Posts tagged as:

patent litigation

Per Joe Mullin, many of the plaintiffs appear to be attorneys. [Justin Gray, Gray on Claims; earlier here and here] [Corrected Wed. evening: Mullin says in email he initially overestimated the number of suits filed directly on attorneys' behalf.]

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January 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 18, 2010

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“Phoenix Media/Communications, which owns The Boston Phoenix and other local alternative weeklies and websites, is suing popular social networking site Facebook for allegedly violating a patent related to setting up online personal profile pages.” [Boston Globe]

October 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 12, 2009

  • Speech-curbing proposals continue to get polite academic reception: NYU’s Jeremy Waldron, big advocate of laws to curb “hate speech”, delivered Holmes Lectures at Harvard this past week [HLS, schedule]
  • Lawsuit over collectible baseball hit into stands by Phillies’ Ryan Howard, his 200th career homer [Howard Wasserman, PrawfsBlawg; NJLRA]
  • Orchid-importer prosecution a poster case for the evils of overcriminalization? Maybe not [Ken at Popehat]
  • Texas State Fair and city of Dallas don’t have to allow evangelist to distribute religious tracts inside the fair, judge rules after three years [Dallas Observer blog]
  • Drug maker: FDA’s curbs on truthful promotion of off-label uses impair our First Amendment speech rights [Beck and Herrmann and more, Point of Law and more]
  • Did plaintiff Eolas Technologies go to unusual lengths to ensure Eastern District of Texas venue for its patent litigation? [Joe Mullin, IP Law and Business via Alison Frankel, AmLaw]
  • Update: “Lesbian Denied Infertility Treatment Settles Lawsuit” [San Diego 6, earlier]
  • Even in the Ninth Circuit, “psychological injury resulting from a legitimate personnel action” is not compensable [Volokh]

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U.S. District Judge William Smith in Providence vacated a $388 million award to Uniloc, a Singapore-based company, ruling that the jury “lacked a grasp of the issues before it and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis.” [Bloomberg]

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September 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 18, 2009

  • Details emerge on new demonstration grants for patient safety and medical liability [Point of Law, NLJ] GOP underwhelmed by Obama gestures [Fox News and earlier, Salt Lake Tribune, Washington Times, Examiner and more]
  • Trial lawyer charity effort donates Wii sets to rehab hospitals [Daily Business News Detroit] Wait a minute – what about those lawsuits contending Wii was a defective product?
  • No, John Edwards didn’t invent trial tactic of “channeling” thoughts of deceased. And is inflaming jury passion and prejudice “what good closing argument for a good trial lawyer is about”? [ABAJournal, Hochfelder/PoL, earlier]
  • “It took Arizona state police months to realize the same driver was involved” in monkey-mask speed-cam evasions [MargRev, LtB]
  • Connecticut lawyer’s complaints allege that business structure of Total Attorney service amounts to improper fee division [LegalBlogWatch]
  • “Want to Complain About a Cop? Better Bring Your I.D. — And Maybe A Toothbrush” [Ken at Popehat]
  • Tenth Circuit, McConnell writing, reinstates SCO suit against Novell over Linux [WSJ Law Blog]
  • New York employment law could bite Human Rights Watch in memorabilia controversy [Volokh]

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Apparently plaintiff TechRadium asserts patent rights over emergency notification systems, and Twitter came into its cross-hairs because, among its many, many other uses, it permits municipalities and other users to warn affected persons of emergencies. [Elefant, Legal Blog Watch; earlier]

The Eastern District of Texas strikes again. [DailyTech, Concurring Opinions, Legal BlogWatch, WSJ Law Blog, earlier]

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TechCrunch and Wired/Threat Level have details on a Texas firm’s claim.

Incidentally, and as a reminder, you can follow this site on Twitter at @overlawyered (a mix of auto-Tweets of new posts, and original links/material), and my personal account at @walterolson (some law-related content, some other). Point of Law, where I also post, has an account too.

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July 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 21, 2009

  • “Plaintiffs’ Attorneys to Get $800,000 in Preliminary Settlement, Class Members Receive Zero” [Calif. Civil Justice covering Bluetooth settlement in which Ted was objector; earlier here and here]
  • “Lawyer Jailed for Contempt Is Freed After 14 Years” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • Money makes the signals go ’round: another probe of red-light cameras yields few surprises [Chicago Tribune, Chicago Bungalow, Bainbridge on Washington, D.C.]
  • Previously little-known company surfaces in E.D. Tex. to claim Apple, many other companies violate its patent for touchpads [AppleInsider via @JohnLobert]
  • Child endangerment saga of mom who left kids at Montana mall is now a national story [ABC News; earlier post with many comments; Free Range Kids and more]
  • Meet Obama Administration “special adviser on ‘green’ jobs” Van Jones ["Dunphy", McCarthy at NRO "Corner"]
  • Irrationality of furloughs at University of Wisconsin should provide yet another ground to question New Deal-era Fair Labor Standards Act [Coyote]
  • Australia’s internet blacklist is so secret you can’t even find out what sites are on it [Popehat - language] Oz to block online video games unsuitable for those under 15 [BoingBoing]

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Or so readers infer from a $200 million patent infringement verdict against Microsoft [TechDirt, Slashdot]

