A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: MTD

"The white one in the middle is representative..." Andrew E. Russell, CC BY 2.0

This week, Judge Noreika denied a § 101 motion because it challenged more than 60 claims, and because the parties disagreed as to whether any claims were representative:

WHEREAS, Plaintiff’s [§ 101] motion does not precisely specify which claims’ eligibility it is challenging . . . , but in any event details challenges to more than sixty claims’ eligibility . . . without any agreement about representativeness . . . ;
WHEREAS, should this case proceed to trial, the asserted claims will be narrowed through the parties’ disclosures and discovery and, as such, most of the claims subject to the Plaintiff’s § 101 motion will not …

Monkey inducing itself to infringe
Andre Mouton, Unsplash

In rejecting a motion to amend a complaint almost two weeks ago (while we were indisposed), Judge Andrews held that a defendant's own importation under 35 USC 271(g) cannot serve as a basis for induced infringement:

Defendant argues Plaintiffs’ proposed amendment to assert induced infringement is futile, because Plaintiffs do not plausibly allege any of the three elements required for a claim of induced infringement – direct infringement, knowledge, and specific intent. . . . I find that because Plaintiffs have not alleged any acts of direct infringement by a third party in the United States, Plaintiffs have not stated a claim of induced infringement under § 271(b). . . . Plaintiffs’ argument that their …

Plaintiff Trident Holdings, LLC at oral argument, pointing to a claim construction
Kedar Gadge, Unsplash

Having a legitimate claim construction dispute that would lead to subject matter eligibility is a great way to survive a § 101 motion. Ideally, obviously, that argument should be set forth in an answering brief. But an opinion yesterday describes how a patentee was able to avoid a negative result on its § 101 motion through claim construction arguments offered at oral argument:

[Plaintiff] Trident suggested for the first time at oral argument that the “optimization engine” and “adaptive scoring” limitations required construction before the Court decides eligibility. . . . That claim construction wasn’t expressly raised until the oral argument suggests that [Trident] may not have actually thought there was a claim construction issue …

A patent licensee must hold "all substantial rights" in the licensed patents in order to maintain a patent infringement suit on its own. What constitutes "all substantial rights" is often the subject of dispute in cases brought by licensees without their licensors. Courts faced with these disputes will often examine the nature and scope of the rights transferred by the license, including the right to use the patent, the right to sublicense, and the right to sue.

Judge Andrews recently resolved a standing dispute in favor of the licensee, finding that the license in question...

It is a live question in this District whether the filing of a complaint for infringement can support a claim - asserted in a later, amended complaint - for post-suit indirect infringement or post-suit willful infringement. Judge Burke recently offered some helpful comments on his views regarding this question, and at the same time, provided some guidance about how to allege pre-suit indirect infringement.

In an R&R issued February 7 in Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. v. Tonal Systems, Inc., C.A. No. 21-652-LPS-CJB, Judge Burke addressed two separate questions. First, whether the amended complaint adequately pleaded pre-suit indirect and willful infringement, and second, whether it adequately pleaded post-suit indirect and willful infringement...

Envelope with Letter
Brando Makes Branding, Unsplash

That is the question Judge Andrews addressed yesterday. He found that yes, a letter listing a patent and accused product is enough to state a claim in a complaint for pre-suit willfulness—the letter need not include things like claim charts or specific descriptions of product features:

I find that the notice letter sufficiently pleads knowledge for the eight patents-in-suit listed in the letter. The letter lists many LG products and states, " These products, and others made, used, sold, offered for sale, or imported into the United States by LG, infringe many of the patents in [Bench Walk's] portfolio." (D.I. 25-1 at 1-2). The letter then enumerates eleven patents, including eight of the ten …

Last week, Judge Hall denied a motion to dismiss claims of infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(g), finding that the plaintiff had "barely met the low threshold for alleging infringement of the asserted patents." The plaintiff's amended complaint alleged that the defendants imported and sold phone displays that were "remanufactured" overseas using patented methods of removing damaged glass covers from mobile phone displays so that replacement glass can be attached.

