California Patent Attorney® Blog

Recently in Litigation Category

Beardo Sues over Bearded Hats Patent Dispute

November 19, 2013,

shaver.jpgCalifornia - In a complaint filed last Wednesday, Beardo, Inc. brought a lawsuit under the name of its parent company, Stat Ltd., claiming that three other companies have infringed on its popular hat design. The Beardo hats, which are sold online and in stores across the nation, are similar to traditional ski hats or beanies except that they feature an attached piece in the shape of a beard that covers the face. In its complaint, Beardo claims that two California companies and one in Utah willfully infringed on the design, for which it holds a patent.

The patent, which is entitled, "Combined ski face mask and hat", covers the entire hat and "beard" portion of the accessory and was filed in August of 2011. The allegedly infringing companies, namely Beard Head, Bearded Apparel and Neon Eaters, have not yet responded to the claims against them, but Beardo has demanded that all three immediately stop producing their own hats and that they also pay compensatory and punitive damages. Beard Head offers three types of beard hats that range from "Stubble" to "Long" while Neon Eater offers a "Lumberjack" hat with a detachable beard.

In the complaint, Beardo argues that its "design is inherently distinctive, or alternatively, has acquired secondary meaning" and that, "The famousness and popularity of Beardo's design is reflected in the significant efforts Beardo (and/or its owner) have taken to publicize its products, in its significant publicity Beardo's design has received, and by its significant popularity amongst consumers of combined ski facemasks and hats." To prove its popularity among consumers, Beardo points out that at the time of the complaint, it had 165,737 'likes' on its Facebook page, while Beard Head had 15,869 'likes' and Neon Eaters had only 350 'likes.'

According to the Beardo website, consumers can now purchase hats with attached beards, detachable beards or no beards at all, in addition to facemasks and other accessories. Currently, the products are available to customers in seven countries, including founder Jeff Phillips' home country of Canada. Given that Phillips describes Beardo as his "brainchild" on the company's "About" page, in addition to the recent pop culture craze over all things moustache and beard-related, it is likely that this is not the last we will hear about the fight over these quirky accessories.

Facial Recognition Patent Infringement Claim Lodged Against Toshiba

July 9, 2013,

face.jpgCalifornia - Technology company CeeColor Industries, LLC filed a complaint on July 2nd against Toshiba America, Inc. in Delaware Federal Court, alleging patent infringement.

At issue is technology for facial recognition software, which CeeColor Industries claims it holds exclusive patent rights over. The Delaware-based limited liability company is accusing Toshiba of manufacturing products using this software, which it claims is an infringement of CeeColor's patent protection.

CeeColor alleges that Toshiba, a Delaware Corporation, violated its patent for software that triggers a device's webcam to take regular photos to determine if the user is within close proximity. If the user is determined to be at the computer, the system activates the computer with no effort required of the user and then disables controls once the user leaves.

This technology was installed on Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops, which was first introduced in 2010. Toshiba's facial recognition technology was seen as an innovative way to protect the privacy of the user and the security of the device.

CeeColor claims that Toshiba's use of the technology is an intentional, direct violation of its patents without its permission. The complaint alleges that this patent violation has done irreparable harm to CeeColor and the company is seeking judgment against Toshiba.

The patents named in the lawsuit are both titled "Security system with proximity sensing for an electronic device." The first, U.S. Patent Number 6,002,427, was registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late 1999 and the other, which followed in May 2003, is U.S. Patent Number 6,570,610.

CeeColor has worked to defend its patent rigorously. It previously filed claims against other technology companies for infringement of the same patents. Lawsuits are currently pending in Delaware Federal Court against Sensible Vision, Inc. and Citizen Watch Co. of America, LLC.

The complaint filed by CeeColor demands monetary damages for the alleged infringement as well as attorneys' fees and costs associated with trial. It also requests a trial by jury.

Jury Rules No Gift Card Patent Infringement by Barnes & Noble

June 13, 2013,

books-stack.jpgCalifornia - Barnes & Noble Inc. scored a big win in federal court June 7th when a jury found that it did not infringe on gift card technology developed by Alexsam Inc. This is first of many upcoming trials related to claims of patent infringement brought by Alexsam against other large retailers.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, alleged that Barnes & Noble developed technology for gift card activation that had already been patented by Alexsam in U.S. Patent Nos. 6,000,608 and 6,189,787. Alexsam sought $72 million in damages from Barnes & Noble for the infringement.

