Featured : US PTO Litigation Alert™

Facebook Loses Reexaminations of Pragmatus’ Patents

Scott Daniels | January 14, 2013

On Friday the Patent Trial and Appeal Board dealt Facebook a double loss, by affirming the reexamination examiner’s decisions not to reject the claims of two real-time Internet communications patents owned by Pragmatus.  An infringement action between Pragmatus and Facebook regarding the two patents in the Northern District of California has been stayed (5:11-cv-2168).

In the first reexamination (95/001,715), the Board affirmed the examiner’s decision not to reject the claims of Pragmatus’ U.S. Patent No. 7,421,470.  The ‘470 patent claims a network method for real-time communication between multiple users.  The ‘470 claims include the step of “maintaining a first association between a first user and corresponding addressing information of a first communication device used by the first user to log in.”  The Board first construed the claim phrase “addressing information” in light of the specification to mean the “physical location of a communication device used by a prospective user to log in.”  The Board then concluded that the prior art references relied upon by Facebook does not satisfy, either literally or inherently, the “maintaining” step limitation.

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How is Reexamination Treating Round Rock Research?

Scott Daniels | January 9, 2013

Round Rock Research LLC is one of those “Non-Practicing Entities” that some people love to hate but wish they owned.  It describes itself as “a technology research and patent licensing company.”  It is reputed to own 4,500 patents obtained from semi-conductor Micron Technology, Inc. and lists Apple, Sony, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, IBM, LG, RIM, Sharp and Oracle among its licensees.

Round Rock is currently involved in litigation against Facebook and Twitter, but it is best known for its law suits against a series of famous retailers – most notably, Amazon, PepsiCo and Macy’s – accusing them of infringing a long series of patents claiming RFID technology.  These retailers appear to be customers of Motorola Solutions, Inc., that has sued Round Rock for declaratory judgment that the patents are invalid.

More interesting, though, is that many of Round Rock’s patents have been the target of anonymously filed ex parte reexamination requests.  The chart below shows the results to date:

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Reexamination has not Saved Apple against MobileMedia Patents, So Far

Scott Daniels | December 14, 2012

MobileMedia Ideas won an impressive victory in Delaware yesterday when a Federal jury returned a verdict that Apple’s iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 infringe three MobileMedia patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,070,068, 6,253,075 and 6,427,078.  The jury also found that none of the patents was anticipated or made obvious by the prior art.  The first two patents claim certain call handling systems, and the third, camera technology.

Apple had followed its customary strategy for defending against claims of patent infringement – it filed substantial reexamination requests against each of the MobileMedia patents.  But that strategy has not worked.  The reexamination examiner confirmed the patentability of the specific claims of the ‘075 and ‘078 patents that Apple was found to infringe.  And the claims of the ‘068 patent that were found to be infringed, were actually added to the ‘068 patent in the reexamination.  So far at least, Apple’s reexamination approach has misfired.

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What is an “Involved Application” in IPR Practice?

Scott Daniels | December 6, 2012

The Petitioner in Chi Mei Innolux v. Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, IPR2013-00028, has tried an interesting gambit: it has asked that the prosecution of two applications that are related to the patent in inter partes review (IPR) be stopped.

SEL’s U.S. Patent No. 6,404,480 – that is the subject of the inter partes review – is also a member of a large family of patents, as shown by the following chart that appears in Chi Mei’s Petition.

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Apple Victorious over Affinity Labs of Texas’ Portable Audio Player Patent

Scott Daniels | November 1, 2012

Affinity Labs of Texas sued Apple in 2009, asserting that Apple’s iPods infringed a series of patents, among them U.S. Patent No. 7,486,926 that claims “content delivery systems.”  Apple replied to the infringement allegations, as it frequently does, by requesting reexamination of each of the patents-in-suit.  This morning the PTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled for Apple, affirming the reexamination examiner’s final rejection of the ‘926 claims as being obvious over certain prior art references.
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Think IP Strategy Offers 2011 News Almanac

Scott Daniels | May 3, 2012

Think IP Strategy is likely the world leader in collecting information of interest to IP practitioners across the globe.  Each Friday it compiles in its “Global Week in Review” stories and comments on significant developments in patent, trademark and copyright law. 

These weekly compilations from 2011 have now been collected in a new book, the 2011 IP Think Tank Almanac.  The Almanac pulls together all the news reported in Think IP Strategy’s Global Week in Review posts for all of 2011 in a searchable, clickable format.  The book is only available in digital format because it is designed for search.   We encourage our subscribers to learn more about the 2011 Almanac on Think IP Strategy’s blog post covering its release.

An Update on Oracle’s Infringement Case against Google

Scott Daniels | February 24, 2012

It has been a rocky few weeks for Oracle on the PTO reexamination front of its patent and copyright dispute with Google.  Of the seven patents that Oracle has alleged to be infringed by Google’s Android®, the PTO rejected the claims of three this month.  (These developments are put into perspective by Florian Mueller in his excellent post Wednesday http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2012/02/non-final-invalidation-of-james-gosling.html).

At the beginning of the month, the PTO made final its rejection of all the claims in the ex parte reexamination of Oracle’s U.S. Patent No. 5,966,702.  Although the examiner withdrew one of the two previous anticipation rejections, she maintained the other, addressing each of the arguments Oracle had raised.  Oracle has the right to traverse this final rejection, but the examiner is unlikely to reverse her position, and Oracle will likely need to appeal the rejection to the PTO Board of Appeals. 

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PTO Requests Public Comment on Proposed Rules for AIA Post-Issuance Proceedings

Scott Daniels | February 13, 2012

The PTO has now published a lengthy set of proposed rules for administering the various post-issuance proceedings created by the America Invents Act (AIA) – supplemental review, inter partes review, post-grant review, covered business method patents, and derivation.  If you have time to read just one notice, choose the “Practical Guide for Proposed Trial Rules.” It was issued Thursday and summarizes the procedures to be followed in the latter four inter partes-type proceedings.  (Incidentally, acronyms will be important to master: e.g., PO = patent owner, IPR = inter partes review, PGR = post-grant review, CBM = covered business method patents).

The most useful item in the Guide is a time line for a typical proceeding. 


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Microsoft-i4i, Oracle-Google & VirnetX-Apple-Cisco Updates

Scott Daniels | October 11, 2011

1.      Microsoft-i4i

The final footnote in i4i’s case against Microsoft might have been written by the PTO.  Microsoft had petitioned for reconsideration of the PTO’s earlier denial of Microsoft’s request for reexamination of the i4i ‘449 patent, and at the end of last month the PTO denied Microsoft’s petition.  The PTO, through CRU Director Irem Yucel, explained in some detail that Microsoft’s asserted prior art failed to present any issues not already dealt with in earlier examinations.

The i4i dispute is, of course, better known as the Supreme Court case confirming that an accused infringer must present “clear and convincing” evidence to prove that an issued patent is invalid.

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Oracle Patent to Emerge from Reexamination

Scott Daniels | October 5, 2011

Oracle received good news Monday when the PTO issued a Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certificate for U.S. Patent No. 6,061,520, canceling some claims, but confirming the validity of other claims.  The ‘520 patent is one of the seven Java Platform patents in Oracle’s infringement action against Google.  A trial is set to start in the Northern District of California on October 31, 2011, but there is a realistic possibility of the trial judge staying the case until completion of the reexaminations or of the parties settling.

An excellent report on the status of the Oracle-Google case was posted yesterday in FOSS PATENTS.


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