Broken Screen
Broken Screen Samsung Galaxy S6 with shattered screen, Ashkan Forouzani, Unsplash

Judge Hall's R&R, issued in Viking Techs., LLC v. Squaretrade Inc., C.A. No. 20-1509-CFC-JLH, addressed four arguments made by the defendant, namely that the amended complaint: (1) did not adequately allege that the remanufacturing process performed all of the claimed steps; (2) failed to attribute specific misconduct to either defendant; (3) did not allege pre-suit notice; and (4) failed to allege infringement under 271(g) because the accused devices are not "made" by the accused process and are "materially changed" by subsequent processes.

On the first argument, the sufficiency of the allegations that the remanufacturing process met all claimed steps, Judge Hall found that "Viking has barely met the low threshold" for pleading infringement. Although the allegations of infringement in the complaint largely tracked the claim language, and did not include allegations of infringement for every claim mentioned in the complaint, Judge Hall found that the allegations were "sufficient to provide Defendants notice of the grounds on which Plaintiff’s claims rest," including "what portion of their business—mobile device repair—and what specific products—those that have had the display assemblies repaired/remanufactured—are accused of infringement." Citing the Federal Circuit's Nalco decision, she explained that there is simply "no requirement that a plaintiff plead facts establishing that each limitation of an asserted claim is met." ...

All six challenged patents survived Judge Stark's most recent § 101 Day, held on November 22, 2021. The six patents were spread across three cases. Continuing his usual practice, Judge Stark ruled from the bench after hearing argument in all three cases, and then issued a written order (see below) incorporating the transcript of his bench ruling and the formal orders on the pending motions.

DNA
DNA DNA, ANIRUDH, Unsplash

In the first case, considering Step One of the Alice framework, Judge Stark found that the challenged patent was not directed to the abstract idea posited by the defendant ("an algorithmic method of manipulating and combining genetic sequence data using an [intermediate] data set") and instead "enables the identification of mutations with positional accuracy in a computationally tractable manner," solving a prior art problem - notably, that sequence assembly providing for accurate detection of variants was often computationally intractable for high-throughput analysis.

Judge Stark denied the motion to dismiss based on the Step One analysis.

In the second case, Judge Stark took the somewhat unusual path of deciding Step Two of the Alice test before Step One. He explained:

The Federal Circuit has employed a similar approach and resolved 101 issues at Step Two in several of its cases, ...

Much has been written recently about the struggle between patentees who want their cases to be heard in Texas, and alleged infringers who want those cases to be heard elsewhere. But what happens when a patentee who has been sued in a declaratory judgment action tries to transfer its case to Texas?

Maybe next time.
Maybe next time. Threes Company, Vivian Arcidiacono, Unsplash

For the two defendants in Roku, Inc. v. AlmondNet, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1035-MN, who asked Judge Noreika to move Roku's DJ case to Texas or dismiss it in favor of a co-pending Texas suit involving the same patents and parties, the answer was straightforward: the case stays in Delaware.

Following unsuccessful licensing discussions, Roku filed suit in Delaware just six hours before the defendants filed their mirror-image case in Texas. The defendants then moved to transfer the Delaware case to the Western District of Texas.

Regarding the transfer motion, Judge Noreika found that the threshold requirement for transfer...

Judge Noreika just addressed an issue that rarely comes up in D. Del.: whether a patent should be delisted from the Orange Book for non-compliance with the Hatch-Waxman listing requirements. Although the issue itself is uncommon, the decision highlights the difficulty of winning a Rule 12 motion that hinges on early-stage claim construction.

The plaintiff sued "for infringement of five patents, only one of which . . . is listed in the Orange Book." The defendants counterclaimed that the Orange Book patent "must be delisted because it claims a 'system,' not a drug product, or method of using a drug, as required by" the Hatch-Waxman Act. The defendants then moved for judgment on the pleadings on their delisting …