A recent decision from the United States District Court of the District of Hawaii reveals an effective strategy for responding to non-practicing entity (NPE) suits and obtaining leverage early on in the litigation. This strategy takes into account the business model of some NPEs to name many (unconnected) industry players in one lawsuit and plead only bare allegations of patent infringement.
Author: Wendy R. Stein
On September 17, 2014, the Second Circuit issued its long awaited decision in Gucci America, Inc. et. al. v. Li et. al., 2014 WL 4629049 (Appeal Nos. 11-3934 & 12-4557). In its decision, the Court vacated and remanded an August 2011 order compelling nonparty Bank of China (BOC) to comply with a document subpoena and asset freeze provision in an injunction and a May 2012 order denying the bank’s motion to reconsider. The court also reversed a November 2012 decision holding the bank in contempt for non-compliance with the court’s August 2011 order and imposing civil penalties.
Judge Koeltl of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently adopted a recommended statutory damages award of $6.6 million dollars in a case involving trademark counterfeiting. Richemont Int’l S.A. et. al. v. Montesol Ou, et. al., 2014 WL 3732919, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 2014). The plaintiff sellers of luxury goods had initially sought $78 million or $2 million per counterfeit mark per type of good counterfeited in connection with 88 domain names operated by the defendants. Richemont Int’l S.A. et. al. v. Montesol Ou, et. al., 2014 WL 3732887, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. May 13, 2014). But Magistrate Judge Pitman recommended instead an award of $6.6 million, including $6.3 million under the Trademark Act and $300,000 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
AIA Post Issuance Proceedings – Patent Owner Challenges Standing of United States Entities to Bring PGR Review of CBM Patent
The United States Court of Federal Claims recently deferred decision on whether to stay a litigation brought in 2011 by a patent owner against the United States. In the case, captioned Return Mail, Inc. v. United States, patent owner Return Mail seeks compensation under 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a) for what it alleges to be use and manufacture by or for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) of its patent related to methods and systems for providing address change services. The government’s stay motion in the Return Mail litigation was filed on the same day that it filed a petition with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for post-grant review (PGR) of the patent-in-suit, which it claims is a covered business method (CBM) patent under the America Invents Act. The government’s petition and related stay motion come more than three years into the litigation.
Some courts, whether by local patent rule or by individual order, are restricting the number of patent claim terms they are willing to construe. For example, the Northern District of California’s Local Patent Rule 4-1(b) directs parties to “jointly identify the 10 terms likely to be most significant to resolving the parties’ dispute, including those terms for which construction may be case or claim dispositive.” Other courts, such as the District of Massachusetts, have memorialized a suggestion that “no more than ten (10) terms per patent be identified as requiring construction.” See Appendix to D. Mass. Local Rule 16.6, section (B)(4)(d).