We examine Huawei’s suits against Verizon, some more Apple patents, and dig into a possible treatment for Coronavirus in this month’s patent news, as well as an accidental innovation in the healthcare industry.
Ford has introduced an idea to bring the entertainment with you in the car while projecting it outside. Some previously patented technology is back for another round, and a Federal Circuit case shows that courts are willing to show flexibility in interpreting the law as it relates to “substantial equivalents.”
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the many reasons that quality is more important than quantity, outlining various tactics corporations have used to plump their patent portfolios. The many ways that companies may have harmed their patent strategy through mass filings or purchases are varied—but it does beg the question: Is it ever a good thing to file applications for or acquire large numbers of patents?
Every once in a while, there’s a patent litigation case with the ability to redefine a whole company. This particular case, the grudge match between Qualcomm and Apple, might be such a case. The two companies are engaged in a chess-like battle, where each attempts a strategic move and then waits to see what the counter-attack will be. For those interested in intellectual property, it’s a fascinating game to watch.
On July 25, 2014, Bose Corporation filed a patent infringement suit against Beats Electronics, which is in the process of being acquired by Apple for $3 billion.
Let’s take a look at the complaint and what ammunition each side has in its patent portfolio.
Bose alleges that Beats “Studio®” and “Studio® Wireless” brands active noise reduction headphones infringe Bose patented noise cancellation technology. In the complaint Bose states “For almost 50 years, Bose has made significant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design of proprietary technologies now implemented in its products, such as noise cancelling headphones. Bose’s current line of noise cancelling headphones, for example, embodies inventions protected by at least 36 U.S. patents and applications (22 patents and 14 pending applications) ….. Bose’s latest noise cancelling headphones model, the QC20, is protected by at least 27 U.S. patents and applications (14 patents and 13 pending applications)”. In the complaint Bose asserts that Beat is infringing the following U.S. patents (the “Asserted Patents”):
As reported by Robin Wauters in TechCrunch, Intellectual Ventures has filed suit against over a dozen companies, for patent infringement. The lawsuit was filed on July 11, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state. Lawrence D. Graham of Black Lowe & Graham and Elliot Brown of Irell & Manella, LLP are listed as counsel for Intellectual Ventures.
Intellectual Ventures brought suit against the following companies: Hynix Semiconductor Inc.; Hynix Semiconductor America Inc.; Elpida Memory, Inc.; Elpida Memory (USA) Inc.; Acer, Inc.; Acer America Corp.; Adata Technology Co., Ltd.; Adata Technology (U.S.A.) Co., Ltd.; Asustek Computer Inc.; Asus Computer International Inc.; Dell, Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Company; Kingston Technology Co., Inc.; Logitech International S.A.; Logitech, Inc.; Pantech Co., Ltd.; Pantech Wireless, Inc.; Best Buy Co., Inc.; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
According to a Dolby press release "...RIM infringes Dolby patents covering highly efficient digital audio compression technologies which allow manufacturers and consumers to provide and enjoy high quality audio while using extremely limited amounts of transmission and/or storage space for such audio. RIM employs Dolby’s patented technologies in its Blackberry smart phones and Playbook tablet devices, without having obtained licenses from Dolby ....[a]ll other major smart phone makers have agreed to license the Dolby technologies which are the subject of this litigation." The lawsuit was filed on June 14, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is counsel for Dolby
The Wall Street Journal reported on December 13, 2010 that U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle dismissed Paul Allen's patent lawsuit against many of the leading companies in Silicon Valley including Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo. Judge Pechman dismissed the complaint for not describing its allegations specifically enough. Paul Allen has until December 28 to amend the complaint.
A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the recent multi-year increase in patent infringement lawsuits and corporate risk. Although this trend is most prevalent in the high-technology sector, economic and strategic realities are forcing corporate and outside counsel to find new methods to control the time and expense allocated to patent risk management.