Facial Recognition Patent Infringement Claim Lodged Against Toshiba

By Joseph Mandour on July 9, 2013

face-150x150 California – Technology company CeeColor Industries, LLC filed a complaint on July 2nd against Toshiba America, Inc. in Delaware Federal Court, alleging patent infringement.

At issue is technology for facial recognition software, which CeeColor Industries claims it holds exclusive patent rights over. The Delaware-based limited liability company is accusing Toshiba of manufacturing products using this software, which it claims is an infringement of CeeColor’s patent protection.

CeeColor alleges that Toshiba, a Delaware Corporation, violated its patent for software that triggers a device’s webcam to take regular photos to determine if the user is within close proximity. If the user is determined to be at the computer, the system activates the computer with no effort required of the user and then disables controls once the user leaves.

This technology was installed on Toshiba’s Qosmio line of laptops, which was first introduced in 2010. Toshiba’s facial recognition technology was seen as an innovative way to protect the privacy of the user and the security of the device.

CeeColor claims that Toshiba’s use of the technology is an intentional, direct violation of its patents without its permission. The complaint alleges that this patent violation has done irreparable harm to CeeColor and the company is seeking judgment against Toshiba.

The patents named in the lawsuit are both titled “Security system with proximity sensing for an electronic device.” The first, U.S. Patent Number 6,002,427, was registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late 1999 and the other, which followed in May 2003, is U.S. Patent Number 6,570,610.

CeeColor has worked to defend its patent rigorously. It previously filed claims against other technology companies for infringement of the same patents. Lawsuits are currently pending in Delaware Federal Court against Sensible Vision, Inc. and Citizen Watch Co. of America, LLC.

The complaint filed by CeeColor demands monetary damages for the alleged infringement as well as attorneys’ fees and costs associated with trial. It also requests a trial by jury.

... Read the rest

Technology Company Accuses Dell, HP of Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on July 3, 2013

monitor-150x150 San Diego – Innovative Display Technologies, Inc. lodged a lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas Friday against technology giants Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell, Inc., among others.

Innovative Display Technologies, based in Plano, Texas, alleges that the use of its invention has allowed these companies to create brighter, sleeker, and more energy efficient screens for computers and cell phones.  The defendants named in the lawsuit, along with Dell and HP, are Blackberry, Inc., Acer, Inc., Huawei Investment & Holding Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp.

The lawsuit alleges that these technology giants knowingly utilized the technological invention patented by Innovative Display Technologies to create thinner and brighter screens for a variety of different applications.  Innovative Display Technologies alleges that the patents have been infringed in use on computers, laptops, cell phones, tablets, printers, and calculators.  The complaint also alleges further infringement on the patents by third-parties involved in manufacturing, selling, and advertising the infringing products.

The 7 patents that were allegedly violated are all titled “Light Emitting Panel Assemblies” and were issued between 2004 and 2012.  The patents named in the lawsuit are U.S. patent numbers 6,755,547; 7,300,194; 7,384,177; 7,404,660; 7,434,974; 7,537,370; and 8,215,816.

The patents are held by Ohio native Jeffrey Parker, who is named as the inventor on 85 patents in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were informed in August 2012 that the technology for sleeker displays on computers and cell phones was held by Innovative Display Technologies and all use of the technology should cease.  By continuing to sell the infringing products, Innovative Display Technologies alleges that violation of the patents by these companies is now willful.

Innovative Display Technologies claims that the willful infringement of its patents entitles the company to triple damages, as well as interest and attorneys fees.  The company is also seeking an injunction barring the defendants from both direct and indirect infringement of the patents at stake.

... Read the rest

Home Valuation Services Face Off Over Fight for Patent

By Joseph Mandour on June 24, 2013

Los Angeles PatentsOrange County – Rival home appraisal companies Zillow Inc. and Trulia Inc. have continued their bitter feud in federal court in Washington’s Western District.  Most recently, Trulia petitioned on June 17th to have the court invalidate Zillow’s patent for its home valuation program while Zillow continues to claim patent infringement against Trulia.

Zillow originally brought lawsuit against Trulia for patent infringement in 2012, claiming that San Francisco-based Trulia’s home appraisal program was too similar to Zillow’s own program.  Trulia then countered, arguing that Zillow’s case should be dismissed because the home valuation service it patented is an abstract idea and therefore not eligible for patent protection.

The patent at issue in this case is for Zillow’s online home valuation program, U.S. Patent Number 7,970,674 B2, described as a program for “Automatically determining a current value for a real estate property, such as a home, that is tailored to input from a human user, such as its owner.”  This process is utilized for Zillow’s service, Zestimate, in which users enter information about a property and Zillow generates an estimate of the property’s worth.

