Our Latest Industry Insights

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Decision for Broadcast Television Industry: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc.

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al., v. Aereo, Inc. The case involves a lawsuit brought by ABC and other television producers, marketers, distributors, and broadcasters (collectively, “ABC”) against Aereo, a company that offers broadcast television programming to subscribers via the Internet for a monthly fee.

High Court Says Computerized Abstract Ideas Not Patent Eligible

In its highly anticipated decision in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that an abstract idea is not patentable simply because it is implemented on a computer.

Plaintiffs Get “Caught Up” in Dismissal of Copyright Lawsuit

These are his "Confessions!" Usher has emerged victorious in a copyright lawsuit involving the song "Caught Up." In Edwards et al. v. Raymond et al., Plaintiffs Zacharia Edwards, Mitch Moses, and Vince McClean alleged that Usher Raymond, more commonly known by the moniker, "Usher," stole the song "Caught Up" from Plaintiffs' own compositions and included it on Usher's award-winning album, "Confessions." Plaintiffs also alleged that representatives from Arista Records LLC intimidated Plaintiffs into keeping quiet about the alleged theft by threatening to harm Plaintiffs' standing in the music industry if they spoke up. Plaintiffs filed suit in November 2013; and Usher and his co-defendants responded with a motion to dismiss.

Nintendo Latest Victory Against NPE

On May 19, 2014 a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted a joint motion to dismiss Wall Wireless' patent lawsuit against Nintendo filed in February of 2009, which implicated the Nintendo DS and DSi systems (link to Complaint). The Court had stayed the case (Case No. 6:2009-cv-00064) pending the outcome of an inter partes re-examination, filed by Nintendo, of the 6,640,086 Patent-in-suit titled "method and apparatus for creating and distributing real-time interactive media content through wireless communication networks and the Internet." The dismissal comes after most of the claims of the patent were cancelled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December of last year. The Japanese Patent Office has also confirmed that Nintendo does not infringe Wall's Japanese patents. According to the suit, players can use the handheld devices to play real-time games accessed through Nintendo's websites.

Will Heightened Pleading Standards Curb Patent Litigation Abuse?

One of the solutions proposed to curb perceived patent litigation abuse is to heighten the pleading standards. The idea being that higher pleading standards would enable defendants to seek early dismissal of complaints at the pleading stage. The assumption being that these types of patent plaintiffs cannot meet heightened pleading standards. But how effective would this really be?

The Supreme Court Gave District Courts more Power to Award Attorney’s Fees in Patent Litigation

In two related decisions, the Supreme Court relaxed the standard to award attorney’s fees under Section 285 of the Patent Act (“§285”) and ruled that decisions on §285 are entitled to deference on appeal. In the first case, the Court found that the Federal Circuit’s test for §285, as described in Brooks Furniture Mfg., Inc. v. Dutailier Int'l, Inc., 393 F.3d 1378, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2005), is “unduly rigid” and inconsistent with the statutory language. Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., 12-1184, Slip Op. at 7 (2014). The Court reasoned that the only constraint imposed by the text of §285 on a district court’s discretion to award attorney’s fees is that the case must be exceptional. Id. According to its ordinary meaning, the Court held, “an ‘exceptional’ case is simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party’s litigating position . . . or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated.”[1] Id. at 7-8. Further, district courts should consider the totality of the circumstances and make a case-by-case determination on §285 questions. Id. at 8. Finally, the Court held that the evidentiary burden for §285 is a preponderance of the evidence, not clear and convincing evidence as required by the Federal Circuit. Id. at 11.

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Potential Plaintiffs in Lanham Act False Advertising Claims – No Longer Limited to Actual Competitors

One of the several claims available to plaintiffs under the Lanham Act is a claim for “false advertising.” Section 1125(a)(1)(B) of the Lanham Act states that:(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—

SimpleAir Wins a $85 Million Jury Verdict Against Google

A Texas jury has awarded SimpleAir, Inc. $85 million from Google for infringing the company’s patent generally relating to transmitting Internet-based data to computers and mobile devices. Google’s accused services included Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM), which are used by Google to process and send notifications to handheld devices that run on Google’s Android operating system.