by
In this trademark infringement action, the district court granted Alliance for Good Government summary judgment on its trademark infringement claim against Coalition for Better Government, enjoined Coalition from the use of both its logo and its trade name, and then awarded Alliance attorney's fees incurred in bringing the lawsuit. The Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Alliance was entitled to fees. The court remanded for the district court to reassess the amount of fees, because the court has since modified the district court's injunction to permit Coalition to use its trade name. View "Alliance for Good Government v. Coalition for Better Government" on Justia Law

by
While the interconnectivity of computer networks facilitates access for authorized users, it also increases a network’s susceptibility to attacks from hackers, malware, and other security threats. Some of these security threats can only be detected with information from multiple sources. SRI developed the inventions claimed in patents titled “Network Surveillance” and “Hierarchical Event Monitoring and Analysis.” SRI had performed considerable research and development on network intrusion detection before filing the patents-in-suit. In an infringement suit, the district court denied Cisco’s motion for summary judgment of patent ineligibility, construed the claim term “network traffic data,” granted summary judgment of no anticipation, and denied judgment as a matter of law of no willful infringement. The court awarded enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees, and ongoing royalties. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment of ineligibility, adopted the claim construction, and affirmed summary judgment of no anticipation but vacated and remanded the denial of judgment as a matter of law of no willful infringement, and therefore vacated the enhancement of damages. The court also vacated the award of attorneys’ fees and remanded for recalculation and affirmed the award of ongoing royalties on post-verdict sales of products that were actually found to infringe or are not colorably different. View "SRI International, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

by
VHT filed a copyright infringement suit against Zillow, alleging that Zillow's use of photos on its Listing Platform and Digs exceeded the scope of VHT's licenses to brokers, agents, and listing services who provided those photos to Zillow. The Ninth Circuit held that VHT failed to satisfy its burden of demonstrating that Zillow directly infringed the photos displayed on the Listing Platform, because VHT failed to provide evidence showing that Zillow exercised control; selected any material for upload, download, transmission, or storage; or instigated any copying, storage or distribution of the photos. The panel also held that VHT did not present substantial evidence that Zillow, through the Digs platform, directly infringed its display, reproduction, or adaption rights in 22,109 not displayed photos and 2,093 displayed but non-searchable photos. However, the fair use defense did not absolve Zillow of direct liability for 3,921 displayed, searchable Digs photos. The panel affirmed the district court's grant of Zillow's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict with respect to secondary infringement, both contributory and vicarious infringement. In regard to damages, the panel remanded to the district court for further proceedings as to whether the VHT photos remaining at issue were a compilation, and held that substantial evidence did not show Zillow was actually aware of its infringing activity nor was it reckless or willfully blind to its infringement. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "VHT, Inc. v. Zillow Group, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Natural owns patents relating to dietary supplements containing beta-alanine (an amino acid). Together with histidine, another amino acid, beta-alanine can form dipeptides that are involved in the regulation of intracellular pH during muscle contraction and development of fatigue. Variations in dipeptide concentrations affect the anaerobic work capacity of athletes. One dipeptide, carnosine, contributes to hydronium ion buffering. During certain sustained exercise, hydronium ions and lactate can accumulate and severely reduce intracellular pH; reduced pH interferes with the creatine-phosphorylcreatine system, part of the process by which energy is generated in muscle cells. Natural's patents generally relate to the use of beta-alanine in a dietary supplement to “increas[e] the anaerobic working capacity of muscle and other tissue.” The district court applied the Supreme Court’s 2015 two-part “Alice” test and held all of the asserted claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter (35 U.S.C. 101_ and lacked an inventive concept. The Federal Circuit reversed. Under Natural’s proposed claim constructions, the Method Claims are not directed to an exception to section 101 under the first step of the Alice test, so judgment on the pleadings was inappropriate. The Product Claims contain a dietary supplement limitation, with the same proposed construction, which does not support the idea that this limitation was well-understood, routine, and conventional. The Manufacturing Claims are not directed to the natural law or product of nature, but are an application of the law and new use of that product. View "Natural Alternatives International, Inc.. v. Creative Compunds, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Drug manufacturers filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications with the Food and Drug Administration seeking to market generic versions of Saphris, a drug product sold by Forest Laboratories. Saphris is a sublingually administered, atypical antipsychotic containing asenapine maleate. Forest sued for patent infringement, asserting that the proposed generic products would infringe claims of its patents. The district court held the generic manufacturers had not established certain claims to be invalid and held Forest had not established infringement of certain claims as to two manufacturers. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the validity determination, and for reconsideration infringement under a corrected claim construction. The district court erred in treating “excitation” as being limited to “excitation disorders.” The court rejected claims concerning sufficient written description, obviousness, and the construction of other claims. View "Forest Laboratories, LLC v. Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC" on Justia Law