U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart deferred ruling on the case in April until a similar case was decided by the Federal Circuit court on a patent held by CLS Bank.  The Circuit court ruled in May that CLS Bank’s computer platform for reducing risk in financial trading was simply an abstract idea, and therefore not eligible for a patent.

The court found that an eligible patent needs to be able to tie an abstract idea to a specific way of performing that operation on a computer.  Simply performing the task on a computer is not sufficient to garner patent protection, according to the court.  Trulia argues that the patent held by Zillow does not pass this threshold, as these computations could be performed with paper and pencil and do not require a computer.

Trulia argues that the case brought by Zillow should be dropped on the same grounds as the CLS Bank case.  The company claims that allowing Zillow’s patent to stand would monopolize use of  the abstract i... Read the rest

Natural Genes Not Patentable, Says Supreme Court

By Joseph Mandour on June 20, 2013

Patent Litigation California Los Angeles –  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a landmark case Thursday that natural human genes cannot be patented.  The case, Association for Medical Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, was originally brought in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2010, but made its way through appeals to the nation’s top court.

The ruling came in a contentious battle over two genes that were identified as markers for increased risk of breast cancer and patented by biological research company Myriad Genetics.  Myriad Genetics held a patent for both the natural form of the gene isolated from the rest of the genome, and also the synthetic version of the gene, known as cDNA.  The justices ruled that while Myriad Genetics could continue to patent synthetic versions of the genes they isolate, patents for naturally occurring genes in the body could not be enforced.

This decision by the Justices has broad implications, as more than 20 percent of the human genome has been patented in the last 30 years.  This decision has helped to update the parameters for determining what is eligible for patent protection in the advanced field of biotechnology where there is an increasingly fine line between what is natural or synthetic.

This fight over gene patents was particularly contentious because Myriad Genetics’ patent meant that no other companies could pursue research on these genes.  From its research into the genes, Myriad has developed two tests to identify potential abnormalities of these genes that could lead to cancer.  The company’s patent meant that no other companies could develop tests of their own.

Myriad Genetics’ two tests consist of one basic test, BRAC, that is widely available and BART, a more advanced test that can cost thousands of dollars.  Plaintiffs in the case alleged that this second, more advanced test was only available if the patient had a strong history of cancer, or had the ability to pay for the test out of pocket.

Actress Angelina Jolie recently spoke out about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy after the results of her BART test showed that she was genetically disposed to breast cancer.  Advocates argue that this test should be more widely available so that ... Read the rest

Jury Rules No Gift Card Patent Infringement by Barnes & Noble

By Joseph Mandour on June 13, 2013

bible-thumb-200x150-43265 California – Barnes & Noble Inc. scored a big win in federal court June 7th when a jury found that it did not infringe on gift card technology developed by Alexsam Inc. This is first of many upcoming trials related to claims of patent infringement brought by Alexsam against other large retailers.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, alleged that Barnes & Noble developed technology for gift card activation that had already been patented by Alexsam in U.S. Patent Nos. 6,000,608 and 6,189,787. Alexsam sought $72 million in damages from Barnes & Noble for the infringement.

First brought in 2010, this lawsuit originally named seven major retailers as defendants. In January, a judge ruled that the cases against each defendant should be pursued individually. Companies named in the lawsuit include Best Buy Co. Inc., Toys R Us Inc., The Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Home Depot USA Inc., and McDonald’s Corp.

The jury in this case sided with Barnes & Noble, agreeing that the gift card activation technology developed by the major bookseller was substantively different than that invented by Alexsam, and that there was no patent infringement.

However, the court’s decision was not as sweeping as the major retailer defendants would have liked. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Schneider rejected the argument brought by all of the defendants collectively that the patents held by Alexsam should be deemed unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. Defendants argued that Alexsam lied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010 when its patent was under review by not disclosing previous inventions that predated Alexsam’s creation. Judge Schneider was unconvinced, denying the claim based on lack of convincing evidence.

Barnes & Noble’s case was the first of the lawsuits brought by Alexsam to reach trial. This judgment marks the first victory amongst the companies facing patent infringement claims. The next case set to see trial is against The Gap, scheduled to start June 24. Best Buy struck a settlement deal with Alexsam in May.

Alexsam has previously had success in defending its patents for gift card technology. In May, it won a v... Read the rest

TiVo Maintains Dominance in Patent Lawsuits over Digital Video Recorders

By Joseph Mandour on

tv_remote_control-150x150 San Diego – On the brink of trial, TiVo Inc. reached a massive settlement agreement with Motorola Mobility Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc. to end the patent infringement disputes brought by all sides.