First brought in 2010, this lawsuit originally named seven major retailers as defendants. In January, a judge ruled that the cases against each defendant should be pursued individually. Companies named in the lawsuit include Best Buy Co. Inc., Toys R Us Inc., The Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Home Depot USA Inc., and McDonald's Corp.

The jury in this case sided with Barnes & Noble, agreeing that the gift card activation technology developed by the major bookseller was substantively different than that invented by Alexsam, and that there was no patent infringement.

However, the court's decision was not as sweeping as the major retailer defendants would have liked. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Schneider rejected the argument brought by all of the defendants collectively that the patents held by Alexsam should be deemed unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. Defendants argued that Alexsam lied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010 when its patent was under review by not disclosing previous inventions that predated Alexsam's creation. Judge Schneider was unconvinced, denying the claim based on lack of convincing evidence.

Barnes & Noble's case was the first of the lawsuits brought by Alexsam to reach trial. This judgment marks the first victory amongst the companies facing patent infringement claims. The next case set to see trial is against The Gap, scheduled to start June 24. Best Buy struck a settlement deal with Alexsam in May.

Alexsam has previously had success in defending its patents for gift card technology. In May, it won a verdict against telecommunications company IDT Corporation for violation of patents '608 and '787. The jury in that case awarded almost $10 million in damages to Alexsam.

Proctor & Gamble Alleges Infringement of Whitestrips Patents

May 29, 2013,

teeth.jpgCalifornia - CAO Group Inc., a company headquartered near Salt Lake City, Utah founded by Dr. Densen Cao, PhD was sued last week by Procter & Gamble Co., the well-known Ohio-based consumer goods conglomerate. Apart from dental products, CAO Group develops and manufactures a variety of different products like forensic lighting, diode lasers used in veterinary medicine, and billboard lighting.

P&G has taken issue with CAO Group's dental products, accusing the company of infringing on its patented system of teeth whitening strips. The technology P&G hopes to protect is covered in 3 patents pertaining to its Crest Whitestrips brand.

According to the allegations in the complaint, filed in District Court in Ohio, CAO Group's "Sheer Film" products such as "Sheer White!," "Sheer DesenZ," and "Sheer FluorZ" use the same method as Whitestrips in which a thin, moldable film containing an active additive is placed over the teeth, pressed against them and worn for some length of time to whiten and produce other effects of oral care. P&G is striving for an injunction to prevent infringement of its patents as well as damages, interest, and attorneys fees.

The U.S. patents in question are No. 7,122,199 entitled "Method for Whitening Teeth", Patent No. 5,989,569 entitled "Delivery system for a tooth whitener using a permanently deformable strip of material", and Patent No. 6,045,811 entitled "Delivery system for an oral care substance using a permanently deformable strip of material." P&G believes CAO Group's plastic films containing a carbamide peroxide solution infringe its patents by using the same application techniques. Further, P&G alleges CAO Group's products encourage consumers to also infringe on its patents.

Procter & Gamble, which had nearly $84 billion in sales last year and placed fifth as one of the World's Most Admired Companies, claims that over 2 billion people used Crest Whitestrips in 2011. P&G began in the 1880's with the creation of "Ivory" soap, which became famous for being able to float in water.

P&G believes CAO Group's infringement of its patents was done knowingly and intentionally.

CAO Group calls its method "the most significant advance in teeth whitening in nearly a decade" and claims to own more than 60 issued and 80 pending US and international patents to cover the technologies it has created.

MasterCard Sued in Virtual Payment Patent Infringement Case

May 1, 2013,

creditcard.jpgCalifornia - An inventor by the name of John D'Agostino filed a complaint in a Delaware U.S. District Court accusing MasterCard, Inc. of infringing on his patent for a "System and method for performing secure credit card transactions". D'Agostino's patents, No. 7,840,486 issued in 2010 and No. 8,036,988 issued in 2011, involve a payment method whereby a third party has "custodial control" of the consumer's information to secure purchases made online or by other means in order to avoid having to provide the actual credit card number.