May 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 16, 2009

  • At Reason “Hit and Run”, Damon Root deems a certain website “indispensable” [accolades file]
  • Montgomery Blair Sibley, colorful lawyer for the “D.C. Madam” and a figure much covered on this site, has new book out [Doyle/McClatchy]
  • Although Indian tribal litigators attacked it as “disparaging”, the Washington Redskins football team can keep its trademark, for now at least. “My ancestors were both Vikings and Cowboys. Do I have a course of action?” [Volokh comments]
  • “Is Patent Infringement Litigation Up or Down?” [Frankel, The American Lawyer]
  • Maryland high court dismisses autism-mercury lawsuit [Seidel, Krauss @ Point of Law]
  • Chrysler dealers are lawyering up against the prospect of being cast off [WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Should doctors who follow evidence-based guidelines be offered liability protection?” [KevinMD]
  • Obama proposes $1.25 billion to settle black farmers’ long-running bias claims against the U.S. Department of Agriculture [AP/Yahoo]

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May 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 12, 2009

  • Florida: “Law firm is found liable for injuries to client who fell off a chair” [WPBF via Bernabe]
  • Monsanto, known for hardball litigation over its patented seeds, might regret taking on duPont [AmLaw Litigation Daily, earlier here and here]
  • Kenyan man sues women’s rights activists for leading sex boycott that his wife joined [Daily Nation]
  • Notice a “sign this EFCA petition” message in your Twitter stream, about the controversial card-check union bill? Better check out its bona fides [Point of Law]
  • RIAA said it was going to stop filing new cases against music downloaders, but that might depend on what the definition of new cases is [Ars Technica, AmLaw Litigation Daily]
  • EEOC guidance warns employers about violating ADA in trying to cope with H1N1 flu virus in workplace [Daniel Schwartz, Workplace Prof Blog; related, earlier]
  • Cluelessness, more than censor’s urge, might explain that ghastly bill filed by Rep. Linda Sanchez to combat “cyberbullying” by throttling online speech [Jacob Sullum; earlier here, etc.]
  • Buxom British gals claim victory after Marks & Spencer rescinds $3 surcharge on larger-size bras [AP/Idaho Statesman, The Sun via Amy Alkon]

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Apparently jurors are keen to construe the story before them as a search for fault, even if that’s not quite how patent law actually works (IP Law and Business)

A Massachusetts company known as Worlds.com, which to my knowledge has never produced a product of the sort known as a “Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game,” nevertheless claims a patent in the concept.  These games, the best known of which are probably World of Warcraft or Everquest, have been around for well over ten years, and are quite the moneymaking ventures for their producers.

Now Worlds.com is suing NCSoft, a Korean company that produces the games Lineage and City of Heroes, based on a patent filed in 1999 and issued in 2004 for a “system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space,” though some of the NCSoft games alleged to breach the patent were produced before Worlds.com even filed its application.  As Words.com has never produced such a game, and appears to be little more than a vehicle for holding the patent, one expects that NCSoft will counterclaim seeking to invalidate the patent.  Nevertheless, Worlds.com announces that it would “welcome licensing inquiries from the on-line game industry,” meaning Sony and Blizzard, to allow those companies to continue making money from their own games.

The best story I could find on this came from The Register, which has the application and notes that the patent is an “extremely broad” one which could reach beyond games.  Other informative coverage can be found at gaming sites, including Broken Toys, Kotaku, and Virtual World News.

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A trend? Following up on yesterday’s post about the camera and Medtronic cases: “A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Monday upheld an attorney fee award of nearly $17 million because of baseless filings and bad faith patent litigation by two drug companies. A district court awarded the fees to Takeda Chemical Industries, which had sued two generic drug companies — Mylan Laboratories and Alphapharm Pty. Ltd. — for patent infringement. …The district court agreed with Takeda that both companies lacked a good faith basis for their certification filings and had engaged in litigation misconduct.” (Marcia Coyle, “Panel Upholds $17M Attorney Fee Award, Cites Bad-Faith Patent Litigation by Drug Companies”, National Law Journal, Dec. 9).

“Frequent patent defendants say they’re hit by frivolous lawsuits all the time. But it’s very rare for a judge to find a patent lawsuit to be frivolous enough to grant sanctions and attorney’s fees.” Last week, however, a judge in Peoria issued Rule 11 sanctions against a company called Triune Star which held a patent on a certain type of GPS-using camera. The patent examiner had taken care to limit the patent to infrared cameras to overcome an obviousness objection, but the plaintiff’s lawyers — Keith Rockey and Kathleen Lyons of Chicago-based Rockey, Depke & Lyons — then proceeded to sue three big companies that had sold conventional cameras. A judge awarded the defendants reasonable costs and attorney’s fees, something defense lawyer Brian Rupp says has happened only a few times in the last decade. (Joe Mullin, Prior Art, Dec. 4 via TechDirt; Techdirt, Feb. 26 (Medtronic)).

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It’s not often that patent litigation furnishes the subject of a new Hollywood film; inventor-side attorneys must be hoping the David-and-Goliath theme of the Universal Pictures release Flash of Genius redounds to their benefit. (Brian Baxter, AmLaw Daily, Oct. 3). The original New Yorker article on which the film is based is by no means devoid of balance, and includes a discussion of the late Jerome Lemelson, a longtime Overlawyered favorite (John Seabrook, The New Yorker, Jan. 11, 1993). Unrelatedly, a patent attorney turns up as the lead character of a fiction thriller in Paul Goldstein’s “A Patent Lie” (Stephen Albainy-Jenei, Patent Baristas, Sept. 29).

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