The $490 million settlement will bring to a close multiple cases in which TiVo claimed that its competitors infringed on its patents for set-top cable boxes.  Both brought in U.S. District Court in Texas’ Eastern District, these cases are just a few of the many patent infringement cases TiVo has brought against its competitors in recent years.  Based in Alviso, Calif., TiVo was the first major company to patent a device that digitally records live television and it has defended its patents aggressively since then.

In the case between TiVo and Motorola, Illinois-based Motorola first brought a lawsuit against TiVo in California court, alleging infringement on its U.S. Patent Numbers 5,949,948, 6,304,714, and 6,356,708.  TiVo disagreed and filed its own patent infringement counterclaims in Texas, citing its U.S. Patents numbered 7,493,015 and 6,792,195.  This settlement came just in time, as trial was set to start on June 10th.

As part of the settlement reached Friday, Motorola’s share of its dues to TiVo will be split between former owner Google and its new owner Arris Group, Inc.  Google bought Motorola in 2012, but then sold off the Motorola Home subsidiary, the manufacturers of the set-top boxes at fault, to Arris.  Both Google and Arris will pay licensing fees as terms of the agreement.

TiVo’s battle against Cisco took a similar trajectory, with Cisco attempting to invalidate TiVo’s patents, and TiVo firing back in Texas federal court with a patent infringement lawsuit of its own.  The digital recording giant accused Cisco and Time Warner of violating its patents ‘015 and ‘195, just as it did in its case against Motorola.

This continues a successful string of patent infringement cases for TiVo, which has collected $1.6 billion in patent litigation settlements.  The company had previously been awarded $250 million from lawsuits against Verizon Communications Inc. and $215 million from AT&T Inc.

... Read the rest

Groupon, Yelp Sued for Patent Infringement in Electronic Couponing Wars

By Joseph Mandour on June 4, 2013

LA Patent InfringmentOrange County – The decision as to who the front runner is in the area of coupons delivered via electronic means may be decided in a U.S. District Court in eastern Texas.  With the registration of its newest patent, Blue Calypso Inc. believes it has the upper hand in the area of web-based couponing.  That’s why it recently filed another round of patent complaints naming Yelp, Groupon, Foursquare, MyLikes Inc. and Izea Inc.

The first group of lawsuits were filed in early May and alleged infringement of a separate patent, Reg. No. 8,438,055 which issued May 7, 2013, for “distribution of advertisements between communication devices” relating to photographic displays directed at subscribers from advertisers.

With the issuance of the new patent on May 28, 2013, Patent No. 8,452,646, for a “System and method for providing endorsed electronic offers between communication devices,” Blue Calypso believes it has even more leverage to go after its competitors.

Blue Calypso, formerly JJ&R Ventures, Inc., is headquartered in Carrollton, Texas.  It is in the business of collaborating with companies and advertisers to develop ad campaigns directed to consumers using “word-of-mouth, social media communities, mobile technologies and customer loyalty rewards.”  Its plan is to provide reward incentives to consumers by encouraging them to tell friends and family about a product or service through one of the various social media podiums.

Blue Calypso alleges that by using screen shots on smartphone apps, Yelp, for one, infringes one or more claims of the newest patent.  Blue Calypso, alleges in the complaint that it “will suffer further irreparable injury, for which it has no adequate remedy at law,” if Yelp and other defendants are not prevented from infringing on the new patent.

Each separate lawsuit charges each of the named companies with infringement of Blue Calypso’s patented technology through the operation of mobile services, and seeks an injunction as well as damages.

In addition to the recent litigation, Blue Calypso also has pending patent infringement lawsuits against Yelp and Izea from 2012, with a claim construction hearing co... Read the rest

Loss for Keurig in Coffee Pod Patent Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on

coffee_beans-150x150 Los Angeles – Keurig, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation well known for its single-serve coffee makers and cartridges, was dealt a blow in Massachusetts federal court Friday when its patent infringement lawsuit against Rogers Family Company was dismissed.  The dispute was over patents held by Keurig for its single-serve coffee cartridges, which the company claimed Rogers copied.

Rogers Family Company, a San Francisco-based LLC, designed a single-serving coffee cartridge for use in Keurig brand coffee making machines.  Rogers has been selling its OneCup line of coffee pods under its San Francisco Bay brand since Fall 2011.

The lawsuit, filed in November 2011, claimed that Rogers’ coffee cartridge infringed on three of Keurig’s patents, one for design and two utility patents related to methods.

U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV made an unfavorable ruling against Keurig on the case brought against JBR, Inc., the holding company for Rogers Family Co.  With respect to the design patent, he reasoned that the coffee cartridges were different enough that they did not rise to the level of infringement.  He further found that the method patents could no longer be enforced.

