Justia U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Communications Law
K-Tech Telecomm., Inc. v. Time Warner Cable, Inc.
In 2011, K-Tech sued DirecTV for patent infringement against DirecTV. On the same day, K-Tech filed a similar action against TWC. The complaints named four patents identifying systems and methods for modifying a major channel number, a minor channel number, and/or a carrier frequency to identify a television program. The district court dismissed both complaints and K-Tech’s amended complaints, for failure to state a claim. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the district court applied the incorrect standard in evaluating the adequacy of K-Tech’s complaints. District courts must evaluate complaints alleging direct infringement by reference to Form 18 of the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. K-Tech’s amended complaints satisfied those standards. DirecTV and TWC know what K-Tech’s patents claim, and they know what K-Tech asserts their systems do, and why. K-Tech has alleged that DirecTV and TWC must and do modify or “translate” digital signals they receive, and it has alleged that they do so using K-Tech’s patented methods and systems. View "K-Tech Telecomm., Inc. v. Time Warner Cable, Inc." on Justia Law
Function Media, L.L.C. v. Google, Inc.
FM sued Google for infringing three patents relating to advertising on multiple outlets such as newspapers and websites. The specification characterizes the prior art as inefficient because it requires advertisers to manually ensure that their ads conform to the differing requirements of each advertising venue. The invention is designed to eliminate this inefficiency by automatically formatting the ads to fit each publisher’s requirements and sending them out for publication. In each of the patents, a “central computer” coordinates interactions between sellers (wishing to place ads), media venues, and buyers (targets of the ads). The central computer hosts a number of databases and software processes, including the presentation rules database and the Presentation Generating Program. The district court invalidated of one of FM’s patents as indefinite and a jury found that two others were invalid and not infringed. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the court abdicated to the jury its responsibility to construe disputed claim terms; that the court incorrectly denied its motion for a new trial on the grounds that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence; and that the verdicts of infringement and invalidity are irreconcilable. View "Function Media, L.L.C. v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law
In re: Fox
In 2001 Fox sought to register a mark having a literal element, consisting of the words COCK SUCKER, and a design element, consisting of a drawing of a crowing rooster. Since 1979, Fox has used this mark to sell rooster-shaped chocolate lollipops, which she “displays . . .in retail outlets in small replicas of egg farm collecting baskets to emphasize the country farmyard motif.” The consumers targeted by Fox’s business are, primarily, fans of teams that have gamecocks as mascots. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed refusal by the examiner to register her mark, citing 15 U.S.C. 1052(a). The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that a mark that creates a double entendre falls within the proscription of the section where, as here, one of its meanings is clearly vulgar. The section’s prohibition on registration of “immoral ... or scandalous matter” includes a mark that is “vulgar.”View "In re: Fox" on Justia Law
ActiveVideo Networks, Inc. v. Verizon Commc’n, Inc.
ActiveVideo asserted that Verizon’s video on demand (VoD) feature of the FiOS-TV system infringed its 578, 678, and 883 patents, which share a common specification and generally disclose and claim interactive television systems and methods for delivering interactive television to subscribers. Verizon counterclaimed that ActiveVideo infringed three of its patents. The jury found that Verizon infringed four ActiveVideo patents and that ActiveVideo infringed two Verizon patents and awarded damages to both. The court entered an injunction against Verizon but delayed enforcement for six months during which Verizon was ordered to pay a sunset royalty. The Federal Circuit reversed the injunction and the judgment of infringement against Verizon as to one patent; vacated the grant of summary judgment of invalidity as to one Verizon patent is vacated and remanded for further proceedings. The court affirmed other findings of infringement and the imposition of a sunset royalty. View "ActiveVideo Networks, Inc. v. Verizon Commc'n, Inc." on Justia Law
Leader Tech., Inc. v. Facebook, Inc.
Leader, a software company, owns the 761 patent, which discloses a system that manages data that may be accessed and created by multiple users over a network. The patent improves upon conventional systems by associating data "with an individual, group of individuals, and topical content, and not simply with a folder, as in traditional systems." The system achieves this improvement by having users collaborate and communicate through boards that are accessible through an Internet browser and appear as a webpage. To facilitate those user-facing functions, the data management system employs metadata, tagged to data being created, to capture the association between the data and its context. As users create and change their contexts, the data (files) and applications automatically follow. Prior to filing the 761 application in 2003, Leader developed Leader2Leader.® Facebook claimed that the earlier product, publicly used and on sale prior to December 10, 2002 fell within the scope of the asserted claims of the 761 patent, rendering them invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102(b). The district court ruled in favor of Facebook. The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding the verdict supported by substantial evidence. View "Leader Tech., Inc. v. Facebook, Inc." on Justia Law
HTC Corp. v. IPCom GmbH & Co., KG
HTC sought a declaration that it did not infringe a valid and enforceable claim of the 830 patent, which covers a handover in a cellular telephone network to reduce the chance of interrupted service for a user in transit. IPCom counterclaimed, alleging infringement. The district court concluded that two claims in the 830 patent were invalid. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the district court misconstrued the claims, which cover only an apparatus, not an apparatus and method steps. The specification adequately discloses a processor and transceiver for use in performing the functions recited in the claims.View "HTC Corp. v. IPCom GmbH & Co., KG" on Justia Law