New England IP Blog

Covering intellectual property developments in New England, and other developments that impact New England companies.

Cold to Mootness Challenge, But Warm to Inequitable Conduct Defenses

In a recent opinion from the District of Massachusetts, Judge Woodlock provided a reading on the mootness of an inequitable conduct counterclaim, where the asserted claims of the thermometer patent at issue were previously invalidated in the same litigation.  Because the parties had already poured resources into addressing inequitable conduct as an alternate theory for patent invalidity, and because Brooklands sought attorneys’ fees on related grounds, the court did not moot the inequitable conduct counterclaim, and instead issued summary judgment of no inequitable conduct on the merits. Continue Reading

Judge Saris Opines on Copyright Infringement in 3-D Greeting Card Case

On February 22, Chief Judge Saris in the District of Massachusetts issued an opinion on a motion to dismiss implicating several complex copyright infringement issues.  The Chief Judge’s ruling analyzed whether several allegedly infringing works could be considered “substantially similar” to the copyrighted works, as required to support a claim of copyright infringement.  The “substantial similarity” analysis produced different results depending on the particular work under consideration.

The Plaintiff, LovePop, Inc. (“LovePop”), produces three-dimensional pop-up greeting cards, inspired by a paper-cutting art form called kirigami, for a variety of purposes.  The Defendant, PaperPopCards, Inc., (“PaperPop”) also sells three-dimensional pop-up greeting cards.  LovePop alleged that PaperPop “slavishly copied” each of nine LovePop designs and that six of the designs appear in instructional videos posted on PaperPop’s website.  LovePop sued for infringement of its copyrights in the designs and related videos, claiming that PaperPop had produced impermissible “derivative works” within the scope of LovePop’s exclusionary rights. Continue Reading

Electronic Return Receipt Patent Dispute Dubbed “Exceptional Case” After Summary Judgment Award

In the long-standing patent dispute between Sophos and RPost, Judge Casper recently issued the oft-sought but rarely received award of attorneys’ fees, after finding that the case was “exceptional.”

The suit began in 2013, when Sophos sought a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity against RPost’s patent, which was directed to a “system and method for verifying delivery and integrity of electronic messages.” At the end of last year, Judge Casper entered summary judgment invalidating RPost’s patent on the ground that it was anticipated by several prior art patents. Continue Reading

Scope of Brain Imaging Patent Dispute Comes into Focus

Judge Stearns recently clarified the scope of an almost five-year-old multi-district patent dispute in the District of Massachusetts.  Since early 2013, Judge Stearns has presided over NeuroGrafix’ allegations of patent infringement after ten actions encompassing dozens of defendants were consolidated in the District of Massachusetts.  In the suit relevant to Judge Stearns’ most recent order, NeuroGrafix alleged that defendant Brainlab infringed U.S. Pat. No. 5,560,360, entitled “Image Neurography and Diffusion Anisotropy Imaging.”

The Court’s recent order stemmed from a dispute over whether plaintiff NeuroGrafix disclaimed all but one asserted claim in the action.  Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Holds That IPR Time-Bar Determinations Can Be Appealed

Earlier this week, the Federal Circuit issued an en banc opinion in Wi-Fi One v. Broadcom that holds the PTAB’s determinations of whether an IPR petition was timely filed under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) are appealable.  In reaching this decision, the en banc court overruled an earlier panel’s decision that such time-bar determinations are final and nonappealable under § 314(d), paving the way for parties in future IPR disputes to raise the timeliness issue on appeal. Continue Reading

Patenting the Blockchain

Last year’s spike in the valuation of bitcoin has much of the technology world focused on blockchain, the distributed database ledger technology behind bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.  Lost behind the scenes, however, is a rush by some in the industry to patent inventions relating to the blockchain technology itself.  These moves come with controversy in an industry known for its culture of open-source practices. Continue Reading

Anticipation Bounces Back Electronic Return Receipt Patent as Invalid

Although patentees may delight at the allowance of broad claims in their granted patents, those same claims prove more difficult to defend against invalidity arguments at trial. A recent decision from a Massachusetts court underscores this tightrope walk, and serves as a warning that claims drafted too loosely—while allowed by the USPTO—can leave the patent at risk for invalidation by anticipation. Continue Reading