Norman IP Holdings has filed many lawsuits alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,592,555, most recently in a case filed in Texas last Monday against ADTRAN, Inc. On Wednesday Creston Electronics requested inter partes review of the ‘555 patent (see inter partes review Request No. (1)) The patent, which claims methods for “privately communicating signals over a wireless communications network,” is already the subject of a reexamination (90/012,783) filed by Volkswagen.
The following inter partes review requests were filed:
(1) IPR2013-00278 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 5,592,555 entitled WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY METHOD AND SYSTEM and owned by Norman IP Holdings, LLC. Filed May 15, 2013 by Creston Electronics, Inc. The ‘555 patent is currently the subject matter of a plethora of litigations initiated by Norman IP Holdings and Saxon Innovations LLC, including Norman IP Holdings, LLC v. Creston Electronics, Inc. (Case no. 6:20cv-00394 (E.D. Tex.)); Norman IP Holdings, LLC v. BMW North America, LLC (Case No. 6:12-cv-00510 (E.D. Tex.)); Norman IP Holdings, LLC v. Lexmark International, Inc. (Case No. 6:11-cv-00495 (E.D. Tex.)); and Saxon Innovations LLC v. Gateway Companies, Inc. (Case No. 6:08-cv-00464 (E.D. Tex.); to name a few.
(2) IPR2013-00285 (electronically filed) – U.S. Patent No. 8,019,479 entitled CONTROL ALGORITHM OF VARIABLE SPEED PUMPING SYSTEM and owned by Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc. Filed May 17, 2013 by Hayward Industries, Inc. The ‘479 patent is currently the subject matter of a litigation styled Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Inc. and Danfoss Drives A/S v. Hayward Industries, Inc. and Hayward Pool Products, Inc. (Case No. 5:11-cv-459 (E.D.N.C.)).
Ariosa Diagnostics filed two requests for inter partes review of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,318,430 owned by Verinata Health, one challenging claims 1-18 and the second, claims 19-30 (see inter partes review Request Nos. (11) & (12)). The ‘430 patent claims methods for detecting fetal abnormalities by testing a maternal blood sample for the number of DNA fragments to determine whether there is an abnormal level of DNA associated with the chromosome suspected of being “aneuploid.” Verinata has sued Ariosa for infringement of the ‘430 patent.
Oracle “completed,” in essence, earlier inter partes requests against two Clouding IP patents, this time attacking the claims that had not been attacked in the earlier petitions (see inter partes review Request Nos. (6) & (8)).
And Sprint Communications requested ex parte reexamination of three Comcast IP Holdings patents (see ex parte Request Nos. (3), (6) & (7)). The two companies are involved in an infringement action in Delaware regarding the patents.
Scott Daniels | May 9, 2013
Disputes over the role of infringement litigation counsel in parallel reexamination/review proceedings at the Patent Office are becoming commonplace.
The patent owner typically prefers that its lawyers who are handling the litigation also work on the prosecution before the PTO – they hope to minimize attorney fees and to avoid conflicting arguments in the two forums. The accused infringer, on the other hand, worries that the patent owner’s litigation counsel might improperly use proprietary information obtained through the protective order to gain an unfair advantage in reexamination or review. The accused infringer therefore asks that the protective order prohibit the patent owner’s litigation counsel from participating in any way in PTO proceeding.
Judge Paul Grewal of the Northern District of California was called upon to resolve this dispute in two cases this week – Grobler v. Apple, Inc. 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65048 & John v. Lattice Semiconductor Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65121 – and managed a compromise between the respective positions. In two nearly identical decisions, Judge Grewal will allow the limited participation of the patent owner’s litigation counsel in the co-pending reexamination, but prohibit litigation counsel from participating in the amendment of original claims or the addition of new claims.
Scott Daniels | May 6, 2013
We have previously commented that the Board has been strict with petitioners in its decisions on whether to institute inter partes review. Inter partes review is denied where the petition fails to abide by all the formal requirements prescribed by the PTO Rules, or where it fails to clearly explain and link the claim limitations to specific prior art disclosures. Proposed grounds for review are rejected, as well, where they appear to overlap other proposed grounds.
We also see that the Board is equally strict with patent owners. The Board’s decision last Tuesday instituting inter partes review in Innolux v. Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, IPR2013-00064 is a good example. In that case, the patent owner SEL filed a preliminary response asserting that the proposed combinations of prior art references did not justify review, but also asserting that review should not be instituted because of two other, “more procedural,” reasons. With the same rigor as it applies to petitioners’ arguments, the Board looked at the patent owner’s arguments and found them lacking.
First, the patent owner contended that the petition was improper under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) because each of the cited references, except for a cumulative secondary reference, had been cited during the prosecution of the application leading to the patent. The Board was not persuaded – it explained that the fact that the references were considered in the original prosecution is a factor which the Board “may take into account” under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d). The patent owner, however, failed to show that the original examiner had considered “substantially the same . . . arguments,” as presented in the petition. “Absent a showing of ‘substantially the same . . . arguments,’ id., and considering that petition includes evidence not before the original patent examiner,” including the secondary reference, even if cumulative, and an expert declaration, the patent owner “does not show that the inter partes review of the ‘311 Patent would be improper under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d).”Next Page »