Sunday, January 2, 2011

Northern California Judges Rule in Patent Cases

Several Northern California Judges have recently ruled in patent cases among them:

In re Google Lit. is a patent infringement lawsuit where Daniel Egger (through his company Software Rights Archive, LLC) claims that Google, Yahoo and AOL are infringing his search engine technology patents.  Google moved to dismiss the action for lack of standing, stating that Egger assigned the patents Software Rights Archive (SRA) who then entered into a binding letter of intent with Altitude Capital Partners giving the latter rights to enforce the patent.  It is Altitude, Google argues, that should be the plaintiff in the action and not SRA.  Judge Ronald M. Whyte disagreed:
In this case, the interpretation of the Membership Interest Purchase Agreement that gives meaning to both Section 5.4 and Section 6.15 is that Section 5.4 transferred only the control that Egger and his holding company had as the parent company of Software Rights Archive, LLC to SRA LLC, and did not divest Software Rights Archive, LLC of any of the rights attached to its patents.
He denied the motion to dismiss.

Conceptus v. Hologic is a patent infringement lawsuit involving a contraception device that fits in the fallopian tube.  Conceptus has moved for partial summary judgment on the eve of trial to limit some of the issues for the jury.  Conceptus markets only one product - Essure, a permanent contraceptive product.  Hologic sells the Adiana contraceptive system which is the accused infringing product in the present case.  The dispute is boiled down to when the Adina matrix (which is the part immediately adjacent to the fallopian tube) becomes affixed.  As Judge William H. Alsup explained this is an issue for the jury.
The crux of the argument is on the facts, and the question of whether the Adiana procedure satisfies the requirements of the asserted method claims is a fact issue for the jury to decide. Specifically, the question of when the Adiana matrix becomes “permanently affixed” isone on which reasonable jurors could disagree. By way of simple analogy, if one were topermanently affix two foot-long steel bars to each other by welding them together lengthwise, reasonable jurors could disagree as to how much of the foot-long weld joint must be completedbefore the bars are permanently affixed. So too here; reasonable jurors could disagree as to howmuch (if any) tissue ingrowth must take place before the Adiana matrix is permanently affixed within the fallopian tube. Because the parties disagree as to this question of medical fact, both summary judgment motions fail, and the question of direct infringement of method claims 37 and 38 will go to the jury.
He denied the cross motions for summary judgment.

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