MasterCard uses a similar technology called "inControl." D'Agostino believes MasterCard, Discover, Citigroup and possibly others have known about his patent for over 10 years and are now infringing. The complaint alleges that MasterCard is willfully infringing in a complete disregard for D'Agostino's rights.

MasterCard was formed in 1966, and was originally called "Master Charge" until 1979. It is no stranger to litigation. Both it and Visa lost a class-action lawsuit filed in January 1996, paying over $2.5 billion in damages for price fixing on debit card interchange fees and card swiping fees. In 2010, another anti-trust lawsuit came to a head with a settlement reached between it and the U.S. Justice Department. And, in 2012, a judge decided to grant approval of a settlement agreement reached between all the major credit card companies and merchants and trade associations who felt Visa and MasterCard's interchange fees were unreasonably high and had been conspiratorially fixed.

MasterCard previously tried to have D'Agostino's patents re-examined believing some of the patent claims were invalid, but the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office denied the request. According to D'Agostino, MasterCard has also made threats to challenge the patents if he didn't accept its licensing agreement offer, which he claims was for an unreasonably low amount of money.

The complaint alleges Discover's "Secure Online Account Numbers" and Citigroup's "Virtual Account Numbers" use the same technology and tools because each uses a confidential transaction code. D'Agostino's patents feature this same concept.

To date, none of the credit card companies have made a comment on the case.

CBS and NBC Sued in Podcasting Patent Infringement Cases

April 17, 2013,

iphone.jpgCalifornia - Both CBS Corp. and NBC Universal Media LLC were sued in separate Texas federal court actions by Personal Audio LLC, a Beaumont, Texas company who claims to be "pioneers in playlists and podcasting." The lawsuits stem from claims by Personal Audio that CBS and NBS are infringing on one of its five patents, U.S. Patent No. 8,112,504 B2. The patent at issue covers transmission of audio programming through the internet.

Personal Audio feels that the audio versions of television shows podcast by CBS and NBC infringe its patent. Specifically, Personal Audio is alleging that the CBS podcasts for news programming such as 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News and Face the Nation infringe its patent. NBC podcasts alleged to be infringing include the Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Meet the Press.

Personal Audio's patent covers "an audio program and message distribution system in which a host system transmits information regarding episodes to client subscriber locations". It is alleging that both CBS and NBC are using software and hardware such as servers and data storage in a manner that directly infringes its patent.

Should Personal Audio prevail in the lawsuit, it appears that CBS and NBC will not be forced to discontinue podcasting the shows. Instead, it is more likely that they will enter into licensing agreements with Personal Audio.

CBS and NBC are not the first to be sued by Personal Audio for patent infringement. Personal Audio has already initiated lawsuits against HowStuffWorks.com, Togi Entertainment Inc. and Ace Broadcasting Network LLC, owner of the most-downloaded podcast program "The Adam Carolla Show."

In another proceeding, Personal Audio secured a $12 Million judgment against Apple two years ago over similar patents related to a downloadable musical playlist and playback system. Richard Baker, Personal Audio's VP of Licensing commented: "It's unfortunate that an inventor has to resort to litigation in order to get people to respond to offers for amicable licensing discussions. The inventors are just looking to be compensated for their hard work and the risk they took to bring this technology to the industry."

It is unknown thus far how CBS and NBC plan to respond to the allegations.

ITC Sides with Microsoft in Patent Claim

March 28, 2013,

game-controller.jpgCalifornia - The long, on-going battle between Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Mobility, Inc. (owned by Google) over the Xbox 360 gaming console could be coming to end based on the most recent decision by the International Trade Commission. Last Friday, Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw announced that Microsoft was not in violation of Motorola's wireless connectivity patent, No. 6,069,896.

Motorola, obviously unhappy with the decision, still has a chance to convince the ITC to alter the decision by submitting a response. However, the decision will stand unless the ITC modifies it by July of this year.

Motorola has been seeking an import ban on the Xbox due to the alleged patent infringement. The Xbox is a video game console released by Microsoft on November 15, 2001. It represents Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market.

Microsoft believes Motorola's patents fall into the area of licensing rules called "FRAND" or "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms." FRAND forces businesses with patents to license certain technologies if they constitute a general standard in a particular industry. Microsoft did not deny that it used technology patented by Motorola. Instead Microsoft took the position that Motorola wasn't allowing Microsoft to license the technology at the reasonable rates set out by FRAND. Motorola was insisting that Microsoft pay a 2.25 percent royalty on every Xbox 360 sold, at a cost of approximately $4 billion per year.

