Friday, January 19, 2018

Lack of Market Share Undermines Claim of Irreparable Harm for Preliminary Injunction

The court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction to preclude the sales of the accused fracking system because plaintiff failed to establish irreparable harm through loss of market share or reputation. "⁠[Plaintiff] currently has no share of the market for 'profile selective frac sleeves' because it has not sold any devices covered by the [patent-in-suit] in that identified market. Although [plaintiff] claims that it is developing a new product for the 'profile selective frac sleeves' market, it is undisputed that the new product at the time of the hearing had not yet reached the field testing phase. . . . [Plaintiff] has not shown a likelihood that continued sales of the [accused] system will have a negative impact on its reputation in either of the identified markets."

Gryphon Oilfield Solutions, LLC v. Stage Completions Inc. et al, 4-17-cv-03220 (TXSD January 17, 2018, Order) (Atlas, USDJ)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Soil Sample Tracking Patent Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff’s soil sample tracking patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. "The Court agrees with the Defendant that soil sampling for the purpose of evaluating the nutritional deficiencies in a field is an abstract idea. However, the Court does not agree that a method for performing soil sampling is necessarily abstract. . . . The [patent-in-suit] purports to solve issues associated with existing techniques by coming to the end result more efficiently and accurately. Therefore, the Court does not find that the [patent] is directed to an abstract idea that is ineligible for patent protection."

Agri-Labs Holdings LLC v. TapLogic, LLC, 1-15-cv-00026 (INND January 16, 2018, Order) (Springmann, USDJ)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Patent For Delivering Targeted Advertisements to Mobile Device Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff’s patent for delivering targeted advertisements to a mobile device encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. "The [patent-in-suit] is not directed at merely the abstract idea of targeting advertising. Rather, it describes systems and methods for addressing barriers to certain types of information exchange between various technological devices, e.g. a television and a smartphone or tablet being used in the same place at the same time. To be sure, the end goal of the invention is to improve the delivery of relevant information -- i.e., targeting advertising (or other content) -- but that does not mean that it does nothing more than direct a person of ordinary skill in the art to use a computer system to implement a conventional and known process. . . . To the extent [defendant] is arguing that the patent does not adequately explain how the barriers are overcome when the described system and methods are employed, such issues do not support a finding of patent ineligibility under Section 101."

Free Stream Media Corp. v. Alphonso Inc., 3-17-cv-02107 (CAND January 12, 2018, Order) (Seeborg, USDJ)

Supplying Equipment For Use at Customers’ Facilities Does Not Create Regular and Established Place of Business

The court granted defendant's alternative motion to transfer for improper venue because defendant did not have a regular and established place of business through its provision of equipment to customers in the district. "⁠[Plaintiff] also relied on [defendant's] 'business model' wherein [defendant], for the convenience of their customers, supplies its end use customers with [defendant's] equipment to be used at the customer’s facility. . . . This rather creative argument does not satisfy the test set forth in [In re Cray Inc., 871 F.3d 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2017)] for the simple reason that the equipment in question is not a place. . . . The fact that the equipment is moved onto the customer’s property, and may be removed by [defendant] or relocated by the customer with [defendant's] permission, precludes any finding that this equipment could serve as a physical, geographical location for purposes of demonstrating that [defendant] has a regular and established place of business within the district. Moreover . . . servicing a customer at the customer’s facility cannot transform that facility into the patent defendant’s place if the defendant does not hold such place out as its own."

Automated Packaging Systems, Inc. v. Free Flow Packaging International, Inc. d/b/a FP International, 5-14-cv-02022 (OHND January 12, 2018, Order) (Lioi, USDJ)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Patent Claims Acquired After Filing Date of Earlier Lawsuit Subject to Claim Preclusion if Directed to the Same Product or Process

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss all but three of plaintiff's patent infringement claims for claim preclusion, including claims for a patent that issued after the filing date of the parties' earlier lawsuit. "⁠[I]t appears that if a party acquires a patent infringement cause of action during the course of litigation, the party need not attempt to add that cause of action to the ongoing litigation or risk claim preclusion—even if the new infringement claim arises from the same transactional facts that prompted the ongoing litigation.⁠ . . . [T]he Court is confident that the Federal Circuit did not intend to draw a non-rebuttable line on the date that a party files its lawsuit, particularly where a later lawsuit attacks the same product or process at issue in an earlier lawsuit -- as is the case here. . . . [A] hard-and-fast rule that the filing of the original complaint ends the availability of claim preclusion could lead to significant, costly, and potentially unmanageable mischief. . . . [T]he Court holds that after-acquired claims, at least when they address the same, or substantially the same, subject matter as previously filed claims and when directed at a previously accused product or process, may be subject to claim preclusion under the Restatement’s pragmatic approach endorsed by the Federal Circuit. . . . [U]nder the circumstances [plaintiff] had a duty to move to amend (as it had already moved to amend to add an after-acquired claim) given that it would be accusing the same [defendant] products and processes, and that the [unasserted patent] was a continuation of a patent already in suit."

XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC, 1-17-cv-00944 (COD January 11, 2018, Order) (Martinez, USDJ)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Threat of Litigation Against Customers Does Not Create Actual Controversy With Supplier

The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's declaratory relief action for lack of an actual case or controversy stemming from defendant's proposed license agreement or litigation against plaintiff's customers. "Even if [defendant] did 'demand' that Plaintiff consider the license agreement it proposed 'to prevent [the initiation of] further patent infringement actions against [plaintiff's] customers,' as Plaintiff asserts, there is no indication of any discussion or threat of litigation against Plaintiff. Nor, drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of Plaintiff, do Defendant’s actions constitute an 'aggressive enforcement strategy' warranting a finding of subject matter jurisdiction here, as Defendant’s strategy 'appears to involve suing . . . users,' including [plaintiff's] customers, 'not . . . suppliers,' such as [plaintiff]."

Broadsign International, LLC v. T-Rex Property AB, 1-16-cv-04586 (NYSD January 10, 2018, Order) (Swain, USDJ)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Venue Determined When Cause of Action Accrued, Not Complaint Filing Date

The magistrate judge recommended denying defendant's motion to transfer for improper venue because defendant had a regular and established place of business in the district through two offices that closed before plaintiff filed suit and one office acquired a year after plaintiff filed suit. "⁠[A]pplication of the rule proposed in [Personal Audio, LLC v. Google, Inc. (E.D. Tex. Dec. 1, 2017)] -- using the exact date of the filing of the Complaint -- is too rigid. No one disputes that the causes of action accrued while [defendant] had at least one office in this district, and the undersigned has already found that until [its] closure, such a presence was regular and established. . . . [S]ince [defendant] had a regular and established place of business in this district when the causes of action accrued, and [plaintiff] filed its Complaint within a reasonable time thereafter, the undersigned finds that this element is met as to [defendant]."

ParkerVision, Inc. v. Apple Inc. et al, 3-15-cv-01477 (FLMD January 9, 2018, Order) (Klindt, MJ)