A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: mtd

Blackjack
Markus Spiske, Unsplash

How many amended complaints does it take before your infringement claims are dismissed with prejudice? As it turns out, it might only be two.

Last July, Magistrate Judge Fallon issued an R&R recommending partial dismissal of a patentee's amended complaint under Twombly and Iqbal (the complaint was amended in response to an earlier motion to dismiss). The plaintiff sought leave to amend its complaint a second time, which the court granted.

But instead of correcting the problems with the first amended complaint, Judge Fallon found that the plaintiff simply repeated them—bringing allegations that were "conclusory" and "lack[ed] any plausible facts supporting such a conclusion."

Perhaps an even bigger issue, though, was the fact that the plaintiff …

Robin Hood, taking on some rogue non-practicing entities
Robin Hood, taking on some rogue non-practicing entities Reginald Heade

Here is some colorful writing from Magistrate Judge Burke of the District of Delaware, recommending dismissal of a claim for willfulness that failed to plead knowledge, and which relied on—at most—possible knowledge for a 15-hour period between when the complaint was served on an unknown person and when the patent expired:

From the docket, it appears that someone who is in some way affiliated with [defendant] Robinhood was served with the FAC at 9:08 a.m. on July 30, 2019. . . . But, as it turns out, the '633 patent expired on July 30, 2019—that same day. The Court guesses that, in light of all of this, it might be theoretically possible for Plaintiff to pursue what would have to go down as the most de minimis claim of willful infringement in this Court’s history. But whether such a claim—revolving around whether Robinhood knew of the patent and its infringement thereof, during a roughly 15-hour time period on July 30, 2019—would even be plausible would depend on exactly who got served with the Complaint on July 30, 2019 and what their relationship with Robinhood is. Yet the record provides little information on that front. Thus, in the Court’s view, the best course is to grant Robinhood’s Motion as to willful infringement, and if Plaintiff believes it can (and should) pursue such a claim here, then in a further amended pleading, it can attempt to set out the factual basis for such a claim.

But that's not all ...

GPS Navigation
Alvaro Reyes, Unsplash

Judge Noreika issued an opinion today denying a § 101 motion on a patent that covers delivering GPS navigation information to a vehicle in a "short burst."

As to Alice step 1, the Court found that the claims were "do it on a computer" claims directed to the abstract idea of sending and receiving navigation data:

[A]t step 1, claim 1 seems focused on using computers to perform a human activity more efficiently.

At step 2, however, the Court found that the patent's bare-bones specification saved it from § 101—it's hard to find that any particular solution was conventional at the § 101 motion-to-dismiss stage when the specification simply does not discuss the prior …

Photographer
Francois Olwage, Unsplash

The District of Delaware issued a copyright decision today that I found fascinating.

As the Court describes it, back in 2011 a website called Flavorwire posted an article describing (and displaying) nine images from Tom Hussey Photography, LLC, without permission from the photographer.

In 2018, the defendant in the case, BDG, bought the Flavorwire website, including that article. After BDG purchased the site, the photographer discovered the article and sued them for infringement in Delaware, where BDG is incorporated.

In response, BDG moved to dismiss, arguing that it had merely bought, operated, and maintained the website itself (the asset, not the company that created the website), and therefore that it never committed a "volitional …

I couldn't find a picture of
I couldn't find a picture of "teleorthodontics" H. Shaw, Unsplash

Today, Judge Connolly held ineligible a patent directed to "teleorthodontics," i.e., a business method for practicing orthodontics remotely through the use of 3D scans of a patients' mouth.

The outcome is not all that unusual—Judge Connolly characterized the patents as essentially "do it with a computer" patents for orthodontics, where the patent claims performing a traditionally offline activity remotely using conventional computers and commercially available 3D scanners.

And, as the Court noted, other courts have held telehealth business method patents ineligible under § 101. Here, according to the Court, the patents at issue simply applied available commercial technology to the abstract idea of connecting patients and orthodontists …

Stop Sign
Luke van Zyl, Unsplash

Late last week, Judge Noreika denied a motion for interlocutory appeal of an denial of a motion to dismiss for lack of standing.

Security Interest Doesn't Prevent Suit After Debt Repaid

In moving to dismiss, defendant argued that the PTO assignment records show that the the patentee had assigned its patents to a lender as collateral and, after the debt was repaid, had never received an assignment back or any release of the security interest.

Plaintiff countered that the security interest was extinguished once the debt was repaid, regardless of any release or assignment specific to the patent. So no separate assignment back was needed.

Judge Noreika sided held that the judgment had been satisfied …

The most famous use of the phrase
The most famous use of the phrase "self-evident"? Engraving by William J. Stone

In ruling on § 101 motions to dismiss, the Court typically adopts plaintiff's constructions outright, if plaintiff offers any. Those constructions may or may not be enough to avoid dismissal, but I can't recall any instance where the District of Delaware actually had to reject a construction as implausible under the FRCP 12(b)(6) standard.

Until now. In Synkloud Tech. v. HP, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1360-RGA (D. Del. Sep. 28, 2020), plaintiff tried to bake the § 101 "non-conventional" standard into the proposed claim construction. Clever! But Judge Andrews described the problems with that approach as "self-evident":

Plaintiff states that a person of ordinary skill …
MTD

Judge Connolly has previously denied a motion to dismiss direct infringement claims where the plaintiff at least recited the claim elements and accused a product of meeting them. Last week, though, he granted a motion to dismiss where the plaintiff did not even go that far.

Even though the patent included only method claims, plaintiff accused only products of infringing, without identifying any accused process or alleging how it is performed by those products.

Even as to those products, plaintiff contradicted itself, identifying smartphones as accused, but also discussing servers, software, and "other devices and technology." Judge Connolly called these allegations "confusing and contradictory."

Judge Connolly did grant leave to amend, and gave them a month to fix their …

A Crack
Crack on white concrete surface, Brina Blum, Unsplash

Two opinions in the past week have come to differing conclusions as to whether the recitation of claim elements in a complaint is sufficient to state a plausible allegation of infringement.

Recitation of Claim Elements Helpful

In the first, Dynamic Data Technologies, LLC v. Brightcove Inc., No. 19-1190-CFC (D. Del. July 20, 2020), the Court denied a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss an allegation of direct infringement, stating that it was sufficient to:

identif[y] products accused of infringing each of the asserted patents, identif[y] at least one claim of each asserted patent that the accused products infringe, and describe[] how those products infringe the identified claim.

To show …