Friday, October 15, 2010

Northern California Judges Rule in Patent Cases

This is an image from Fortinet's firewall patent.
Image Courtesy USPTO.
This blog has previously covered the patent infringement suit in Fortinet v. Palo Alto Networks. Fortinet filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to declare it was not infringing on Palo Alto's patent for a computer firewall.  Judge Ronald Whyte explained that the patent describes a method of filtering information where the method determines what the packet is not and then tries to figure out what the packet is by eliminating possibilities.  It's not clear what Fortinet's system does since the Court redacted that part of the opinion, but it found that it did not infringe the patent.  Judge Whyte again granted partial summary judgment on that count.

This is a drawing from MShift's mobile banking patent.  Image Courtesy USPTO.
In MShift v. Digitial Insight Corp the plaintiffs had a patent on a mobile banking system which it alleged the defendants infringed upon.  MShift and Digital Insight were partners for mobile banking systems before their relationship went sour and Digital Insight partnered with MMV, another company.  MShift sued Digital and its customers alleging patent infringement.  According to court documents, the patent contains a method that allows mobile devices to communicate with a network even though both may utilize different programming languages.  The Conversion Engine, shown to the right, acts as a translator.  According to Judge William Alsup, in order to translate from the mobile device to the network site, both entities need to use different languages, otherwise a conversion is unnecessary.  Here, Digital Insight argues that it is using the same output language on the mobile device as is found on the network site.  Since this process does not contain the limitation found in the patent there is no infringement.  Judge Alsup granted summary judgment for Digital Insight.

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