by
PersonalWeb’s patent explains that in conventional data processing systems, data items such as files are typically identified by their user-created alphanumeric name and/or pathname or location. Problems arise with traditional naming conventions if, for example, one device transfers a data item to a second device where the data item already exists so that a duplicate is created. The patent addresses that concern and others by creating a substantially unique identifier for each data item in the data processing system, independent of the data item’s user-defined name, location, etc., and dependent on only the content of the data item itself. The identifier for a particular data item is created by applying a cryptographic hash function to the data item. The output of the hash function is the content-based identifier or “True Name,” which is “virtually guaranteed” to be unique to the data item. In inter partes review, the Patent Board found that several claims were unpatentable as obvious in light of two prior art references. The Federal Circuit reversed. The Board relied on a “proposed, theoretical Binary Object Identifier look-up table” that does not necessarily exist in one of the references, so the Board’s reliance on inherency for that element in its obviousness analysis was improper. View "Personal Web Technologies, LLC v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law

by
A jury awarded Oracle damages after finding that Rimini had infringed Oracle copyrights. The court awarded Oracle fees and costs, including $12.8 million for litigation expenses such as expert witnesses, e-discovery, and jury consulting. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, acknowledging that the award covered expenses not included within the six categories of costs identified in 28 U.S.C. 1821 and 1920, and citing the Copyright Act, which gives district courts discretion to award “full costs” to a party in copyright litigation, 17 U.S.C. 505. A unanimous Supreme Court reversed in part. The term “full costs” in the Copyright Act means costs specified in the general costs statute (sections 1821 and 1920), which defines what the term “costs” encompasses in subject-specific federal statutes such as section 505. Courts may not award litigation expenses that are not specified in sections 1821 and 1920 absent explicit authority. The Copyright Act does not explicitly authorize the award of litigation expenses beyond the six categories; the six categories do not authorize an award for expenses such as expert witness fees, e-discovery expenses, and jury consultant fees. Oracle has not shown that the phrase “full costs” had an established legal meaning that covered more than the full amount of the costs listed in the applicable costs schedule. View "Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Fourth Estate, a news organization that licensed works to Wall-Street.com, a news website. sued Wall-Street for copyright infringement of articles that Wall-Street failed to remove from its website after canceling the license agreement. Fourth Estate had applied to register the articles with the Copyright Office, but the Register had not acted on those applications. No civil infringement action “shall be instituted until . . . registration of the copyright claim has been made,” 17 U.S.C. 411(a). The Eleventh Circuit and a unanimous Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Registration occurs, and a copyright claimant may commence an infringement suit, upon registration; a copyright owner can then recover for infringement that occurred both before and after registration. In limited circumstances, copyright owners may file suit before undertaking registration. For example, an owner who is preparing to distribute a work that is vulnerable to predistribution infringement—e.g., a movie or musical composition—may apply for preregistration; an owner may also sue for infringement of a live broadcast before registration. The Court rejected Fourth Estate’s “application approach” argument that registration occurs when a copyright owner submits a proper application. In 1976 revisions to the Copyright Act, Congress both reaffirmed that registration must precede an infringement suit. The Act safeguards copyright owners by vesting them with exclusive rights upon creation of their works and prohibiting infringement from that point forward. To recover for such infringement, copyright owners must apply for registration and await the Register’s decision. An administrative lag in processing applications does not allow revision of section 411(a)’s congressionally-composed text. View "Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC" on Justia Law

by
In this dispute regarding the commercialization of a patent covering a method for pooling insurance policies the Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings in which they argued that they did not owe any of the contractual or fiduciary obligations that Plaintiff sought to enforce, holding that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff brought this action asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties related to Defendants’ business development of a patent-holding entity and Defendants’ failure to provide certain information to Plaintiff. The Court of Chancery granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, thus mooting Plaintiff’s motion to compel and motion for default judgment, holding That Defendants carried their burden to show that Plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief and that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Ross v. Institutional Longevity Assets LLC" on Justia Law

by
Sköld coined the name “Restoraderm” for a proprietary drug-delivery formulation that he developed for potential use in skin-care products. He entered into a 2001 letter of intent with CollaGenex, a skin-care company, stating that “[a]ll trademarks associated with the drug delivery system … shall be applied for and registered in the name of CollaGenex and be the exclusive property of CollaGenex.” Their 2002 contract reiterated those provisions and stated that termination of the agreement would not affect any vested rights. With Sköld’s cooperation, CollaGenex applied to register the Restoraderm mark. Under a 2004 Agreement, Sköld transferred Restoraderm patent rights and goodwill to CollaGenex, without mentioning trademark rights. After Galderma bought CollaGenex it used Restoraderm as a brand name on products employing other technologies. In 2009, Galderma terminated the 2004 Agreement, asserting that it owned the trade name and that Sköld should not use the name. Sköld markets products based on the original Restoraderm technology that do not bear the Restoraderm mark. Galderma’s Restoraderm product line has enjoyed international success. Sköld sued, alleging trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Only Sköld’s unjust enrichment claim was successful. The Third Circuit reversed in part, absolving Galderma of liability. The 2004 agreement, rather than voiding CollaGenex’s ownership of the mark by implication, confirmed that CollaGenex owned the Restoraderm mark. Galderma succeeded to those vested rights. View "Skold v. Galderma Laboratories L.P." on Justia Law