COURT ACCEPTS REEXAMINATION RESULT IN DECIDING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION MOTION

Scott Daniels | April 11, 2011

Judge Douglas Woodlock has denied the patentee’s motion for a preliminary injunction in Red Bend v. Google, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36217  (D. Mass.), finding that Red Bend was unlikely to succeed on the merits, specifically, unlikely to establish that Google’s software infringes.  What will interest reexamination practitioners, however, is Judge Woodlock’s analysis of the prior art validity issue.  On that question, he found that Red Bend was likely to succeed on the merits because the “PTO has … issued a Reexamination Certificate as to all claims.”  In contrast to the Judge’s quite detailed analysis of the claim construction, infringement, and irreparable harm issues, his analysis of the validity issue relied solely upon the PTO’s confirmation of the validity of the claims in reexamination.

Perhaps if Judge Woodlock had concluded that Red Bend was likely to succeed on the merits with respect to the infringement issue, he would have addressed the specific application of the patent claims to the prior art references in greater detail, rather than merely cite the outcome of the PTO’s reexamination.  On the other hand, the Judge’s reliance upon “the ‘current posture’ of the Reexamination process,” suggests an interesting deference to the conclusions obtained in reexamination proceedings.  Or perhaps I am reading too much into the Judge’s decision.

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