Friday, October 22, 2010

Northern California Judges Rule in Patent Cases

Drawing from Patent No. 5,400,338
Image Courtesy of Google Patents
Drawing from Patent No. 6,480,497
Image Courtesy of Google Patents
Several judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California have ruled in patent cases.

Wiav Networks v. 3com Corp is a patent infringement case involving the two patents shown to the right which have claims that cover the wireless moving of data packets and a more efficient method of doing the same thing.  Wiav Networks alleges that this is IEEE 802.11 wireless protocol. So, anyone who manufactures a laptop with WiFi infringes the patent.  In an interesting legal maneuver, instead of suing each defendant individually for their own acts, Wiave Networks has sued 68 different companies, basically anyone who makes a product that dispenses or uses WiFi.  The defendants moved to dismiss for misjoinder stating that under the Federal Circuit's decision in Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc. compliance with standards does not necessarily infringe a patent particularly when the standard has a number of options, not all of which infringe the patent.  Judge William H. Alsup stated that Wiav Networks failed to demonstrate how the defendants were "logically connected" and dismissed all of the defendants except Hewitt Packard.

Gonzales v. Palo Alto Labs is a 35 U.S.C. Section 292 action that imposes liability upon those who claim a product is patented when, in fact, it isn't.  Mr. Gonzales claims that Palo Alto Labs advertises Paravol is a patented sexual enhancement drug when it isn't.  Palo Alto Labs did not respond to the complaint or subsequent motion for default judgment.  Magistrate Maria Elena James sent a series of inquiries to Mr. Gonzales about where he lived.  Learning it was Los Angeles, she transferred the case to the Central District of California as the appropriate venue.

C&C Jewelery Manufacturing v. West is a patent infringement suit where the inventor is sued in an action seeking a declaratory judgment of invalidity or non-infringement of Mr. West's patents.  Mr. West owns a number of patents which cover jewelery and methods of making jewelery.  The current order covers a discovery dispute where C&C wanted all license agreements that covered the listed patents.  Mr. West turned them over with redactions stating they were either irrelevant or attorney work product, now C&C moves to obtain the unredacted licenses.  Magistrate Harold R. Lloyd found that the material was relevant because it could be used to calculate a royalty and that Mr. West failed to show work product doctrine applied.  Judge Lloyd granted the motion to compel.

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