The original lawsuit was filed with the International Trade Commission in November of 2010. Motorola based its claims against Microsoft on a total of five patents. Initially Judge Shaw invalidated one of the patents. Now all the patents cited in the action except one have been invalidated or dropped from the complaint.

Regarding the determination, Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel made the following statement: "We are pleased with the Administrative Law Judge's finding that Microsoft did not violate Motorola's patent and are confident that this determination will be affirmed by the Commission. The ITC has already terminated its investigation on the other four patents originally asserted by Motorola against Microsoft."

The two companies will still face one another in two subsequent Federal lawsuits which have been put on hold pending the ITC's decision in this matter.

Frito-Lay Loses SCOOPS! Tortilla Chip Patent Fight

March 7, 2013,

chips-guacamole.jpgCalifornia - A Texas jury sided with BOWLZ chips maker Medallion Foods, Inc. saying that the company did not infringe Tostitos SCOOPS! manufacturer Frito-Lay North America Inc.'s patent for bowl-shaped tortilla chips.

PepsiCo, Inc. subsidiary Frito-Lay alleged that Ralcorp Holdings subsidiary Medallion had stolen its patented design for making the unique bowl-shaped tortilla chips and claimed that it purposely tried to confuse consumers by using similar packaging design and colors.

"Defendants' bowl-shaped tortilla chips and accompanying package are an apparent intentional effort to imitate the famous, successful trademark and packaging of Frito-Lay's Tostitos SCOOPS! tortilla chips," the complaint read.

However, the jury found that Frito-Lay had failed to prove that Medallion's store brand of chips sold at Wal-Mart stores infringed its method for making the chips, that it had infringed the packaging of the product, that Medallion's product would dilute the SCOOPS! brand in any way, or that Medallion was engaging in unfair competition by using similar packaging designs.

The food fight started when Frito-Lay sent a cease and desist letter to Medallion in early February 2012 accusing the company of infringing its intellectual property and demanding that it stop producing the BOWLZ chips within two days because of the purported infringement.

Medallion refused to comply because it believed it had not done anything wrong. When the cease and desist deadline passed, Medallion filed a lawsuit against Frito-Lay in Arkansas federal court requesting a declaratory judgment that its chip does not infringe on Frito-Lay's trademarks and patents. The case was dismissed later that year.

Frito-Lay responded to Medallion's lawsuit by filing a separate lawsuit that same month in Texas federal court, which resulted in the trial that concluded Friday. The complaint accused Medallion of infringing its patent-protected method for making the bowl-shaped chips and also accused Medallion of copying it packaging.

The jury, however, found that Medallion's methods for making its chip are different than the methods described in Frito-Lay's patent and disagreed that the packaging would cause confusion among consumers. Frito-Lay had requested $4.5 million in damages and an injunction preventing the company from continuing to make the BOWLZ chips.

Complete Genomics Claims It Did Not Infringe DNA-Sequencing Kit Patents

February 22, 2013,

dna-strand.jpgCalifornia - Complete Genomics Inc. argued in front of a California federal judge on Wednesday that its genome-testing kits do not infringe Illumina Inc.'s patents, claiming it produced sufficient evidence that the gene probes used in its testing kits are different from Illumina's probes.

Complete Genomics, based out of the Bay Area, told U.S. District Judge Elizabeth LaPorte of the Northern District of California that its kits do not infringe Illumina's patents because the kits use a different probe than the one protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,306,597. It argued that it has provided sufficient evidence and expert declarations that show it sequencing methods are different from Illumina's methods.

According to Complete Genomics, Illumina's entire argument against Complete Genomics' motion for summary judgment is based on the presumption that Complete Genomics' sequencing methods would not work unless it used Illumina's patented probe. However, Complete Genomics claims Illumina did not provide declarations from experts in the field that are familiar with the technology or any other evidence to support its assertions.

Illumina admitted that it chose not to gather expert declarations because it believed it had sufficient evidence to combat Complete Genomics' motion for summary judgment without them. Counsel for Illumina, Kevin Flowers, requested that Judge LaPorte allow him to question co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Complete Genomics Radoje Drmanac, arguing that he would easily be able to determine if the company is still using the probes that allegedly infringe Illumina's patents.

