Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement because of Reexamination Disclaimer

Scott Daniels | May 11, 2011

Last year, 01 Communiqué sued LogMeIn and Dell in the Eastern District of Virginia for infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,928,479 claiming a system, method, or program for providing access to a personal computer from a remote computer over the Internet.  That case, 01 Communiqué Laboratory v. LogMeIn and Dell, came to an abrupt end last week when Judge Claude Hilton granted LogMeIn’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. 

 The ‘479 patent had previously been the subject of a reexamination in which the claims were rejected over certain prior art.  The ‘479 patentee overcame the rejection by submitting expert declarations, asserting that one skilled in the art would understand the claims to exclude the embodiments disclosed by the cited prior art, specifically embodiments in which more than one device performed the functions of the “location facility.”  The PTO acquiesced and issued a reexamination certificate confirming the validity of the claims. 

In its motion for summary judgment, LogMeIn asserted that it did not infringe because its accused system distributed the functions of the “location facility” among different devices.  Judge Hilton agreed, finding that despite the broad literal meaning of the ‘479 claims, the patentee had “clearly and unambiguously disclaimed” such embodiments by its arguments in the expert declarations in the reexamination proceeding.  The Judge therefore found that there was no literal infringement because the claims excluded LogMeIn’s systems.  The Judge added that the ‘479 patentee’s remarks during reexamination precluded it from asserting the Doctrine of Equivalents with respect to the location facility.

In essence, validity arguments were asserted in the reexamination in a manner that precluded infringement in the litigation.

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