claim of patent infringement and that the patent claims patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
On September 11, 2019, Judge J. Paul Oetken issued an order illustrating key factors a patentee is required to prove in order to obtain an injunction barring sales of a defendant’s allegedly infringing products pending the conclusion of the litigation.
On September 19, 2019, U.S. District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall denied an appeal by the defendant in a litigation to correct the inventorship of patents of rulings by Magistrate Judges Gary R. Brown and Peggy Kuo that the defendant had waived the attorney-client privilege as to certain disputed communications.
SIMO Holding Inc. ("SIMO") sued Defendants uCloudlink Network Technology Ltd. and uCloudlink (America), Ltd. (together, "uCloudlink") in June 2018, alleging infringement of SIMO's U.S. Patent No. 9,736,789 by a line of mobile WiFi hotspot devices and a mobile "world phone" sold by uCloudlink. In April 2019, Judge Jed S. Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.) granted SIMO's motion for summary judgment of infringement. At trial, a jury found that uCloudlink willfully infringed and awarded approximately $2.2 million in compensatory damages. The court thereafter applied a 30% damages enhancement for willfulness.
On September 11, 2019, United States District J. Paul Oetken denied Defendants Tekno Products, Inc. and Max Deluxe Limited (“Max Deluxe”)’s motion for judgement on the pleadings in a patent infringement action pending in the Southern District of New York. Defendants argued that Plaintiff MIEH, Inc. (“MIEH”) had failed to join in the action the assignee of the disputed U.S. Patent No. 9,731, 212 (the “’212 Patent”), entitling Max Deluxe to a dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). The Court disagreed, for now.
On August 16, 2019, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan (S.D.N.Y.) denied Plaintiff Seoul Viosys Co.'s ("SVC") motion for reconsideration of the court's September 2018 summary judgment decision, and, on August 21, 2019, the clerk entered judgment in favor of Defendant P3 International Corp. ("P3").
On August 6, 2019, United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack denied Plaintiff Andrea Electronics Corporation (“Andrea”)’s motion to lift the stay in Andrea Electronics Corp. v. Apple Inc., No. 16-cv-5220 (E.D.N.Y.) and, accordingly, granted Defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”)’s cross-motion to continue the stay. The stay will remain in place pending final resolution of the IPR proceedings before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
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