Judge LaPorte said that Illumina had not sufficiently proven that deposing Drmanac would be imperative to its argument, but she granted Illumina's request, saying it would not be much of an inconvenience and it would go a long way to leave the parties feeling satisfied with a ruling on the case.

The case was initially filed in San Francisco, California in 2010. Illumina and its subsidiary filed the lawsuit accusing Complete Genomics of infringing three patents related to technology used in DNA-sequencing kits, including the '597 patent. Complete Genomics' claims that the '597 patent covers probes with "annealing temperatures whose maximum and minimum values differ from each other by no more than 1 degree centigrade." Complete Genomics claims the methods it uses involves a 60 degree centigrade temperature spread.

OxyContin Manufacturer Sues Generics Makers for Patent Infringement

February 6, 2013,

pills.jpgCalifornia - Purdue Pharma LP and Grunenthal GmbH filed a lawsuit against two generic drug makers, claiming their planned generic versions of OxyContin will infringe two patents that cover the "abuse-proof" version of the painkiller.

According to the complaints filed in New York on Friday, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., now owned by Actavis Inc., and Impax Laboratories Inc. filed abbreviated new drug applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a generic form of oxycodone hydrochloride extended-release tablets for seven different dosage strengths. Purdue and Grunenthal claim the planned generic forms will infringe at least one of two patents relating to the controlled-release version of OxyContin.

According to the FDA, OxyContin is a semi-synthetic opioid and a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high risk of addiction.

The patents-in-suit, both titled "Abuse-proofed dosage form" are owned by German-based Grunenthal, which licenses the patents to Connecticut-based Purdue. The patents protect a specific version of OxyContin that is coated in a plastic-like polymer to help prevent tampering and abuse of the drug. The polymer prevents the pill from being ground into a fine powder and becomes unusable if added to water, but it can still dissolve normally in the stomach.

Watson and Impax both sent a letter to Purdue in December 2012 informing the company of their plans to file ANDAs for a generic version of the painkiller and stating that the patents for the drug are not valid, unenforceable or are not infringed by their planned generics.

Purdue and Grunenthal claim the patents are valid and that the companies cannot reasonably conclude that the generic forms of the drug are not covered by the terms of the patents or that the generic versions would not infringe the patents.

OxyContin is a very profitable painkiller, making Purdue nearly $2.8 billion in U.S. sales in 2011. Purdue claimed that the infringement by the companies "will cause plaintiffs irreparable harm for which they have no adequate remedy at law and will continue unless enjoined by this court."

Purdue requested a declaratory judgment that the planned generics will infringe the patents, an injunction prohibiting the companies from releasing generic versions of OxyContin until the patents expire in November 2023, costs and attorney fees.

Supreme Court to Rule if Planting Patented Seeds Constitutes Infringement

January 21, 2013,

seedling.jpgCalifornia - Monsanto Co. asked the United States Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that a farmer infringed its Roundup Ready soybean seed patent when he planted the seeds, arguing that if it ruled otherwise it would undercut patent rights for products that can easily be reproduced.

In the brief Monsanto filed prior to the oral arguments scheduled for February 19, Monsanto asked that the court should dismiss Vernon Bowman's argument that Monsanto's patent rights were exhausted when the company allowed the seeds to be sold. Monsanto argues that the Federal Circuit ruled correctly when it said Bowman infringed its patent rights by planting the seeds he purchased and creating more of the patented seeds.

Monsanto argued that the doctrine of patent exhaustion states that the patent owner loses the right to control its patented product after an authorized sale, but the doctrine only covers the actual product sold.

In its brief to the court, Monsanto stated that the doctrine of patent exhaustion "cannot apply to other articles, such as the new soybeans petitioner grew, that have never been sold. Monsanto's patent rights in those soybeans were thus not exhausted."

Patent law does not allow a consumer who has purchased a patented item to recreate the product based on the template of the original, and Monsanto argues that just because seeds are grown instead of manufactured does not mean it should not have the same patent rights.

Monsanto also argued that if the court holds that Monsanto's patent rights in the seeds were exhausted, it would take away the incentive to undergo the expensive process of developing products that can be easily replicated because there would be little patent protection.

