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Exmark sued Briggs & Stratton for infringement of a patent directed to a lawn mower having improved flow control baffles. .The court entered summary judgment that claim 1 was not invalid because the claim survived multiple reexaminations involving the same prior art and denied summary judgment of indefiniteness with respect to claim 1. A jury found that Briggs willfully infringed and awarded $24,280,330 in compensatory damages, which the court doubled as enhanced damages for willful infringement. The Federal Circuit vacated in part. The district court erred by determining invalidity solely on the fact that claim 1 survived multiple reexaminations; erred in denying a new trial on damages because Exmark’s damages expert failed to provide an adequate explanation for a 5% royalty rate for the patented feature relative to other conventional features of the accused products; and abused its discretion by limiting the evidence relevant to damages to prior art that had been commercialized, The district court's willfulness ruling did not comport with the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Halo Electronics, mandating that willfulness is to be determined by the jury regardless of whether Briggs’ defenses were objectively reasonable. The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment that claim 1 is indefinite and denial of Briggs’ laches defense. View "Exmark Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. Briggs & Stratton Power Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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Finjan sued Blue Coat for infringement of patents directed to identifying and protecting against malware. Certain claims recite a system and method for providing computer security by attaching a security profile to a downloadable; others recite a system and method for providing computer security at a network gateway by comparing security profiles associated with requested files to the security policies of requesting users. Others recite a “policy-based cache manager” that indicates the allowability of cached files under a plurality of user security policies and relate to a system and method for using “mobile code runtime monitoring” to protect against malicious downloadables. A jury awarded Finjan $39.5 million for infringement, including $24 million for the 844 patent. The court concluded that the 844 patent is directed to patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part, upholding the subject matter eligibility determination as to the 844 patent and the jury’s finding of infringement of the 844 and 731 patents. Blue Coat was entitled to judgment of noninfringement for the 968 patent because the accused products do not perform the claimed “policy index” limitation. With respect to damages, the court affirmed the award for the 731 and 633 patents, vacated the award for the 968 patent, and, as to the 844 patent, agreed with Blue Coat that Finjan failed to apportion damages to the infringing functionality. View "Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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Leapers makes rifle scopes, textured with “knurling,” allowing users to grip the products more easily and to make fine-tuned adjustments. Knurling can be found on many items, including door handles, coin edges, and bottle lids. Leapers asserts that its unique knurling pattern is distinctly “ornamental” and allows consumers to recognize Leapers as the item's source. Leapers had an exclusive manufacturing contract with the Nantong factory in China, which agreed to never disclose information related to the products. Leapers ended that relationship. The factory agreed to stop using technical specifications, product design and packaging design documents related to Leaper and to destroy parts, accessories, and attachments related to Leaper’s products. Factory manager Shi formed a company (Trarms) and began selling rifle scopes and manufacturing rifle scopes for other sellers, including Defendant. Leaper’s sued, alleging trade dress infringement of the knurling design under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 105. Shi refused to testify, asserting the Fifth Amendment. Trarms refused to provide an alternate witness. The court granted Defendant summary judgment, reasoning that Leapers could not prove essential elements: nonfunctionality and secondary meaning, regardless of Shi 's testimony. The Sixth Circuit vacated. A jury could reasonably conclude that the design is purely ornamental and nonfunctional; that it does not represent a technological advancement; and that exclusive use of Leaper’s design would not put competitors at a significant, non-reputation related disadvantage. View "Leapers, Inc. v. SMTS, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a dispute over the ownership of the mark "The Commodores." Defendant appealed an order granting judgment as a matter of law to CEC and converting a preliminary injunction into a permanent one against defendant and his corporation, Fifth Avenue. The Eleventh Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to review the denial of the motion to dismiss and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding expert testimony from an attorney who proffered only legal conclusions; when defendant left the band, he left behind his common-law rights to the marks and those rights remained with CEC; the scope of the injunction was not impermissibly broad; defendant's arguments about the validity of the federal registration of the marks were irrelevant to this determination; and defendant did not establish any affirmative defenses. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Commodores Entertainment Corp. v. McClary" on Justia Law

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Oracle filed a copyright infringement suit against Rimini, a provider of third-party support for Oracle's enterprise software, and Rimini's CEO. The Ninth Circuit affirmed partial summary judgment and partial judgment after trial on Oracle's claims that Rimini infringed its copyright by copying under the license of one customer for work performed for other existing customers or for unknown or future customers; reversed judgment after trial in regard to Oracle's claims under the California Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act (CDAFA), the Nevada Computer Crimes Law (NCCL), and California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), because taking data from a website, using a method prohibited by the applicable terms of use, when the taking itself generally was permitted, did not violate the CDAFA or the NCCL; reversed the determination that Rimini violated the UCL; reduced the award of damages based on Rimini's alleged violation of the CDAFA and NCCL; affirmed the award of prejudgment interest on the copyright claims; reversed the permanent injunction based on violations of the CDAFA; vacated the permanent injunction based on copyright infringement; reversed with respect to the CEO's liability for attorneys' fees; vacated the fee award and remanded for reconsideration; reduced the award of taxable costs; and affirmed the award of non-taxable costs. View "Oracle USA v. Rimini Street" on Justia Law