Keurig claimed in the lawsuit that Rogers’ pod was too similar to its protected design.  Keurig was issued its design patent, U.S. Patent Number D502,362, in 2005 for “an ornamental design for a disposable coffee cartridge.”  Judge Saylor disagreed with Keurig’s argument, stating that the Rogers’ cartridges look different enough that an ordinary person could tell them apart and therefore that they did not violate Keurig’s patent.

The other issue raised in the lawsuit was Keurig’s claim that by designing a pod to use in Keurig coffee makers, Rogers violated the method patents held by Keurig. The method patents, U.S. Patent Numbers 7,165,488 and 7,347,138 both titled “Brew chamber for a single serve beverage brewer,” describe the process of inserting the Keurig cartridge into the coffee machine and operating it.  Keurig argued that its method patents should prevent other companies from designing a product for use in a Keurig brand coffee maker.

Judge Saylor flatly denied this claim, arguing that once Keurig beg... Read the rest

Proctor & Gamble Alleges Infringement of Whitestrips Patents

By Joseph Mandour on May 29, 2013

teeth-thumb-200x127-65993 California – CAO Group Inc., a company headquartered near Salt Lake City, Utah founded by Dr. Densen Cao, PhD was sued last week by Procter & Gamble Co., the well-known Ohio-based consumer goods conglomerate. Apart from dental products, CAO Group develops and manufactures a variety of different products like forensic lighting, diode lasers used in veterinary medicine, and billboard lighting.

P&G has taken issue with CAO Group’s dental products, accusing the company of infringing on its patented system of teeth whitening strips. The technology P&G hopes to protect is covered in 3 patents pertaining to its Crest Whitestrips brand.

According to the allegations in the complaint, filed in District Court in Ohio, CAO Group’s “Sheer Film” products such as “Sheer White!,” “Sheer DesenZ,” and “Sheer FluorZ” use the same method as Whitestrips in which a thin, moldable film containing an active additive is placed over the teeth, pressed against them and worn for some length of time to whiten and produce other effects of oral care. P&G is striving for an injunction to prevent infringement of its patents as well as damages, interest, and attorneys fees.

The U.S. patents in question are No. 7,122,199 entitled “Method for Whitening Teeth”, Patent No. 5,989,569 entitled “Delivery system for a tooth whitener using a permanently deformable strip of material”, and Patent No. 6,045,811 entitled “Delivery system for an oral care substance using a permanently deformable strip of material.” P&G believes CAO Group’s plastic films containing a carbamide peroxide solution infringe its patents by using the same application techniques. Further, P&G alleges CAO Group’s products encourage consumers to also infringe on its patents.

Procter & Gamble, which had nearly $84 billion in sales last year and placed fifth as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies, claims that over 2 billion people used Crest Whitestrips in 2011. P&G began in the 1880’s with the creation of “Ivory” soap, which became famous for being able to float in water.

P&G believes CAO Group’... Read the rest

Nintendo Scores Victory in Wii Controller Patent Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on May 17, 2013

game-controller-150x150 San Diego – Nintendo Co. Ltd. recently won a patent case against Motiva LLC when a panel of three judges rendered the decision that Nintendo’s Wii does not infringe on Motiva’s patents.  A Federal Circuit Court also rejected Motiva’s accusations that Nintendo had violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, a trade remedy enacted to prohibit unfair methods of competition and wrongdoing in the importation of products into the United States.
The two patents at issue were No. 7,292,151 and No. 7,492,268, both entitled “Human movement measurement system”.  The patents center around “testing and training a user to manipulate the position of the transponders while being guided by interactive and sensory feedback.”  The patents are related to a wireless hand control and motion based system for controlling video games.

The Nintendo Wii interactive home video game, released in November of 2006, uses a motion sensitive game system in which the player gets up and enacts the movement demonstrated onto a screen.

Motiva, a hardware and software company dedicated to video games, filed its first complaint, currently on hold, against Nintendo with the U.S. District Court in 2008.  Motiva then filed the case with the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2010 asserting the same claims but lost the case in January of 2012, which was then appealed.

In the Federal Circuit appeal of the case, Motiva tried to argue that it needed to pursue the litigation against Nintendo as a prerequisite to luring investors.  But the three judge panel comprised of Judges Pauline Newman, Sharon Prost and Kathleen O’Malley did not buy into this idea.  All unanimously believed Motiva was seeking financial gain in initiating the litigation as opposed to initiating a product launch using the patent.

In essence, Motiva failed to meet the requirements of Section 337 because under the statute, “the importation or sale of an infringing product is illegal only if a U.S. industry producing an article covered by the relevant IP exists or is in the process of being established.”  As well, the panel was not convinced any company was waiting in line to sign a license agreement with Motiva.

The panel of judges stated... Read the rest

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