Inventors "would find it impossible to maintain the exclusivity conferred by the patent laws the moment he commercialized the invention: Every sale would create a new potential competitor with rights to make, use and sell new copies of the invention," Monsanto said.

Bowman argues that the Federal Circuit's finding that he is liable for infringement for planting seeds creates an exception for self-replicating patented products in the doctrine of exhaustion giving those products an unprecedented level of patent protection, which he claims should not be allowed.

Apple Unable to Secure Permanent Injunction on Samsung Devices

January 3, 2013,

apple-store.jpgCalifornia - A California federal judge rejected Apple's request for a United States sales ban on a number of smartphones made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. that were found to infringe Apple's patents and trade dress.

Just before the holidays U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Apple was unable to establish that the patented features in question are features that drive sales of the iPhone, thus Apple was unable to prove the company would suffer irreparable harm because of Samsung's sale of the infringing products.

Apple requested the injunction, which would have removed 26 of Samsung's current and future products from store shelves during the heart of the holiday season, after a California jury ruled in August that Samsung had infringed six utility and design patents which Apple owns.

Apple wanted the injunction in order to force Samsung to overhaul its product lines and to give Apple a piece of the popular Galaxy S II's sales, which would have made the injunction more valuable to Apple than the $1.05 billion it was awarded by the San Francisco jury.

Apple argued that the patents Samsung is infringing cover features of the iPhone design, including its black color, metal edges, reinforced glass and glossiness, which it argued are important to consumers when purchasing a smartphone. However, Judge Koh said the entire design of the phone, not the isolated characteristics Apple pointed out, is what is protected by its patent.

Judge Koh also said it is unclear how much a consumer considers design when making a smartphone purchase. Even if it was clear that design played a large part in a consumer's decision-making, Apple did not provide evidence that the specific design features Samsung was found to have infringed actually influence a consumer's decision to purchase a specific smartphone.

"Apple makes no attempt to prove that any more specific element of the iPhone's design, let alone one covered by one of Apple's design patents, actually drives consumer demand," Judge Koh said.

In addition to denying Apple's bid for a permanent injunction, Judge Koh also denied Samsung's request for a new trial.

Samsung claimed that juror Velvin Hogan withheld information during the voir dire process regarding his involvement in litigation with Seagate Technology PLC, a company Samsung recently invested in. Judge Koh dismissed the request saying Samsung waived its arguments during the voir dire process.

Both Apple and Samsung Argue That $1.05 Billion Patent Infringement Verdict is Unfair

December 11, 2012,

ipad-iphone.jpgCalifornia - After a $1.05 billion verdict was found in favor of Apple in August, both Samsung and Apple are back in court arguing that the ruling is unfair.

The arguments regarding several post-trial motions filed since the August verdict will be heard by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District Court in San Francisco.
Samsung claims that the $1.05 billion verdict goes too far and is asking for a reduction in the verdict or for the verdict to be overturned all together. On the other hand, Apple wants $535 million more in enhanced damages, based on the jury's finding that Samsung willfully infringed Apple's patents.

Samsung claims that Apple has not shown it suffered any damages the jury did not account for and so it is not entitled to enhanced damages.

Beyond that argument, Samsung claims that a reasonable jury would not have found that it infringed Apple's patents and that the jury's findings and damage calculations are faulty and inconsistent, thus Apple is not entitled to the $1.05 billion in damages the jury awarded.

Samsung also claims that the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, was biased against the company. Samsung bases this claim on the fact that Hogan sued Seagate Technology in 1993, a company Samsung recently invested in. Based on this alleged bias, Samsung is asking for a new trial due to jury misconduct.

Samsung also claims that the judge's constraints on jury time, exhibits, and witnesses prevented it from making a full and fair case against Apple's claims. Apple counters that Samsung's jury misconduct claim is based on speculation and it has not given sufficient cause to require a new trial.

In addition to greater monetary damages, Apple is asking for a permanent injunction on Samsung's allegedly infringing smartphones and tablets. It wants the injunction to ban all technology that is "not more than colorably different," which could ban Samsung products that had nothing to do with the trial.