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The 215 patent is directed to improving the efficiency by which messages are sent from a receiver to a sender in a telecommunications system to advise the sender that errors occurred in a particular message. In inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that various claims were anticipated. The Federal Circuit initially affirmed, holding that whether the petition for review was time-barred was not subject to judicial review. On rehearing, en banc, the Federal Circuit remanded. The Patent and Trademark Office is prohibited from instituting inter partes review if the petition requesting that review is filed more than one year after the petitioner, real party in interest, or privy of the petitioner is served with a complaint for patent infringement, 35 U.S.C. 315(b); under section 314(d) the determination “whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” The court, noting the strong presumption in favor of judicial review of agency actions, found no clear and convincing indication of congressional intent to prohibit review of time-bar determinations under section 315(b). In finding such rulings appealable, the court overruled its own precedent. View "Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp." on Justia Law

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Monsanto’s patent, titled “Soybean Seed and Oil Compositions and Methods of Making Same,” claims a two-step process for crossing (mating) two parent soybean lines to produce soybean seeds with a modified fatty acid profile. The patent describes “the combination of transgenes that provide both moderate oleic acid levels and low saturated fat levels with soybean germplasm that contains mutations in soybean genes that confer low linolenic acid phenotypes.” After granting DuPont’s request for inter partes review, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the rejection of several claims as anticipated, 35 U.S.C. 102(b), and one as obvious over prior art (Booth). The Federal Circuit affirmed. The PTAB “reasonably interpreted” Booth’s parent line containing 4% linolenic acid “to be within the scope of ‘about 3%,’” as recited in claim 1 of the patent. Substantial evidence supported the finding that Booth “necessarily includes” step (b) of the asserted claims. View "Monsanto Technology LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours" on Justia Law

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The patent, entitled “Real Time Video Communications System,” discloses “tools and techniques for providing video calling solutions” and relates to real-time video conferencing where two or more users communicate, over a network, in a conference that includes video and audio of each participant. In three separate inter partes review proceedings, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found that Microsoft failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the challenged claims were anticipated, 35 U.S.C. 102, or obvious. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding the decision supported by substantial evidence and upholding the Board's claim constructions. View "Microsoft Corp. v. Biscotti, Inc." on Justia Law

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Bosch’s patent, titled “Remote Tire Monitoring System,” relates to a handheld tool for activating remote tire pressure monitoring system (RTMS) tire sensors and communicating with a vehicle’s RTMS receiving unit. The RTMS receiving unit can then use that information to alert the driver of a specific tire characteristic such as low tire pressure. Different manufacturers use different types of devices and/or signals for activating RTMS tire sensors, including magnets, valve core depressors, continuous wave signals, and modulated signals, and use different methods to transmit data to the receiving unit. The patent’s claimed activation tool is intended to work with all of these known RTMS architectures. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board granted inter partes review (IPR). Bosch filed a patent owner response and a “contingent” motion to amend, seeking to substitute amended claims for original claims in the event that the Board found the challenged claims unpatentable. The Board found all challenged claims unpatentable and denied Bosch’s contingent motion to amend. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s finding of unpatentability of claims 1, 4–15, and 20–22, under 35 U.S.C. 103, and vacated its denial of Bosch’s motion to amend as to proposed substitute claims 23–38, with respect to which the Board improperly assigned the burden of proof to Bosch. View "Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, LLC v. Matal" on Justia Law

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Tropp’s patents are directed to the use of dual-access locks in airline luggage inspection. Tropp’s system permits the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to unlock, inspect, and relock checked baggage. Sentry administers a similar system and has license agreements with lock and luggage manufacturers. Under an Agreement with TSA, Sentry provides TSA with passkeys for distribution to field locations. TSA takes no responsibility for damage to baggage secured with Sentry locks but will make good faith efforts to distribute and use the passkeys. TSA does not endorse any particular system. Following earlier appeals, the district court granted summary judgment, finding that Sentry and its licensees did not infringe Tropp’s patents under 35 U.S.C. 271(a). The Federal Circuit vacated. A reasonable jury could conclude that TSA’s performance of the final two claim steps is attributable to Sentry such that Sentry is liable for direct infringement. Although the partnership-like relationship between Sentry and TSA is unique, the court should have considered evidence that TSA, hoping to obtain access to certain benefits, can only do so if it performs certain steps identified by Sentry, under terms prescribed by Sentry. Sentry can stop or limit TSA’s ability to practice the final two steps by terminating the Agreement, discontinuing its practice of replacing passkeys that are damaged or lost or changing the design of future locks such that the TSA keys no longer work. View "Travel Sentry, Inc. v. Tropp" on Justia Law