December 2019

No Attorney Fees for § 101 Dismissal: Data Scape Ltd. v. Spotify USA Inc.

Despite a refiled case and a subsequent dismissal for ineligible subject matter, plaintiff Data Scape escaped paying attorney fees to defendant Spotify in a recent decision from the Central District of California.  Data Scape Limited v. Spotify USA Inc. et al., No. CV 19-4367 PSG (SKx) (C.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2019). Data Scape is apparently a patent assertion entity, and Spotify is a well-known music streaming service. Spotify successfully convinced the district court to dismiss Data Scape’s claim for patent infringement, and then Spotify filed a motion for sanctions, the subject of this decision. Because Spotify’s motion is based on Data Scape’s litigation conduct, the timeline of events is important. The dispute began with Data Scape filing an earlier suit for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,712,614; 9,380,112; 7,720,929; and 7,617,537, all in the same family. Spotify moved to dismiss the suit under § 101 for ineligible subject matter. Instead of filing a response, Data Scape filed an amended complaint. Spotify followed up with another motion to dismiss on much the same grounds. Three days before a response was due, a different judge in the same district dismissed a case filed by Data Scape against a different defendant, Western Digital,… Read More »No Attorney Fees for § 101 Dismissal: Data Scape Ltd. v. Spotify USA Inc.

Federal Circuit Upholds Noninfringement Because of Claim Construction of “Extruded Parison”: Plastic Omnium v. Donghee America

The Federal Circuit recently upheld a summary judgment of noninfringement based on an undisputed claim construction in Plastic Omnium v. Donghee America. The dispute centered on manufacturing plastic fuel tanks by blow molding. Plastic Omnium is a French automotive supplier specializing in plastics. Donghee America is also an automotive supplier that makes plastic parts for Hyundai and Kia. Plastic Omnium accused Donghee’s manufacturing process of infringing its patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,814,921 and 6,866,812. Donghee’s manufacturing process begins by forcing plastic into a coextrusion head, which extrudes molten plastic with a circular cross-section. Donghee’s product literature labels the plastic at this point a “parison.” The coextrusion head is directly connected to a “flat die” into which the “parison” feeds. Inside the flat die, the plastic is cut and flattened, and the plastic exits the flat die as two flat sheets. Here is a representative claim that Plastic Omnium accused this process of infringing: 1. A process for manufacturing plastic hollow bodies from two shells formed by molding, which are joined together, at least one shell being produced by compression-molding a portion of a plastic sheet between a mold and a punch and by the remaining portion of the sheet being… Read More »Federal Circuit Upholds Noninfringement Because of Claim Construction of “Extruded Parison”: Plastic Omnium v. Donghee America

Patent Claims to Virtual Smartphone for Automobile Fail Alice Test: KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc.

Claims directed to a virtual smartphone that could be displayed on a vehicle touchscreen are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test, held the court in KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc. The court thus granted the defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 9,671,955 recites: A virtual smart phone, comprising: a screen mounted in an automobile; a processor, a non-transitory memory, and a power port mounted in the automobile; a software application executing on the processor to control image display on the screen and emulate features of a handheld device; a visual representation of a plurality of features of the handheld device on the screen; and an interactive element, wherein the interactive element allows access to the plurality of features of the handheld device, wherein the plurality of features of the handheld device comprises volume control, messages, phone call, email, internet browser, music player, calendar, Global Positioning System, contacts, and maps. Claim 3, the other independent claim of the ’955 patent, is a method claim of similar scope. The court did not find these claims challenging to analyze; the first sentence of the court’s discussion summarized its finding under… Read More »Patent Claims to Virtual Smartphone for Automobile Fail Alice Test: KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc.

Patent Claims Survive Alice Challenge Despite Being Directed to an Abstract Idea: Cellwitch, Inc. v. Tile, Inc.

Patent claims directed to [a] “system for monitoring of location of items” have survived a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing that the claims were patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test. Cellwitch, Inc. v. Tile, Inc., (Case No. 4:19-cv-01315-JSW)(N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2019). If you are familiar with Tile – need help finding car keys, anyone? – then you know what the claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,872,655 were about. Indeed, the court found under part one of the Alice test that the claims were directed to the longstanding human practice, and abstract idea, of helping people find lost items. You can distill this abstract idea from claim 1 of the ’655 patent: A system for monitoring of location of items, comprising: a plurality of wireless devices, each of the plurality of wireless devices being associated with a monitored item; a plurality of wireless communication terminals, each of the plurality of wireless communication terminals being associated with a respective user and associated with at least one respective associated wireless device of the plurality of wireless devices and configured to monitor the proximity of the at least one respective associated wireless device… Read More »Patent Claims Survive Alice Challenge Despite Being Directed to an Abstract Idea: Cellwitch, Inc. v. Tile, Inc.

Factual Allegations Save Streaming Patents From Dismissal

The Central District of California upheld validity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 of several patents related to encryption and decryption of streaming video content, noting that the factual allegations in the complaint sufficed to survive the pleading stage. DivX, LLC. v. Netflix, Inc., CV 19-1602 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 4, 2019). Plaintiff asserted several patents, and while the discussion of each could be its own separate blog post, U.S. Patent No. 7,295,673 is most relevant. Claim 14 is representative, and recites, in part “decrypting selected portions of said encrypted frames using a frame decryption function in accordance with said frame decryption information, which identifies the specific portions of the frames to be decrypted and the applicable frame decryption key from the frame decryption information.” Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), claiming the patents are invalid under § 101 when applying the Alice test. While Defendants argued that such encryption and decryption is abstract and lacks a technological improvement, the Court rejected this position as “effectively permit[ting] Defendants to short-circuit a meaningful § 101 analysis.” The claim’s recitations of a specific type of data, here, video data within a sequence of frames, and the required frame decryption function show that… Read More »Factual Allegations Save Streaming Patents From Dismissal