Samsung claims that the injunction Apple wants is vague and overbroad, which could hinder competition and limit consumer choice. Samsung also claims that Apple has not shown it will suffer irreparable harm or that monetary remedies are not sufficient.
Samsung's argument also pointed out Apple's recent settlement with HTC Corp., which concerned some of the same patents at issue in the Samsung case, as confirmation that Apple's competitors can sell products containing Apple's patents through licensing without damaging the company.

Regardless of Koh's ruling on the case and the decisions on appeals that are sure to follow, Apple and Samsung's legal battles are far from over. The companies will be back in Judge Koh's courtroom in 2014 battling over patent infringement in newer smartphones and tablets.

Apple v. HTC Patent Infringement Battle Finally Over

November 12, 2012,

cell phone closeup-offset.jpgCalifornia - After a daunting thirty-two month patent infringement lawsuit between Apple Inc. and HTC, the two tech giants announced a confidential 10-year licensing agreement that will cover both current and future patents held by both companies. The companies also dismissed all pending lawsuits against each other.

The patent infringement dispute arose in March 2010 when Apple filed a complaint against HTC for infringing ten patents related to user interface design. The International Trade Commission determined that HTC was indeed in violation of one patent, which caused a delay in launch dates of the HTC One X and other products due to an import ban.

HTC is not the only Android hardware manufacturer that Apple is embroiled with in messy patent battles. The late CEO Steve Jobs had declared a "thermonuclear war" against the Android operating system, which he called a "stolen product." The company has gone toe to toe with both Samsung and Motorola over claims of patent infringement involving hardware design, core operating system functionalities, and elements of user interface.

The outcome of these current patent battles could affect the design and functionality of smartphones as well as their cost and availability when licensing fees and ITC bans take place.

"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer of the Taiwan-based HTC.

Tim Cook, who replaced Jobs as the CEO of Apple, made a similar statement indicating that the company intends on staying "laser focused on product innovation." Unlike Jobs' war mantra of dragging these claims out in court for years and years, Cook has taken a less hostile approach. He appears to be more willing to work out deals with the Android makers to avoid the courts. The company struck a deal with handset-maker Nokia, which included money from Apple.

Regardless of Cook's diplomatic approach to the patent wars, Apple failed to strike a settlement agreement with Samsung earlier this year. Apple won the case in court with the jury awarding it $1 billion in damages, a decision which Samsung says it will appeal.

Lenovo, B&N, Other Tablet Makers Sued Over Double-Click Patent

October 29, 2012,

tablet_pc.jpgCalifornia - Lenovo Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and other makers of tablet products were hit with new infringement allegations on Friday at the hands of Hopewell Culture & Design LLC, which accuses the tablet makers of misappropriating its patented technology for double-clicking an interactive display.

Hopewell filed a battery of new infringement lawsuits in Texas federal court against Lenovo, B&N, Amazon, Coby Electronics Corp., Viewsonic Corp. and Vizio Inc. all asserting violations of its rights in U.S. Patent Number 7,171,625.

The '625 patent, entitled "Double-Clicking a Point-and-Click Interface Apparatus to Enable a New Interaction with Content Represented by an Active Visual Display Element," was issued in January 2007. The claimed invention can be used to enable interaction with any type of content, such as a still image, video, audio, text or a graphical display, and the interactions can include any manner of making use of data representing the content, according to the patent description.

The tablet makers are making and selling infringing mobile devices including B&N's Nook, Amazon's Kindle, Lenovo's ThinkPad andIdea Pad, Coby's Kyros, Viewsonic's ViewBook and Viewpad and Vizio's VTAB1008, according to the complaints.

The accused devices all allegedly infringe the patent by having software allowing a user to double click or double tap a visual element representing interactive content and interact with a second version of the interactive content.

Hopewell is seeking a declaration of infringement, damages and injunctions with respect to all of the alleged infringers.

The '625 patent claims a broad range of double-clicking capabilities and functionality, covering computers, televisions and any other devices that make use of a point-and-click apparatus for user interaction.

"Double-clicking a point-and-click computer user interface apparatus can also be used to effect user input to a computer program," the patent description says. "However, double-clicking has not been used to effect user input to a Web browser that uniquely corresponds to the double-click input."

"Once users have become acclimated to the use of a double-click input to produce or enable functionality in accordance with the invention, the invention can provide an intuitive and easy way to access such functionality," the description says.