Articles Tagged with infringement

Apple must pay more than $368 million in damages to VirnetX Inc. according to a jury verdict returned in federal court yesterday (see it below). The same day the verdict was reached, VirnetX and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) filed a new patent lawsuit against Apple.

In 2010, VirnetX said that its patent portfolio was “derived from a Central Intelligence Agency security project”

The four (4) patents in this litigation reportedly stem from technology for secure communications developed for the CIA by SAIC.

Each of the following four U.S. patents are related to patent Application No. 09/504,783, an ancestor application for every patent-in-suit :

  • Patent No. 6,502,135 – Agile network protocol for secure communications with assured system availability
  • 7,418,504 – Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names
  • 7,921,211 – Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names
  • 7,490,151 – Establishment of a secure communication link based on a domain name service (DNS) request

A jury trial was conducted over five (5) days starting on Halloween last week, and concluding yesterday, Tuesday November 6, 2012. Surprisingly, the jury returned a $368 million verdict for the VirnetX, Inc. against Apple the same day that they began deliberating:

Somehow, they were able to plow through 29 pages of jury instructions, deliberate, and also decide the amount of damages that they wished to award plaintiff.

Do you believe that a jury can process the technical information entered into evidence at this patent trial, deliberate, and return a verdict, after just five days, and award nearly $400 million in damages in less than a single day? It seems unlikely.

VirnetX accused four companies of patent infringement in the lawsuit that it reached a verdict against the Cupertino company yesterday: Apple, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Avaya, Inc., and German-based Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH. The claims against Apple were the first to be tried. According to a notice entered on the case docket on September 24, 2012, the claims against the remaining three defendants are scheduled for trial in March 2013 before U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis.

What is even more surprising is that VirnetX and SAIC filed a new patent infringement lawsuit against Apple on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 — the exact same day that the jury reached its verdict and awarded the company more than $368 million in damages.

The new lawsuit filed yesterday accuses Apple of violating the exact same for patents named in the earlier lawsuit, claiming that infringement by “Apple’s servers and other Apple computers that support the VPN On Demand functionality,” in addition to patent claims over Apple’s Facetime and iMessage functions. In addition to Apple servers and computers, the new lawsuit also alleges patent infringement via its Mountain Lion operating system, and Apple’s newest generation of mobile devices, including the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4th Generation, and iPad Mini.

Read the jury’s $368 million dollar verdict (below), and browse the case docket.
Verdict Form (VirnetX, Inc. v. Apple, Inc.)

Image credits: tlegend via Shutterstock (top); Jury verdict in VirnetX, Inc. v. Apple, Inc. (center)

After three years, language-learning software company Rosetta Stone settled its trademark lawsuit against Google over the company’s Adwords advertising program. (read the settlement below).

The litigation rollercoastered during that time. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Google’s motion to dismiss Rosetta Stone’s lawsuit on August 2, 2010, and the Rosetta Stone appealed the dismissal. In April 2012, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reinstated three (3) Rosetta Stone claims for direct infringement, contributory infringement, and trademark dilution.

Unfortunately, here is why the undisclosed terms of their settlement agreement won’t give any more insight into preventing online advertising trademark litigation in the future.

Eric Goldman’s April 2012 critique of the Fourth Circuit’s opinion provides an excellent roadmap to unresolved legal issues in trademark disputes over online advertising. Since the Fourth Circuit’s reasoning in Rosetta Stone just muddled some of theses issues even more, their clarification and resolution will have to wait for another day in court.

First, Goldman argues, Google shouldn’t be held liable for direct trademark infringement for conduct of advertisers using keywords in Adwords ads. Assuming that consumers even get confused upon viewing an ad, he posits, it’s the fault of the advertisers themselves. “Google is at most secondarily liable for that,” he reasons. The appellate court doesn’t even discuss this possibility. Nor does it clearly address the meaning of “trademark use in commerce,” Goldman argues.

Second, the appeals court came up with its own definition of contributory infringement, and concluded that “the evidence was sufficient” for a jury to find contributory negligence, and remanded the case back to the District Court to determine if that was the case. But, in my opinion, that didn’t appear justified. The District Court found that:

“[t]here is little Google can do beyond expressly prohibiting advertisements for counterfeit goods, taking down those advertisements when it learns of their existence, and creating a team dedicated to fighting advertisements for counterfeit goods.”

Honestly, what else can an online advertising service do?

Finally, as to trademark dilution, Goldman maintains that “[c]haracterizing keyword ad sales as dilution is unprecedented and virtually unsupportable doctrinally. [The Fourth Circuit] opinion doesn’t address that.”

Online advertising isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Nor will online trademark infringement lawsuits over the ads. Facebook and online agency adSage were hit with a similar trademark lawsuit several weeks ago. The murkiness continues.

Stipulation and Order of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudicie (Rosetta Stone, Inc. v. Google, Inc.)

Image credit: 3dsguru via iStockphoto

Apple was hit with a patent infringement lawsuit (read it below) over Siri, the Cupertino, California company’s computer voice search-and-speak technology inside newer iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. The twist in this case, however, is that patent holder Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute isn’t the one suing.

Instead, the plaintiff is Dynamic Advances, LLC, a Tyler, Texas-based company created last year by patent monetizer Erich Spangenberg. The LLC’s members and officers include the Spangenberg Family Foundation and Techdev Holdings.

Spangenberg is known for his sue first, ask questions later approach to patent litigation.

A lawsuit filed Friday in a New York federal court confirms that Dynamic Advances, LLC is a non-practicing entity (NPE) allegedly holding an exclusive license to sue, enforce, and monetize Rennselaer’s patent portfolio:

Dynamic Advances facilitates Rennselaer’s goal of commercializing its patented inventions to the benefit of the general public, and to further Rennselaer’s mission to apply science to the common purposes of life.

Pleadings in the case docket do not currently include a copy of any alleged exclusive patent license agreement between Rennselaer and Dynamic Advances.

The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7,177,798 for a “Natural language interface using constrained intermediate dictionary of results.” The USPTO awarded the patent in 2007. Continue reading →

Yesterday, a Northern California jury announced their verdict in one of the most highly anticipated decisions of the high technology era: Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for patent infringement.

In that case, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., both companies alleged numerous patent infringements by the other company. The jury’s verdict clearly indicates that it believed Samsung, not Apple, was the in the wrong here. So what happens next? Continue reading →

Jerald Bovino, the holder of a U.S. Patent (No. 6,977,809) for a portable computer case made of ‘resilient material’ designed with ‘ribs,’ is suing Apple and Target, claiming that Apple’s manufacture and sale of iPad and iPad 2 cases (inset, right), and Target’s sale of the iPad Smart Cover, infringe his 2005 patent.
Continue reading →